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Discussion Starter #1
First off, Dexter is now almost 7 months old and is still wonderful. I was a really worrywart when I first got him, as you can see if you look at my earlier posts. :laugh: I couldn't be happier with my pup.

But....., of course there's a but. He never seems to get tired doing obedience, going for walks or even when playing. The only time I can really tire him out is when I make him run up and down the stairs. He loves it when I throw his toy down the stairs when we're sitting outside. Now, I have read so many things about puppy hips and over exercising them too early. We do some short sprints during walks, but that's about it.

My question is, should I continue to have him run up and down the stairs or I it better to stop our little game? Dexter can't get enough of it, and after 20-30 minutes, he's usually out for a few hours just napping away. Still, is this bad for his hips? Any input is greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update: During Dexter's neuter surgery, he was X-Rayed, and his left hip is showing mild HD. I am waiting for a copy of the findings and the actual X-Ray pictures, so I'm trying not to panic.

Both parents had good OFA hips and elbows, but from reading I know that that's not a guarantee. We can get a "replacement" puppy, but that would never ever be an option.

My husband picked up Dex after his surgery, and the vet mentioned that we should start Glucosamine and that Dexter will need "a lot of exercise" to make sure that his muscles stay strong. She also said that he will probably not have any issues as long as we keep up the exercise.

Now, as I said, I have not spoken to the vet yet, but does that sound right? Everything I read on HD says to take it easy, but the vet recommends a lot of exercise instead? She also says that stairs are not a problem, and all exercise will help to build muscle?

Would it be wise to see an ortho at this point?
 

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You could get a ChuckIt. It allows you to throw the ball farther and saves your arm/shoulder. Also, jogging, or biking at a slow pace will build him up and drain him
at the same time. I am not a fan of short sprints for shepherds, IMHO they are too
heavy (usually) for frisbees or jumping sports. Of course, it depends on the dog.
 

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I have also heard that you should not over work your pup for the first year because they are growing into their body. I'm not saying you gave your pup HD but it's something to think about. I bet you would love my 5 month old male. He loves naps!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I wish your puppy could show my puppy how to nap. :) Dexter is all about go-go-go 24/7.

I've been pretty careful when it comes to exercising him. We played our running down the stairs game about 3 times before his X-Rays were taken, so I doubt that this could have affected the results. Not saying, thats what you said, but if course that did cross my mind.
 

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How far/long are you walking him? Do you ever take him hiking? That's a great, gentle way to build muscles. At that age he could do many miles of hiking.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We do go for long walks once or twice a week, but since I thought that I shouldn't overdo the walks, we usually keep them short. We do 30 minute walks during the week and an hour + twice a week. And we play a lot of fetch in the yard.

So much conflicting information in regards to exercise makes it difficult to know how to do the right thing.
 

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this all makes me crazy...Roxy is at 4 months..and I'm already freaking out...

she was doing steps at her 11 week ..the day we brought her home she bounded down the steps like they were nothing..I couldn't stop her. I read on the internet..no steps..i start carrying her up and down the stairs ( with much protesting from her) ..talk to the vet..he says don't go crazy with the steps but I'm more liable to fall and kill her carrying than just letting her do the stairs. We have a bi-level house and there is no way to get outside that does not involve stairs.

...then I worry about HD. OMG-- I'm going to drive myself nuts. Do I exercise too much/ too little...do I feed enough...and on and on it goes. This is just like having that first baby again and you dont' know who is telling you the right stuff.

I so totally hear you OP...you just get info and go with what you think might be best and hope you weren't wrong :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When I got my Lab puppy, I pretty much just let him do anything from the very beginning. You could say, that I did everything wrong in regards his hips. Hourlong walks, jogging, stairs, jumping... You name it, we did it! I didn't know too much about HD, and Sam was my first pup. He never had an issue. And the vet just warned me to avoid letting him get fat, so we just exercised away.

With Dexter, I feel as if I handle him with satin gloves most of the time, obsess over every move, and he's the one to have issues with his hips. I just hope that he can stay healthy and not have any hip problems in the future.
 

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Now, this may sound crazy to some GSD owners, but...

...we use swimming to tire out our Zeus, whereas, many GSDs are reported to avoid water.

We first noticed that Zeus liked water when we had him on an abandoned fairway which still had water hazards. He was absolutely delighted to run through the shallows.

Although he showed some interest in deeper water his hesitancy was obvious too. Relentlessly, we would throw a tennis ball into the water near where we expected the bottom to drop off and he'd wade out to whatever depth with which he felt comfortable and stop...awaiting the wind to push the ball into his reach.

Very early in Zeus' life we'd used a 6-7 ft. fishing rod with a fishing float attached by about a 6 ft. drop and drag it around the backyard to exercise him. I'm sure it was one of his earliest "prey items" and he just loved it. He would chase the darned thing for so long that I often had to call it off as he was getting obviously worn out but didn't seem to care. Again, he was just a puppy, between 9 -20 weeks.

Finally, I hit on the idea to take the fishing rod/float to the water hazards and see if he'd chase it into deeper water. Yep, after a few trips he got the idea and even in the absence of other "water dogs" or other GSDs that liked to swim he learned all on his own.

He now chases the bobber well out into the lake / pond and is relentless in chasing as we reel it past him and just out of reach. After about 30 minutes of this play he's clearly tired and we stop and let him chase it on land (where he's gotten very good at catching it but where he's unlikely to tire to the point of cramps and drowning).

It never occurred to me that this might be the perfect play for a GSD like yours which might have hip problems. But this threat lit that light bulb and you might want to try it.

LF
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We used to have a pool at the old house, and Sam swam once. :) He hated water and never retrieved a thing in his life - typical Lab, right? :)

I thought about swimming, and I've been thinking about getting a cheap above ground pool for him to be able to swim daily. Definitely a good idea. We do have some water around us, but it's not feasible for me to take him there every day after work, but a pool could work.
 

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roxy loves warm enough days for me to fill up her kiddie pool ...it's not the same as swimming but she has a good time splashing all the water out so I can fill it back up again
 
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