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Discussion Starter #1
I see a lot of posts about weird walking and figured we could have a discussion about what makes them walk strange in the first few months. I know some are cow hocked or with a large amount of angulation but even the WLs are clumsy puppies.

Can someone explain to me why puppies walk so weirdly in the first few months? Like they always walk so weird. Probably the breed that has the most questions about if their puppy is walking normally Haha. Is it because their bones and ligaments grow at a different rate giving them a sloppy walk or lack of muscles keeping everything nice and even? Sometimes I watch my pup and he walks super nice and then other times when hes slow walking he looks like a mess Haha. I guess it would have to do with them being a waited breed and with the defined angle to their back legs. More on an angle then a lot of other breeds with straight legs.
 

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Well, it varies from dog to dog, but generally, it's like a human toddler. Their brain has to learn the movements and to create the muscle memory That is further complicated by the fast rate of growth constantly altering the length of their legs and body.
 

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My hypothesis has been that pup was growing so fast that he was unaware of where his paws were.

In humans, we call it proprioception or body awareness. I would think the same applies to animals. As the pup's growth slows down, he becomes aware of where his body parts are so he appears much less clumsy.

I found it interesting enough that I took a ladder and laid it down in the garage. Every couple of days, I would have pup walk the length trying to put his feet between each rung. Kind of like footwork drills athletes do.

After a couple of tries, Ole seemed to figure out where his front paws were. He was not graceful but at least he appeared to have some idea where his front paws were. It took until about 5 months before he started to avoid the ladder rungs with his back feet. Now, at 6 months he can run nearly full speed without touching a rung. Since he started running through it, we don't do it very much anymore. I was going to see about making something out of thin PVC pipes so that if he stumbles he won't hurt himself.

Interestingly, he is better if I use treats as rewards. If I get him too aroused by waving a tug around, his body awareness seems to fly out the window :)
 

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Have you ever watched a 2-3 yr old human walk? It's just coordination and muscle control.
 

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Depending on the posts you read, some of the concerns do stem from genetic conformation. But that aside, puppies look as silly as babies when they are learning to walk and mastering it.

My little humans looked like monster walking when learning how to balance their upper bodies in upright position. Actually babies also have to learn how to four leg it (crawl) which is just as funny a stage as puppies Learning. Off topic, sorry.
 
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A toddler is a child 12 to 36 months old. The toddler years are a time of great cognitive, emotional and social development. The word is derived from "to toddle", which means to walk unsteadily, like a child of this age.

For a GSD this must somewhere between 1-6 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for al the insight! Mostly it's as I thought, learning to coordinate.

Does anyone feel as if lack of developed muscle and also because puppies joints are generally looser aswell as ligaments being not as tight has an effect? It would make sense that they have looser ligaments because tight ligaments don't leave much room for growing to happen. Has anyone noticed this in their puppies? Looser ligaments as puppies then tighter as adults? Sometimes my guy walks around like a paper bag Haha although he isn't nearly as bad as some of the confirmation issues like I've seen on some posts.
 

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There's been an x-ray going around some of the dog groups I belong to that shows what a newborn pup's joints look like. There ARE no real joints - they are held together only by ligaments, not bone. That's a big part of why their gait is sloppy and awkward.

Part of it is genetic, too. Show lines have sloppier joints because they are bred for such extreme angulation. My working line pup easily mastered stairs at 12 weeks. My showline pup took a lot longer to figure out just where she was putting her feet! (Yes, of course, I helped and supervised to prevent accidents/injury.)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There's been an x-ray going around some of the dog groups I belong to that shows what a newborn pup's joints look like. There ARE no real joints - they are held together only by ligaments, not bone. That's a big part of why their gait is sloppy and awkward.

Part of it is genetic, too. Show lines have sloppier joints because they are bred for such extreme angulation. My working line pup easily mastered stairs at 12 weeks. My showline pup took a lot longer to figure out just where she was putting her feet! (Yes, of course, I helped and supervised to prevent accidents/injury.)

Ya it's pretty crazy how their joints work, my guy is 4 months old now, he is moving pretty good but still a little bit of that puppy sloppiness. Will probably tighten up over the next little while. Always makes me so concerned with growing pups because they look so off sometimes Haha but puppy sloppy loose walking is pretty normal in this breed so each new puppy is always the same stress Haha
 
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