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    1. #1
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      NoVA Lab Mama's Avatar
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      Question So, explain the exercise limitations to me

      I've been doing lots of reading the last few days about the limits on exercise for a puppy, since we've got the all clear from our vet for short walks around our neighborhood. To sum up what I've found:

      -- they can run and play to their heart's content in their own free-will play, where they have the opportunity to plop down and rest when they are done chasing leaves or exploring the yard or whatever

      -- No more than 5min per month of age organized exercise in the form of leash walking, playing fetch, etc.

      -- avoid jumping or other high impact activities like running.

      My question is with the second bullet. I remember walking my daughter around the block when she was little. If she was focused it was a 10min walk. If she wanted to race down the hill, it was close to 5min. If she was sniffing every flower and chatting with the butterflies it was a 25min journey. Distance was the same. What does that mean for a puppy? When I talk about taking my 2-1/2mo old dog for a 10-15min walk what really does that mean in terms of distance? I want to make sure we don't overdo it, but also recognize that 10-15min can have a wide range of distance based on her focus, speed, etc.

    2. #2
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      Honestly, I never timed my walks with them as young pups ... I just paid attention to how they responded. If they became noticeably tired by the time we made it home, I shortened it the next time. If they were still bouncing off the walls afterwards, then it was time to lengthen it. Their first “walks” were to the corner and back, then eventually around the block, then around two blocks, etc.
      Annette

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    4. #3
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      I don't walk my pups until they are about six months. I take them on adventures where they can be safely off leash and they romp in my yard and the yards of friends. I take them to class once or twice a week. I take them to playdates. I take them to puppy romps, if the pup appreciates those. I take them to Home Depot, Lowes, Cabelas, food carts, outdoor eating establishments, etc. but usually in my arms until they hit a certain age.

      The reason I don't walk them until six months is because most of my pups really didn't want to go on walks, and I didn't see much of a point in it versus other types of play. But also because I didn't want them to get in the habit of leash pulling on walks.

    5. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      But also because I didn’t want them to get in the habit of leash pulling on walks.
      I actually find it much easier to teach leash manners when they are very young, before they get in the habit of doing it wrong. That’s part of why I do take them on walks at a young age.

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    7. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by Annette47 View Post
      I actually find it much easier to teach leash manners when they are very young, before they get in the habit of doing it wrong. That’s part of why I do take them on walks at a young age.
      Exactly. During the six months that I am not taking them on actual walks, I am teaching LLW at home, during our other outings, etc. If I relied on walks for exercise, it would be easier for me to be inconsistent with them and they would be a lot more energetic. Typically, with a puppy, I am just taking the puppy out and about, not both dogs. They are trained and ready by this point (six months) to go on real dog walks, together. I've never had to use more than a flatbuckle collar to walk my dogs, even two at the same time. With exception of Sam who wore a halti for a few months during adolescence.

    8. #6
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      I would say common sense really comes into play here, the 5 minute rule is more for those that are lacking. Honestly, there are a lot of them, we get people here that put Pepsi on their dogs food.

      I started leash walks first week, however first week However it was just around the house, 1 trip. Second week home it was on the side walk to the edge of the neighbors property, 3 week week it was 3 houses down and back. fourth week it was the length of the block. Each time it took various amounts of time. There would be stopping, constantly to pull something out of his mouth. So time is a rule of thumb. He was 5 months I think before he went a full mile. I do know he was doing 2 mile walks at 8 months for sure.

      Also running is fine, not forced running like taking them jogging but I would encourage running especially as part of play. What you do not want is jumping off furniture and high beds etc. However, honestly, it is a loosing battle and by about 8 months I gave up on this, but I really enforced it earlier. I remember one time at 6 months he jumped on the bed. Which he was not allowed to get off on his own I had to set him down. Once he jumped down on his own, I yelled "Hey", he spun around jumped back on the bed and was like ok sorry forgot you can help me down now. Growth plates can be fragile, and a break or fracture of the growth plate can be painful and lead to other issues down the road. So you do want to protect them as much as possible.

      However, common sense goes a long way.

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    10. #7
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      Thanks, Jeff and Annette47! I felt like common sense was the right answer, but I'm also a "rule follower" and needed the reassurance. She did great on our meandering stroll around the block with lots of energy to spare.

    11. #8
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      We do some "walks" (as in, around the neighborhood) now every night, but I don't think we started those until she was maybe 6 months. But we did do light trail hikes at her pace, beach romps, and so on.

      This weekend we did one maybe 1.5 mile "hike" on the beach and through a forest. The next day (today) we did what was supposed to be about a 2.8 mile hike (note: forest trails, nothing difficult) that unfortunately turned into closer to 4 miles due to some thoroughly flooded trails (by "thoroughly," I mean "at least waist deep on us, and I can't see the end of the flooding") that forced us to backtrack hugely.

      I admit that I was worried. But we took it at her pace, and she seemed fine. Slept for a good while on the way back home (a four hour drive), but leapt out of the car and is again full of energy.

      We still don't encourage any jumping off beds, etc., but she's about 8.5 months, and things happen. I think the main thing is that you don't encourage it, and you keep an eye on the pup.

      I have to admit that since we've allowed her to go on the romps that she likes—which tend to be on the ~2 mile length—she has slimmed down and muscled up considerably.

      What we were told by our breeder was no jogging or forced exercise until she is 18 months. So what we do now are mainly easy local hikes, at her pace, and in general we avoid hard concrete and pavement (save for nightly walks).

      I do think it comes down to common sense. Our hike today was closer to 2 hours (but again, fairly gentle inclines and declines, forest trails, etc.), but we stopped frequently to see if she wanted a stop. By the end, I think she was worried that it was *we* who needed to stop, because she became more and more concerned about how far behind her I was with my son!
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    12. #9
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      LOL, I laugh at myself, was perfectly able to be sensible about exercise before the internet, then found the 5 minute rule. The one I found allowed the 5 minutes per month of age twice a day for anything on leash, hard surface, compelled to keep up, straight line. Free play on a soft surface was unlimited.

      I followed it loosely. Oban was not leashed till after he was safely vaccinated, so 4.5 months. Till then we did walk, off leash. I did feel some of the contingencies fit because snowmobile trails in deep snow Do tend to be straight lines and their surface, and a road we used, were hard. Plus it was cold.

      I found I did have to limit free play because Oban is one of those puppies who just doesn't know when to stop. He still is, unless it's hot out.

      I cringe when I see advice to go till he quits (free play or walks) then don't go so far next time. Some Will greatly overdo it and the kind of damage they do will not show till they're much older.

      Some people have absolutely NO common sense. We've all seen them, running down the concrete sidewalk with a poor little puppy running too. Puppies will go till they drop or damage is done. Heck, we have probably all seen such people with their own children go too long, too far, too hot, too cold. Those people need a rule and they need to follow it closely.
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    14. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
      I would say common sense really comes into play here, the 5 minute rule is more for those that are lacking. Honestly, there are a lot of them, we get people here that put Pepsi on their dogs food.
      Um, I have to ask... was that an exaggeration? Or did someone actually do this? What the heck for?!
      ~Kristy
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