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Question about a young dog weight-bearing

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by wordgirl, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    As some of you may know, I have a (now) 7.5-month-old Labrador Retriever puppy who is doing really great and I'm really enjoying him. I don't think, however, that I've been doing a very great job of giving him enough outlets for all his puppy energy. He is not 'hyper' - he just has normal adolescent lab energy. I've read about using dog backpacks (with water bottles or the like as weights) to get more out of walks and such, but I'm concerned about putting too much strain on his growing joints and ligaments. Does anyone know whether or not this would be a problem for a 7.5-month-old lab? He's about 50 lbs., and probably close to his adult height. I'm guessing he'll put on another twenty pounds or so, though - mom was 65 lbs.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't want to take the risk of injuring him somehow. Our breeder (golden retriever) specifically stated not to run our pup excessively, not to run her on walk her on hard surfaces, etc. until at least 18 months old. The growth plates don't close until around that time.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Disclaimer, not a dog expert, but I sure wouldn't do it either. [edited to clarify: at his current age. When he's a coupla years old, then sure]. (My own lab puppy is 10 months [​IMG]). Way too much predisposition to orthopedic problems in Labs... hips, elbows, etc.

    I am under the impression, but you should doublecheck, that swimming is considered safer exercise for the younger age groups (provided it is done in a safe way and yada yada yada) because it works the muscles without much impact on the skeletal structure... do you live anywhere warm enough for that to be an option, like games of fetch with a floating toy?

    With Russell, *brain* exercise seems to be key to helping tire him out to an acceptible level... so, lots of training stuff (normal useful things like sit/stand/stay/come/etc, and also tricks) and he also likes nosework type things like for instance I put him in a sit-stay and walk across the yard and hide a little pile of food and go back and release him to find it. Or if you do clicker training, Russell seems to find free-shaping work both fun and suitably energy-sapping, such as "ok here is a box now do something interesting with it" type games.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  4. Crazyland

    Crazyland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2009
    Sandhills NC
    A dog can safely carry up to 30% of its body weight on an extended (weekend) hike, IF the dog is properly trained to carry that much weight. You start off with 5% of body weight and work up to it, training three times a week. The percentage includes the weight of the pack.
     
  5. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    Okay, then, maybe we'll wait. [​IMG] Swimming would be a great idea, but unfortunately it's currently 20 degrees where I live. Guess we'll have to settle for fetch and training games. [​IMG]

    Thank you all for your help. [​IMG]

    Edited to add a smile to the lonely pair of eyes at the end of my post. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010

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