I am a new lab owner. I am so confused about exercise and our puppy. Many books say don't run with dog until after a year but our breeder just said avoid the hard pavement as its hard on their joints. How much exercise should I be giving the puppy everyday? We like to do a lot of hiking and walking. What should I expect for puppy and this summer when he is 7 months old how much exercise at one time could I expect him to do?
Hopefully others will also give their opinions on this.
The generally accepted Rule of Thumb on JL is 5 minutes of vigorous daily exercise for each month of age up to one year. "Vigorous daily exercise" means offleash running, swimming, retrieving, etc.
But I think you need to watch and judge your Lab's behavior far more than the clock.
Does your Lab act restless or bored? Searching for something to do or play with? Chewing wires or furniture or woodwork? Then it may need more.
Every Lab puppy is different and what works best for one does not fit all.
ETA: I suggest you NOT do any forced running, such as you jogging with a leashed puppy -- when the puppy is offleash, it can run when it feels like it and rest when it prefers that. On a leash with a jogger holding the leash gives no choice.
My first Lab, Bess, needed about 40 minutes of swimming retrieves daily for about 8-10 years to be comfortable. An hour or more a day was perfectly acceptable through her 12th year.
My Puff was much more hyper as a pup than Bess and needed 2 doses of the "5 minute/day for @ month" (given about 8-12 hours apart) to remain docile.
But Puff has mellowed far sooner than Bess did and is much less demanding of getting as much daily vigorous exercise. Puff and I go for a 2 mile, 40 minute walk in a nature preserve early every morning and I sling her training dummy (or drop it on the trail for her to run back and get) about 20X. At her age 8 years, that 20X is about half what she needed to have when she was 1 to 3 years old.
So, learn to "read" your Lab and adjust the amount of exercise accordingly.
ETA: I recommend NOT running a leashed puppy as in accompanying you while jogging. When the pup is unleashed it can run when it pleases and rest when it pleases. Going jogging with you gives it no choice.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 03-12-2010 at 06:06 PM. Reason: ETA something
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":