Talk today about acl tears, possible reasons why, and all....maybe some of you have hit on some reasons, that dogs are more active and involved in sports; I admit I certainly don't know the reasons.
When we got Tucker from the breeder, she mentioned agility...she's not in favor of labs competing in agility. Labs are land and water retrievers, and not meant to be jumpers and such (her own personal opinion). A dog out of a litter of hers some years ago...the owner got heavily involved in agility, the dog ended up being hurt (maybe acl tear, I'm not sure), and can no longer do agility. She doesn't like it when an owner gets involved in agility with one of her dogs.
Tucker loves to swim. A couple months ago, I found out about a place not far from us that has a huge pond, and a dock where you can measure jumps for dock jumping. I got to thinking maybe that's something I might try with him...next year when he's older...to see if it'd be fun and he'd like it. I could take him there to see. Plus, I could find a competition later on down the road, maybe. (Cabella's in WVA is having one this fall, I've heard).
I wanted some advice and an opinion on it, so I talked to my vet. She's a lab owner too. I asked her if she knew of any studies showing problems with dock-jumping or similar things. She didn't know anything, but was gonna do some research, and if she found anything out, would call me. I said I'd do some research too, but couldn't find anything either.
Her concern, she said, was the leaping that's done with dock-jumping, plus the impact when the dog hits the water.
After thinking about it for some time now, I'm not going to pursue dock-jumping in the future. That's just me. Someone had suggested Tucker might like agility, but I've decided not to do that either.
Tucker could pull or tear something right in the yard or fields, I know. And lots of dogs do agility and dock jumping, without injury. But I just don't think I'm gonna pursue any of the jumping sports with him.
Just my .02.
I had often thought that agility would be such a good sport for Cooper (and me!) but for basically the reasons you cited, I decided not to. He loves to retrieve - anything - and we are fortunate to have some open spaces near us that we can walk to, to do just that. I get some exercise out of it and Cooper is in heaven when he gets to run & bring me things. We both get a lot of joy out of that. That's good enough for us. And that's my two cents! ;D
My personal view is if you want to do agility or whatever just go ahead and do it. It IS a risk but so is everything else. Going out on a walk is probably more "risky" than doing a session of agility or dock jumping. Everything we do in life is a risk but we still go out there and do it. Have fun!! ;D
What worries me more than dock jumping is the rough play. When Duke and Judy go at it, I have to hold my breath. The full speed bitey face, the full body slams, the wrestling moves. I don't see why they didn't tear every ligament and break every bone in their bodies. I just hope they make it through life without injury.
Everything that the dog does in agility is based on an activity that the dog would do anyway in everyday life. With the exception of the weave poles. If you warm your dog up and keep the weight down there shouldn't be a problem. I see many more people who are injured and wearing knee braces due to agility injuries than dogs.
That is interesting...Rider DOES have mild hip dysplasia and we have been told by our vet and our ortho vet to continue the agility and the dock jumping to maintain muscle mass and a weight that won't aggrivate the issue. Agility is actually harder on the elbows than the hips. I am not really sure how dock jumping can be a problem.
I didn't start in dog sports until Rider was almost 2. At that point, he was fully mature and done growing. Dock Jumping really doesn't take any special skill. Agility helps to sharpen their minds and listen obediently.
There is risk in anything. I know of a dog that tore their ACL climbing up stairs. I have 3 sets of stairs in my house. There is no way for any dog to not get around in my house without climbing up and down stairs. Should I sell my house and get a single level? Heck no.
While you are certainly entitled to do whatever with your lab, I don't necessarily agree with your view. A retriever still has to jump into the water to retrieve. The ones that wade in take their sweet time.
I think if you find something your dog likes (and most dogs really enjoy agility or dock jumping) and stick with it. I am trying as many areas of the dog world as I can. Dock Jumping, Agility, Therapy, and we are going to try and do a hunt test this fall and we are entering our first Rally Obedience trial this coming weekend.
Rider loves to be challenged. I don't worry. When Rider has enough, he tells me.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Amen!!Originally Posted by Trickster
My Presley has had both back legs repaired for ACL tears. She didn't do agility or dock jump or anything like that but I do know any repetitive movements can cause a tear.. All she did was track- her somehow missing sticks/bumpers/whatever we got tired of throwing because her most obsessive crazy desire to retrieve lol. Now she is allowed to play with sticks/bumpers/flying objects but no one is allowed to throw anything for her. I will not allow her to play fetch in my own fears she will screw up her newly repaired legs! She still is very active playing and running but I watch as much as I can.
There is risk involved in everything you do. I actually know someone who broke her leg getting out of bed in the morning! Life is too short to worry about every little thing...and it's even shorter for our dogs. My dogs absolutly love doing agility! The risks are worth putting up with to see how happy they are, not to mention the great exercise they're getting and the fun I'm having
Not to pick on the original poster at all, but when people bring up stuff like this I always think of the poor kids that have to dress up like mummies, padded from head to toe, just to ride their bikes...and then they can't even go more than two houses down. LOL
I have a lab who injured both his CCL's doing ... nothing. Walking around slowly and sniffing the ground. He wasn't overweight, was exercised alot and regularly (only low impact) and did weekly swimming.
I don't agree with high impact activity such as flyball or frisbee for large dogs, but labs are bred to hunt and retrieve. Field work can be as taxing for their joints as any other activity. Labs dive, jump into lakes, pools etc. Yes it does put stress on their knees when they push off, but nothing out of the ordinary.
If they are sound and you don't push them beyond their limits and deal with activity appropriately it can be fun and help them keep fit. You just have to be careful and warm them up like any athlete would do.
No amount of restrictions or limitations will avoid a CCL injury, if it's written in the stars. Body slamming or rough play at the park can cause much more harm than doing agility.