We've been doing about a 2 mile circuit walk and ending at a field w/ a hill that surrounds a retraining pond (currently dry). I use the hill to toss dummies on and Sami will retrieve ... well, for as long as I throw. But it seems like she's dragging on the way home (about 1/4 of a mile). She never sits, or tries to lay down ... but I can tell she's tired. I do not want to overdo.
So a couple of questions ~ how do I know when to stop? I certainly can't gauge it by her reaction --she always looks at me like "let's do it again". Would I be better off breaking this up into two separate outings -- one just a walk and the other a retrieve session? And one last question -- do you make your dog rest between retrieves, and if so, for how long?
How old is your lab? If she's under 2 I would be more worried about over doing it. If she's full grown, I would worry less. If your girl is in good shape that the 2 mile walk is probably a good warm up and cool down for her retrieving anyways...
Go with your gut feelings though. If she's limpy or acting extremely sore when you get home you would obviously know you've gone too long.
She's 19 1/2 months & in excellent shape/health. She has never limped and has never been sore. In fact, usually after we get back home, she'll run out in the yard and grab her soccer ball. : I shouldn't have used the word "dragging" above -- I'll just say that she's walking a slower pace (more like walking at my natural pace )Originally Posted by Tagen
Again, I just don't want to overdo.
Have I mentioned that Sami has the most beautiful face imaginable? Those eyes just kill me.
Anyway, it sounds like you're doing OK, especially given that it's winter. Why don't you try making her work harder for it and see what happens to her energy level, just as an experiment? Walk with her and use the retrieve as a reward, and try to up the criteria for getting to retrieve. E.g., she has to steady while you throw, and then you release her on her name. Try to get her to return to hand. etc. It would be interesting to see if she's more energetic later--my guess is that if you exercise her mind, too, it'll have the same effect.
I think rather than a certain number of retrieves, you need to learn to "read your Lab."
Every one is different.
Many are as insatiable about retrieving as they are about eating and need to be limited in those amounts for their own good. Recently, a condition known as "Exercise Induced Collapse" has been identified in some Labs that are insatiable retrievers -- those get physical symptoms (staggering, unable to walk, etc.) when they do too much retrieving.
IMO, while the being "draggy" on the way home is worth noting, so is the recovery time and other behavior once home. If your Lab dozes when home but is instantly alert any time opportunities to participate in something comes along -- a snack, a car ride, people to meet, a walk, etc., I wouldn't worry. If your Lab arouses him/herself often -- say several times a day -- and nudges you, wagging tail, and in effect saying, "Hey! C'mon! Let's play or do SOMEthing!" -- then that may be a good indication that you could increase the amount of exercise.
I take my Puff [YF, AKC field line (competing breeder), 65 lbs., DOB: 8-'01] out every morning for a 60-70 minute off leash walk in a nature preserve where she runs free, explores, and I drop or sling her training dummy 20-40 times for her to retrieve. Trickster has suggested that's WAY too much retrieving -- maybe 5-10 would be better.
But IMO, this works out well for Puff and I'm comfortable with my monitoring of her exercise level and tolerance.
As it is, she's not happy unless we go outside around 2 PM and I "bowl" some softballs or baseballs on the sidewalk in front of our house for her to chase. We do that usually about 4-10 times (it helps her poop). She licks and nudges me until I stop what I'm doing and we go out.
That's the sort of "reading" I have in mind.
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":
Sounds like you are doing just fine. I wouldn't worry about it. In fact, the walk before and after the retrieves is probably really good for her. Just like we need to do the same before we exercise. Definately try adding some difficulty to the retrieves like Nathan suggested. Work on being steady, or try doing doubles with her. The only thing I would worry about with numerous retrieves is for one's dog to loose interest after a set number of throws. But that does not sound like it is a problem with Sami ;D
It sounds like your girl is very active and healthy. I think she will be fine on this regimine. As BobPR says "A tired dog is a good dog."
I so agree that you have to read your individual dogs. Murray will retrieve until my arm falls off. Essy will stop and lay down by my feet and let Murray go get them when she is tired. :
I know both are getting tired when they stop racing back to me with the ball. They will still trot back. (I've never had them walk back.) That's when I throw 1-2 more times and call it a day. They've figured this system out so sometimes, if they really do want to keep going, they will trot almost all the way back then race the final few feet. :
We live in the desert so I do ask them to take a water/rest breaks especially on hot days. We limit our running activities to very early morning or very late evening during hot weather. They retrieve noticeably fewer times when it's hot although they would keep going if I asked them to. It's my job to make sure they don't over do it.
I agree with Bob about reading her. Rider is a retrieving machine too but he does have his limits...especially in the winter. He will out retrieve all of the other dogs and be the only one still running when I throw...and then he starts slowing down and not sprinting to the bumpers...then when he goes out half way, stops and looks back at me then continues on to get the bumper and come back, I know we are done. He is still happy butt on the walk back home but then he passes out for a little nap. That's Rider though. I have come to appreciate all of the little signs he shows me when he needs certain things.
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
Awww, very sweet. Thanks.Originally Posted by theoconbrioThanks for the suggestions. Those are things I haven't done and I'll give them a try!Originally Posted by theoconbrioThanks Bob Pr. -- yes, I do try to "read" her. I find it much easier to do at home. When she gets tired she will simply run around me and not return the ball/dummy right to me. That's when I know to call it quits. But I just don't get those same signals when we're out of our yard. Maybe it's the excitement of being somewhere different. She just doesn't seem to want to quit. Either she's not giving me a signal, or I'm too dumb to spot it (probably the latter!).Originally Posted by Bob Pr.
I'm still curious if anyone makes their dog rest between retrieves, and if so, for how long?
I don't like my dogs to become fixated on something (ie; retrieving) so I stick to a few retrieves per day maximum. I bring a dummy or two and do a couple of throws for each dog at different points during the walk. That is it. I do not think continuous retrieving is essential for a dog to enjoy a walk -- they are happy running off leash and exploring.
Do I think you can do overdo it? absolutely. Dogs have limits -- they just don't tend to show them. Some dogs will quite literally run or retrieve until exhaustion and it is never good to overexercise a young dog. Generally, if a dog is lagging, they have overdone it.