I apologise if this is in the wrong place, but I couldn't find anywhere that seemed more suitabe.
I just wanted some advice/opinions on how you exercised your labs as puppies. I've done lots of research on this but each time I read something different it contradicts everything else I've read. I am aware that over exercising can possibly lead to damaging joint and muscle development so I was just wondering what you would class as over exercising? Is there a specific time limit?
At the moment Penny is 13 weeks old, she is quite small for a lab (I think so anyway) at 7kg currently. She gets one walk a day at the moment (will be increased to two when she is older). Our normal walk is as follows: walk to the park on lead (10minutes to get there if not less), a lap of the park off lead (roughly 20mins depending on how many dogs we meet, or how long she wants to play fetch) and then walk home on lead (again 10 minutes or less). So in total this would probably be about 40-45 minutes on average.
I've read one place that says you should do 5 minutes exercise per month of age, one place that says they shouldn't have any on lead walking, just 'free play' until they are 6 months old, some people have said they have exercised their puppies for hours each day and had no problems... As you can see I am totally confused.
As fellow Labrador owners I'm hoping you might have some better, breed specific, advice for me!
LOL, until the internet came to our house I was quite confident I had enough common sense to not over exercise a puppy then, BOOM, I read all sorts of conflicting ideas and received some real crack pot ideas. The "rule of thumb" that made the most sense to me was:
5 minutes of forced exercise per month of age allowed twice a day on a hard surface. Forced is anything leashed, straight line or compelled to keep up with you. Free play off leash on soft surfaces unlimited as puppy can rest and change speed and direction at will.
I followed the above loosely. We were off leash but the snow was too deep for puppy so we walked on snowmobile trails, which were icy sometimes, hardpacked at least and it was often well below freezing. I went in a straight line and pup be bopped back and forth along the trail but he did have to keep up. Many of those were less than the time said.
I also found I did have to limit free play, my pup did not know when to quit. At ten weeks old he ran around my sister's house at Christmas time till he was nearly wheezing for breath. I stopped him, put him in his crate and I think his eyes were closed before he was even lying down, the little black monkey. Children will go till they are over tired, exhausted and cranky and so will puppies.
I don't know what your dog park is like but here I would be concerned about my puppy being safely vaccinated before introduction to strange dogs and worried about too big dogs playing too hard. We were not on leash or with other strange dogs till vaccinations were safely completed at 4.5 months. I also did not allow walking on our village roads, not even in a cold, snowy, germ killing (not all killed I bet) winter till that time. We did meet with dogs we knew.
I'm in the UK so vaccinations are done by 10-11 weeks so she is fully vaccinated. The only big dogs we have met so far that seem to be regulars there at the time we are there seem to be quite elderly so they don't really play lol just sniff and wag!
you want to encourage as much off leash exercise on soft surfaces as the puppy wants, at their own pace. So the play at the park (assuming he has all his shots and that the dogs there are friendly) is good. The 10 minute walk there is good and teh walk back is good. don't speed walk though, go at a leisurely pace.
At the end of the day you have to read all you can and then make a personal call on what to do. You can go too far on either side (too much exercise or too little exercise) and neither is good. For example, some people keep their dog on house lockdown until they have had all their shots (so here that is getting closer to 16 weeks) limiting socialisation to the house. To me this is as much of an issue as bringign a dog to a dog park at 9 weeks when they haven't had their second shots (here we do three sets) - both can be greatly detrimental to a dog. You have to find middle ground.
I can't imagine NOT walking a dog until they are 6 months - what a challenge leash training woudl be if you waited that long. But one should be careful where they walk until a dog has all their shots and to not take super long walks (this is wehre the 5 minutes per month of age comes in - for leashed walks)
You want to wait until the dog has fully finished growing before doing things like biking/blading/scootering with a dog specifically. But you DO want to encourage free play exercise on soft surfaces and/or swimming - which are the best exercise.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I would love to take her jogging with me and take agility classes but I know that won't be until she's at least 12 months old, if not later. It's the exercising now that worries me. I would love to take her for longer as she isn't tired when we get home but I don't know if that is going to be too much for her.
Occasionally we meet up with my mum and her dog (6month old yorkie), she lives in the countryside so we take the dogs out over the fields and there's a stream they like to paddle in, this is usually a good hour, but with only about 10-15 mins of on lead road walking to get to the field and back. She's always tired when we get back from that walk...but does that mean its too much?
this is a lot of what had me so puzzled too! It seems that every source I have looked at gave me conflicting advice!
I read a lot of the same conflicting information. I take Rowan for a quick 8ish min walk in the morning and one at night, to try to follow the 5 mins/month theory. Throughout the day he is a nut, running back and forth through the house either chasing the cat or playing with his "baby" (an incredibly loud squeaky Lamb Chop ) I also attempt to play fetch outside for a good 10 mins. As we live in the city he does play mostly indoors at this point until I get his second round of shots in a couple weeks, then we will go to the park. Is this an appropriate amount of play/exercise? He seems to sleep an awful lot, so I would assume it is wearing him out appropriately, but also is the same puppy as posted about in the puppy training section under "Please Help!".