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Pixie

How Much Exercise

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I have a 5 month old BC called Rose who is very, very active. I have been allowing Rose to chase a ball on the beach and also have been taking her two walks a day for about 40 minutes. I have been told that this is far too much exercise for her at this age, and should be using her energy up by doing more training. She has been attending obedience classes since 12 weeks and I do short regular training sessions with her during the day. However, I have also been told that they can get bored doing the same training over and over again. I didn't exercise her as much today as I was told 25 mins twice a day on a lead or sedate exercise off lead is enough (How do you get her to slow down off the lead!!). She drove me crazy tonight, as she was full of energy. Could I have damaged her by letting her have too much exercise? I am a bit worried about it all, as I have been reading that HD can be caused by over exercise when young. HELP!!

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Who said that was too much? Does that person own a BC? My minimum goal is to do something physical with her at least 2 hours a day... she is 6 months old and 2 hours is not even enough!

I know they can just keep going and going and sometimes we have to watch them but it doesn't sound like you are doing too much. as long as they get good rest and water when needed.

 

Mine pulled leash till she was about 4.5 months. I tried everything, tried different leashes, turning, praise, treat, but I learned she wouldn't pull as much if I excersise her before and also when she is hungry. Mine is not a "eager-to-please" type but establishing good bond (took a while) also helped her to focus on me more.

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Hi Pixie. Welcome to the boards.

 

I'm no expert, but from what I read and see, different dogs require different amounts of exercise ? and probably as a very general rule, the more they are exercised the more they will want. However, that said, I wouldn?t think that what you?re doing is too much for a 5 month old. You don?t say how long she chases ball on the beach, but as long as that is reasonably moderate, it shouldn?t be a problem. BTW, is she still on puppy food ? if so, you might want to consider switching her to adult food. Many experienced people on the boards seem to prefer adult food from an early age.

 

As far as the training goes, it certainly is important to vary what you?re doing. There?s all sorts of stuff you can be teaching her now that won?t conflict with formal obedience ? and may help to shape things she?ll need if you continue formal obedience down the track ? e.g. scent work, baby tracking, retrieving various articles, baby agility. And not forgetting tricks. You?ll find stuff on the Net to give you suggestions. Pretty much anything you teach now will help lay foundations for further learning, and will deepen the bond between you.

 

Others with more knowledge will advise about HD risks, but unless the ball chasing is excessive, what you?re doing doesn?t seem like it would present a problem, assuming the puppy is normal sort of weight ? and likely she is. I would think the risks would be greater if you were forcing her to do stuff like jumping.

 

If you really have concerns, a check with your vet wouldn?t hurt, but I would think if you stay within the pup?s comfort zone ? i.e. she is not seeming stressed by what she?s doing, or showing any signs of lameness or stiffness ? then you don?t have a problem (as long as you can keep up with the pressure!)

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Hi Pixie,

You know there are many temperaments in BCs...some can be very laid back and some can be wanting to be on the move all the time. You don't say what your pup does in between the active times you mention so if she sits or lies about she would get enough rest. And you don't say where you walk...40 minutes in a hill environment is not the same as 40 minutes on the flat. And you don't say if your pup does as mine do...explosive running for five minutes and then the noses go down and they mooch about smelling, exploring etc. pretty much using the same amount of energy they would if they were in my yard.

A pup will usually tell you if they have had enough exercise. Either they will slow up or they are quite happy just to plonk themselves down and not move until they have had a rest. However they are easy enough at that age to pick up and carry.

About HD...the info that you received isn't true. I think the person who advised you confused it with OCD. OCD is the degeneration of the cartilage between the bones of the shoulder. It slowly "melts" away anyway as the dog grows but up till the age of about a year it can be made to crumble or tear by too much running and bouncing on the front feet. This then causes the dog pain and it starts to limp. It requires surgery to correct but almost always the surgery is 100% successful. The predisposition for this is thought to be genetic but it need not necessarily happen if you are careful not to let the pup jump too hard too often. ie no frisbee and no habitual jumping over ditches, walls etc.

HD occurs in the back legs/hips and if you want further info on that, go to the USBCA website and I think I am right in saying there is info on it there. Otherwise contact Sally Lacy who is pretty clued up on it.

As a rule of thumb, try to make sure that the pup plays on softer rather than harder surfaces. Intersperse activity with thinking games which require concentration since this is an attitude which must be learned at this age. They slow the pup down too. Be sure you have a down and recall every time no matter what the circumstances and I road train mine to lie down when a car comes too. That way you can stop car chasing if the pup is so inclined.

Good luck!

 

Sue

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Pixie,

Sue is right that OCD can be a concern in young dogs who are allowed to overstress their joints. If I remember correctly, at one time there was a discussion here about the "nature vs. nurture" aspect of CHD. It seems to me that there was some discussion to the effect that excessive wear or concussion on developing hip joints could indeed cause the hip socket to flatten, thereby leading to HD, although symptoms of HD, that is, osteoarthritis, wouldn't necessarily show up until the dog is older. There have been a number of discussions on CHD on this board. This is just one (and may be more than you want to tackle):

 

http://bordercollie.heatherweb.com/ubb/ult...t=000742#000000

 

There's also a discussion of CHD on the FAQs section, and it has links to other resources as well. Also, if you go to the top right of any page on these boards, you will see a "search" button. All you need to do is type in "CHD," "HD," or "hip dysplasia" and you will find discussions on the topic. Same with OCD. Most of these discussions have occurred in this section, but you may want to search the general discussion area as well.

 

If Denise Wall sees this thread, she will probably be able to supply you with specifics regarding "overexercise" and joint damage, including CHD, in pups.

 

My feeling is that it's okay to allow Rose to run, if she's running on her own without any added incentive, such as a ball. I used to take my pup to the beach and let her chase a ball, but I now wonder if even that was wise. I never let her jump (which activity is most likely to cause OCD). Anyway, the point is that many border collies will run themselves into the ground if they're doing something they love, so as long as you are playing ball or whatever, Rose is not as likely to quit (that is, she's more likely to overdo things) than she would be if she were just out in the yard running and playing on her own. If I were you, I would limit ball playing and keep it easy (get a ball like a "holey roller" that is bigger and easier for her to grab so she's not plowing her face into the ground trying to get the ball, and roll it instead of throwing it so that she's not inclined to leap in the air to try to catch it). And keep any ball playing sessions short.

 

Anyway, I wouldn't worry about slowing her down off the lead--she's less likely to do harm to herself than you think if she's just ripping and tearing on her own without any added incentive from you.

 

Just my opinion of course, and really do search the archives to find all sorts of good discussions on CHD.

 

J.

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