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I recently adopted an eight and a half month old dog that appears to be a Whippet/Lab mix. She was very shy at first but after three weeks at home is already coming out of her shell. She is very energetic and I originally wanted to adopt a dog so that I would have a running partner. From what I've read you aren't supposed to really "run" with your dog until they are at least more than a year old. We went out tonight for probably a... mile and a half walk/jog. For her it was more of a quick walk, and we sprinted once going downhill. It seemed like she had a good time and took a great nap when we got home! Of course she's back to torturing the cat now, but it was peaceful for awhile anyway.... I'm just wondering what the limits on taking her out for a run with me would be, with it just being a fast-paced walk for her since I'm not out running 5 minute miles or anything. When is it too much? Too fast? Too much mileage? I don't want to over-exert or hurt her! How slowly should I take this?
A funny thing, she is much more obedient on the leash when we are jogging that just out on a walk. No tugging or lagging behind or trying to rush ahead of me. We just kept up with each other, it was fun.
 

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I was also told the same thing, not to run with my puppy (who is 5 mos) until he is over a year, preferably 18 months old. We will occasionally jog with him for short bursts while out for walks, but no stretches of consistent running yet. I don't want to harm his developing body so for now we are sticking to no real running until at least next spring/summer.
 

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Hello and welcome! :)
 

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Welcome to the forum! A puppy should not be taken on a forced run (human determined pace and length) until their growth plates close, which is usually 18-24 months for a larger dog. It can cause joint damage which will get progressively worse and more painful with age. Letting the dog run around on their own is fine, b/c it will stop when tired.
 

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Hello, new to the forum, I was wondering the same. At what point can you differentiate between walk and run? Smaller dogs seem to almost run to keep up with adult human long strides? Are walks detrimental as well? Does turf have a bearing on the " rule of thumb"? Grass as opposed to pavement to dirt road?
Thanks!
 

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I have always heard the one year rule but every dog is different. The main thing is to make sure the dog isn't overheating or over exerting himself. Watch the dog to make sure its not panting heavily or lagging far behind you.
I now take my GSP on 10 mile runs with me but it has taken about a year to get her to that point.

Blake,
GundogCo.com
 

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No, the one year rule was for growth plates and bone structure, not overheating. The simplest thing is to ask the Vet for the recommendation for your specific dog.

As far as overheating, after you can run the dog, you'll want to condition him for the climate, terrain, and distance. We get lots of discussion about how high a temperature a dog can walk/run... And, in Texas, a conditioned dog with adequate water can learn to jog in 105 - 110 weather.

When we have 100 degree days in early Spring, both my dog and I feel the heat during our afternoon walks. But, now, in the middle of the summer, afternoon walks in 105 degrees aren't a big deal, and we see younger folks jogging with their dogs every day... Monitoring the dog for overheating is still important... but it's not as big a concern.
 

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It's easy to tell whether a dog is running or walking: watch the stride. A walking dog always has 2 paws on the ground, a running dog has no paws on the ground for a second. Also, a dog's back is straight while walking, but flexes into a curve and then straightens while running.

Puppies can run without hurting themselves, but only of their own accord. If you force them to keep up with you, they'll damage themselves in their eagerness to please.
 

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Just the thread I was looking for! Alfie is 9 months, and full adult size/weight (9kg), so does that mean his growth plates are now closed and I can start training him up, or is there still underlying changes going on and I should wait a while longer yet?
 

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1. You can always call your Vet (for free) for that type of question to get an authoritative answer.
2. Conventional wisdom says that you should be careful with a large dog as far as running on leash and jumping until he's fully grown.
3. I'm not sure about the rules for smaller dogs.
4. Regardless of size/age, you can do all the training that you like, except for high impact activities. I think that you can condition and jog with your dog, if he's off leash (not sure if you can trust him). But, you want to be careful about jumping with him, even off-leash.... I think this is a good Vet question.
 

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So I spoke to my vet, and didn't really get much more of a definitive answer.

Basically she said that his growth plates probably won't be closed until 12-18 months, but that it will mostly be the non-load bearing ones left by now as he's more or less full size (9kg Border Terrier in case you were wondering). Her guidance was to take my lead from the dog (pun intended) and running off-leash on grass would be a good way to build some condition. If he's wanting to stop, or showing signs of stiffness the following day then I should reduce the time a bit.

So my plan is to walk the 750m or so to the fields near me with him on leash, jog around the fields off lease starting with the short 1.5km loop, then walk back the 750m on leash on road. If he handles that fine then I'll convert one of the on leash walks to a jog, then both, then increase the off leash element over time.

Not sure I'd know what doggy stiffness looks like, it certainly won't be the wincing old man routine I go through after over exercising! :)
 

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Muscle stiffness at that age may look a little like arthritis: slower to get up, maybe a limp or unbalanced walk (rear legs) while walking slowly (may look OK at a faster walk)... my dog will also stretch ( Doggie Yoga ? :) ). Massage seems to make it better.

My 11 yo dog also licks his joints, assuming beginning arthritis, but he doesn't lick sore muscles, instead stretching when massaged... maybe with an appreciative moan...

Soreness goes away in a few days. I assume that arthritis can result in good and bad days, but never goes away...
 

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I have always heard the one year rule but every dog is different. The main thing is to make sure the dog isn't overheating or over exerting himself. Watch the dog to make sure its not panting heavily or lagging far behind you.
I now take my GSP on 10 mile runs with me but it has taken about a year to get her to that point.

Blake,
GundogCo.com
but the "no running with dog on leash until they are full grown" has nothing to do with their "ability" or "stamina" but the impact on their joints, so not sure how watching if they are panting helps. even a 6 month old lab could probably pull you on your entire run they have so much stamina, that isn't the issue.

I know labs and other medium-large breed dogs, where you need to wait until they are 18-24 months (when their joints are done growing) before running with them (or roller blading, biking).

You build up muslce by exercising them (off leash playing, swimming, wrestling, etc.).

In my mind, why risk it? Why take the chance that at 10 years of age they are hit with bad arthristis (or earlier).
 
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