Puppy exercise and growth plates.

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fishvik
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Puppy exercise and growth plates.

Post by fishvik » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:32 pm

One of the guys I hunt with told me that he has heard that taking a pup under 1yo old out in the field more than a couple of times a month can lead to knee problems because the growth plates don't develop correctly. Anybody else heard, or know about this cause it was sure new to me. I know running a young dog on a hard surface can cause problems.

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RatDog
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Puppy exercise and growth plates.

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:59 pm

I’m pretty new at this but I have only ever heard that doing actual “road work” like putting the dog in a harness and forcing it to run extended distances for pre-season conditioning isn’t advisable before a year.

The idea that hunting in the field could be detrimental sounds like baloney to me. It is what they’d be doing naturally anyway right?


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Last edited by RatDog on Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sharon
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Re: Puppy exercise and growth plates.

Post by Sharon » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:28 pm

I support the thought that roading a dog under a year old is unwise. 14-16 months is recommended.
Running in the field is far different from a forced pace in a roading harness.

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birddogger2
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Re: Puppy exercise and growth plates.

Post by birddogger2 » Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:46 pm

fishvik wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:32 pm
One of the guys I hunt with told me that he has heard that taking a pup under 1yo old out in the field more than a couple of times a month can lead to knee problems because the growth plates don't develop correctly. Anybody else heard, or know about this cause it was sure new to me. I know running a young dog on a hard surface can cause problems.
Never heard any such thing myself. I can tell you that I routinely let my pointer puppies run in the field for as long as they are able to maintain pace. I run them until they show that they are tired, or until I am the one that is tired. Running a youngster in a partially cut down field will wear a groove in them pretty quickly, especially when they are under four months old. I do avoid hard surfaced roads when running dogs.

As far as roading a dog to build strength and endurance, I have done it with dogs under a year old, but I would road them on foot with the dog in harness and attached to me. I wore a 6" wide weightlifter's belt to spread the pressure across a wider piece of my back. You can instantly feel when the dog lets up, so you know right when to quit. I haven't roaded a dog on foot for a few years now. Don't know if I ever will again, but the belt is still hanging in my garage. The best part of roading a dog on foot is that you can teach it to turn with you fairly easily. They don't have a lot of options to do otherwise.. since they are physically attached to you.

I don't road a dog off a horse until they were fully grown for a couple of reasons. The first is the potential for overworking the dog and causing injury, which I also believe is real and the second is that young dogs are flat stupid about a lot of things and getting stepped on by a horse(or worse) is high on the list of possibilities. Also possible is the dog getting spooked and running around or under and through the horse and getting the horse's legs tangled in the rope. If the horse goes down with me on it, that is a prescription for a fairly lengthy hospital visit. I will take a youngster and put it in harness with one or sometimes(if the youngster is a knothead) in between two older, more experienced dogs who will keep the youngster out of trouble.

Like anything else, if you do it with care and attention, starting low and slow and building gradually, you can do a lot of things.

RayG

fishvik
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Re: Puppy exercise and growth plates.

Post by fishvik » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:21 pm

I want to thank you guys for the responses so far. The reason I'm curious is that that is what a vet said his working his dog during hunting season was the reason my buddies dog needed both knees fixed at a cost of $5000.

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Re: Puppy exercise and growth plates.

Post by shags » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:38 am

I think you'd have to start with finding out the details of how/when/why your friend ran his pup. Maybe the vet knows those details and is responding to them. Did your buddy overdo it or was he cautious? I also wonder if the dog is neutered; I've read that early neutering can cause orthopedic problems later on in life.

My pups start running the day we bring them home. Little puppies get little 'runs' on the lawn. As they grow, we move out into the horse pasture where the cover is denser. From there we hit woods, unmowed fields, or whatever is available. But the rule is, the puppy sets the pace and time. When he's tired, we're done. We've had some high drive pups who would go long, so those we picked up after 15-30 minutes depending on age and condition. My boy dogs are all intact. So far, no problems.

Best of luck to your buddy and his dog. That's a tough spot.

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