Hi everyone- I have a 15 week old puppy and I am having trouble settling on an amount of exercise for her. [Full disclosure, she is not a pure GSP. She has some lab mixed in. I apologize in advance if this site focuses on pure labs only]. We have given her as much as 1 1/2 of exercise a day (mostly off leash running around in the woods and playing with other dogs) and as little as 45 minutes (out of concern that she is getting too much exercise). My concern is that if we give her too much exercise, it might hurt her joints and hips, etc. But she has TONS of energy and she can run around in the woods almost endlessly. We love her and we dont mind giing her all the exercise she needs, we just dont want to overdue it. I pay close attention to see if she shows any signs of tiring, but she never does. She never sits or lays down. She is always running up ahead of me and waiting for me too catch up, then running up again. When we get home in the evening, after her second session of exercise, she still bounds around the house like a nut, chewing and nipping (which, as far as i know, are sure signs of having pent up energy). The other issue is that she doesnt seem to know how to calm down, and she'll keep going and going until you help her stop. Eventually, we put her in her crate and she will immediately crash and sleep without a peep. Anyone else have an experience like this? Like your pup can't calm down, but once you put her in her crate, she sleeps immediately? Also, anyone else find that their puppy needs significantly more than the "5 minutes of exercise/month of age" rule? I have also heard that this is just a rule of thumb and everyone has to take cues from their dog to figure out how much exercise they need. I dont want to overextend her and I dont want to jeopordize her health, but if i take her cues, i'd say she probably needs about 1 1/2 of walking/running in the woods per day. Any advice would be great.
Bo has been getting a good 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise a day (2 half-hour walks and 1 full hour) since he finished puppy K (approx. 4 months). This boy NEVER flags, and will keep on going until we send him "home" (his crate) with a treat. Couple minutes later, all you hear are puppy snores.
He is now just shy of 8 months and it is still the same thing. We can tell when he is tired and we have to be the ones to say enough. We have taken him on 2 hour VERY rigourous walks through the forest, and he will still come home and race around the yard like an idiot. Exercise seems to energize him, not tire him out.
We let him set the pace of his exercise ... if he starts with tired behaviour (wandering aimlessly, unable to stick with a favourite toy) he goes home. We also had to be careful during the summer since he would push himself in the heat and humidity. A couple of times we had to wait until 9 p.m. for a walk. We also try to mitigate any effect the exercise has on his growing joints by making sure he gets anough sleep and that most of his walk/play time is on soft surfaces (grass, forest paths, etc.)
Don't know how others feel about this, but he is growing like a weed and seems to be a happy, well-adjusted dog.
JMO: since the pup is determining the duration and intensity of your outings, stopping when SHE feels like resting and starting up again when SHE is ready, and obviously stays stoked up the entire time... I would NOT worry about overdoing it! If she's obviously exhausted or sore by the end THEN I'd be worried.
It's memories like this that make me tired just thinking about another GSP pup. They can be really wound up little devils without much of an off switch!
P.S. repeat after me: "the crate is our friend". Also start working NOW on extended down-stays (most productive sessions will be post-rampage of course), because that will also build in a handy method of control in an otherwise wild hound.
I'm so glad you brought up this topic! We are curious about overexercising Kota, as well. He'll be 17 weeks old tomorrow & we'd love to take him for a 1 mile run in the evening, which is also his craziest energy time. He goes for long walks in the morning but is in his crate for about 6 hours during the day. When I come home in the evening he is an absolute wild-man. I feed him, walk about about 1/4 to 1/2 mile & then we play in the backyard. We go inside & he's all over the place. About an hour or so later, we are out for an even longer walk.
Anyone w/ some expertise know if we can actually take him for a mile run at this age? We'd actually like to run him in the morning & at night, but figure he's much too young for that.