/ young dogs on the hill

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Auld mick - on 29 Nov 2012
Hi all

Have a wee beagle lad (eddie) hes 6mths old and fit as !
Lots of conflicting views on when you can start them on the hills.
I am led to believe a beagle goes through the rapid growth phase before 6 mths (bigger dogs are older) so some say its okay to start em on easy stuff from then on. Others look at the sky and huff saying "18mths and not before".
I tried to stick to the 5 mins per month of life to 6 mths but he could walk forever...sniffing etc.
Now hes 6mths I wanted to introduce him gently to the hills.
What are your experiences with your dogs ?
When did you start them ?
Any help tips etc much appreciated.
As a wee starter for ten eddie and I went for a walk up Dumyat from sherrifmuir yesterday........he thinks hes a huskie ! he loved it.
5km round trip 212 m of ascent=55mins.

peas65 - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick:

I not a vet or expert but ours was out on the fells last winter at 7 months old -hes a collie- loved it, he got tired more easily than he does now but still happily managed a full day out, now he could do it several times and still have energy!

When he was younger his pads were softer so we had to watch that.
I think like kids, if the dog is enjoying it and is happy then its fine, if its not having fun then dont do it.

It doesnt seem to have done him any damage/problems. He had his annual check up and was great.
happy_c - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick: I think the general idea is that not to overdo it for the sake of their joints, the bigger the dog, the more this is an issue, i also think some dogs like you said are mroe developed and cope better, i didn't do over 6 hours with my springer until he was 12 months, not for any reason, just the way it worked out. Is the dog on or of a lead? May sound a daft question, but on a lead my dog could go for days, off a lead he charges round like a daft goon all day, only shown signs of getting tired after about 9 hours, and in this 9 hours, he is fetching and doing retrieving work constantly!

The one thing ill say, is that if you took him out now which vets would say is 'early' and he developed a serious joint problem in the next couple of years, you would blame your 'impatience' for the problem, which would make you feel pretty harsh?

You and only you know your dog, what its use to etc, young wolves are out with the pack hunting when under 18 months, which puts from more strain on them, than walking with us slow humans!

If your pup has been mollycuddled and never climbed over anything, bumped into anything or jumped of anything etc, like some of these fasion dogs are, then your asking for a disaster, if its a pretty hardy pup, then id have a go, take breaks, and turn back if she/he seems tired?

My input is probably worth nothing, but not all breeds are the same, nor are the dogs within that breed, how can you put a standard time to exercise on them all? A 6 month dog allowed 30mins a day?? Thats way too low, even though it is whats recomended, is that on a lead of as well?
Auld mick - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to happy_c:
Hi on a lead 99.9% hes a beagle after all Lol

hes a pretty hardy wee bugger runs jumps plays.............
He loves being outside to and has done from day 1.
Guess I will just take it easy with him small hills (plenty about) and short days till next summer then step it up slowly, its good having company.

happy_c - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick: They are a bit of a pain when you let them of lol,a mate has one and its never been of! But if you let it of, how long/far do you think it would go on its own steam? for days! My spaniel is very rarely on a lead, i think its harder to judge tiredness when on a lead, as of the lead, you spot the signs easier e..g stops hunting, and tail slows from 300mpg down to 150mph!

Playing it safe is always best, but like you said, start small and increase, you would only regret it if he got problems! I went out too far and i guess too much , as he was of a lead, so covering miles and miles as he charges around everywhere like a toddler on cocaine! but when he tired, he rained it in a bit, and walked slower etc and he turned out fine! I would love to know how to tire out a bloody spaniel though, ive tried everything, even full work days he doesnt notice!
iccy - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to happy_c:

We've carried our dogs home in a backpack after a day out if they're looking tired. Play it by ear. You know the dog best and be prepared to carry him if he's tired.
rousse - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick: Hi, I understand as one of the previous posters has said that it's not to do with whether they have the energy or not - most pups of that age have energy to burn. It's to do with the fact that the growth plates at the end of their long bones haven't fully formed/hardened yet, and too much exercise before they have can lead to conditions like elbow and hip dysplasia (sp?) - where the joint becomes deformed.

For big breeds this can be up to 18 months, I think up to 12 months is a general guideline. Why don't you give your vet a quick phone call? They shouldn't mind.
crustypunkuk - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick:
You're right in thinking that wee breeds like Beagles mature quicker. I had my Maisie Beagle around the Bishop-West Lomond-East Lomond- home (a distance of about 23 miles in total) at around 7 months and she was absolutely fine. She's the first wee dog i've had after years of German Shepherd ownership, and she has so much more stamina, energy and climbing ability than any larger dog i've ever owned.
As an aside, i've had her off the leash from near enough day one. All this stuff about never letting Beagles off the leash is rubbish. They are a scenting hound, and will track, but given proper training they are no more likely to run off than any other dog. Keep a few treats in your pocket and use them as a reward for obedience when getting used to being off the leash, and you should have some success. Other than when we're around the streets and traffic, mine is never on the leash now- makes getting in the hills so much easier!
Jenny C on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick: At the other end of the scale we found the only way to exercise our elderly springer was to keep her on a lead for 90% of the time. On the lead and forced to walk at our speed she was fine, but allowed to free run she would overdo it and be so stiff she was unable to stagger accross the room the following day.
Siward on 29 Nov 2012
sarahjk - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Auld mick: Sure they have loads of energy at that age, but 12 years down the line you will be wondering if it was smart.

My first Border Collie, Torridon, was bouncing off the walls at 6 months and so she had lots of long walks, sometimes rucksack assisted, slept in the car on way home and then wanted to go again. Do her a favour and dont do it. Might not of been the early long walks, but she could hardly move on a bad day towards the end. Tough to wait, but wish I had. Wait till the spring, or keep it to an hour or two easy walks. wont do any harm.
peas65 - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to sarahkeast:

Is this not the same though with any old dog regardless of when they are exercised as a young animal. Like all humans get slower as they get older?
sarahjk - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to peas65: Sadly no, she had xrays showing joint damage and arthritis way beyond her age.
happy_c - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to sarahkeast: Ive known people, and dogs with arthritis 'well before their age'. It is merely an association that this was caused by yourself? The dog could of got arthritis anyway, how is it proven that it was the early walking that did it, it could of been diet? hereditary?

The point Im attempting to make, is so many people have done 'too much' early on, including myself with both my dogs, the collie cross made is to 16 and my current spaniel is 3 and shows no sign of any issues. By doing too much i mean exceeding the 5mins rule, not a full day in the lakes as a pup.

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