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I have posted a bit over the last 6 weeks about several issues I have had with Murphy (1 year now) and mentioned a bit about the excercise I have been giving him. Several posters have pointed out that the excercise I am giving him is a bit excessive for his age.

Murphy gets out for hikes almost daily. I would say, that of those 5-6 days a week he hikes, 2-3 of those hikes last 3 hours or more. I usually let him off leash so he can run freely during these hikes as long as we are in an appropriate location. Approximately 1 time a week these hikes can be up to 4hours and usually up one of our local mountains (not anything glorious, not more than 500m elevation). Murphy seems to love it, and is usually pooped for the remainder of the day.

I had always felt excercise was a good thing, but with comments suggesting this is excessive, can anyone comment on what I should be striving for?
 

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thanks for posting.. I am also curious as to the exercise amount that is considered excessive for age... My pup is much younger than yours... but, we're very active and hike a lot too... He can't go with us yet... probably quite a few more months before he's able to enjoy longer hikes/ jogging with me...
So, I was wondering the same things... like if there is a guideline to go by according to age... I definitely do not want his exercise to fall into the range of 'excessive' or something that could possibly cause him harm...
 

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@brodyj

I would never have ever thought there was a limit to the excercise a dog can get. But some posters have commented that my routine is a bit excessive. And some of these posters, judging from their profiles are quite experienced. I can share the following observations. Murphy was about 8 months old before we included him in almost everything we did physically. It didnt seem to bother him. He did seem to enjoy it and it made for much quieter evenings at home as he didnt get his daily fill in the house. We have only recently, as in perhaps the last 2-3 months allowed him off leash which sort of allows him to regulate his own level of excercise intensity. But we only allow him off leash on trails that are not overly used so as to avoid numerous encounters with people while off leash and on trails located far from highways. He has buggered off a few times but never really gotten into trouble. But we still remain highly selective about where we take him off leash.
 

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What should be considered excessive depends on the dog. Forced exercise, and things that are hard on the joints should not be done too much with dobermans until their growth plates close, and the general consensus seems to be that a good age is around 18 months. Hard exercise includes things like jumping, running on hard surfaces, any type of forced running, and POSSIBLY long hikes up the mountain, depending on the terrain. I was talking my pup on long walks early, at 7 months we were taking her on 5 mile walks around the lake, and she would come home with enough energy to wear us out, and then go and play with the neighbors dog and run around like an idiot. My girl is also a mix, and less than 20" at the withers, so for a dog her size that's alot of activity. But things like long runs, or difficult hikes up a mountain should not be done too much, if they're putting strain on your dogs joints.

My girl is about a year, and we go on hikes through the woods, it's fairly steep and rocky, we do about less than a mile - mile 1/2 usually. I do the same, she's off leash the whole time, (once we get off the street) and free to run around as she likes. If I find a nice clearing, or good spot for her to run around and explore, I'll stay there a while and let her do her thing. I'm sure she would have no problem going on very long hikes through the mountains, but at the same time, it's not like she could exactly look up and be like "are we almost done, my elbow hurts" ya know? She's so excited to be out in the woods with me, that she would probably keep going until she dropped, and I'd have to carry her back. Many dogs, especially dobermans are like that. They will push, and push, and push, and push. Many other breeds will just lay down when they've had enough. Dobermans are not like that. So that's why you have to be a little careful when doing these types of things with your dog.

Also, remember, (even though I know it doesn't seem it) at 1 year your dog is still a puppy, and still growing, and developing his bones.

So, 3-4 hour hikes may be fine, may be too much, it all depends on the shape your dog is in, and the type of terrain and how intense the activiey is. Hard to give a definitive answer. If you're concerned about anything, next time you're at the vet for a checkup, you can have him take a look make sure everything looks good for a dog his age.
 

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thanks for posting.. I am also curious as to the exercise amount that is considered excessive for age... My pup is much younger than yours... but, we're very active and hike a lot too... He can't go with us yet... probably quite a few more months before he's able to enjoy longer hikes/ jogging with me...
So, I was wondering the same things... like if there is a guideline to go by according to age... I definitely do not want his exercise to fall into the range of 'excessive' or something that could possibly cause him harm...
I started hiking in the woods with my two boyz from day one of them coming home with me. They were 10 and 12 weeks old. We would go for an hour plus, many days 2xs! Long as your puppy is not being forced to run and doesn't appear to be having a hard time during the hike, isn't getting sore paws afterwords, is able to stop and rest during, is kept hydrated....you aren't doing anything that could hurt your puppy. Your are building a great foundation for lifelong fitness for him.
 

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I started hiking in the woods with my two boyz from day one of them coming home with me. They were 10 and 12 weeks old. We would go for an hour plus, many days 2xs! Long as your puppy is not being forced to run and doesn't appear to be having a hard time during the hike, isn't getting sore paws afterwords, is able to stop and rest during, is kept hydrated....you aren't doing anything that could hurt your puppy. Your are building a great foundation for lifelong fitness for him.
I've done the same with my dogs and never had a problem. What I wouldn't do is forced jogging or biking.
 

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I think any repetitive joint jarring exercise is what you want to avoid. Jogging whether with you, on a treadmill or next to a bicycle, jumping (e.g. agility stuff), fetch/catching a Frisbee if you have a crazed dog that will run back and forward for hours doing it and start/stop/turn suddenly and put a lot of pressure on their joints.
 

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Any exercise is going to wear down on a dog (or anything living for that matter). I believe a dog should live his life to the fullest, and once arthritis and other old age related problems kick in, he is allowed to sleep/eat/poop all day and not lift a paw :)
 

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Agreed with some of the above - I see hiking, especially off-leash hiking as different than repetitive, leashed jogging or biking on pavement, or jumping high or in an un-controlled manner like with frisbee.

When hiking, they can stop ahead of us and rest if needed. I think it's great exercise and do it with all of my dogs at a young age, building up slowly, and stopping to rest if needed. I did wait until Silas was about 18-19 months to go running with him, but he hiked as soon as we got him at 6 months.

Have fun, and where are the photos? ;)
 

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Any exercise is going to wear down on a dog (or anything living for that matter). I believe a dog should live his life to the fullest, and once arthritis and other old age related problems kick in, he is allowed to sleep/eat/poop all day and not lift a paw :)
Many vets recommend against lots of exercise early on because of diseases like hip dysplasia and growth disorders affecting dogs at a young age, like 3 years old. The last thing you want is a dog acting elderly when it should be in the prime of its life.
 

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Thank you very much KevinK and Luvbirds.

I didnt even really think of skeletal development. He did get sore paws at the tennis court we used to play at, but we have since stopped this.

@ Sidneyblue

Yeah, normally I wouldnt care what others think. But this is not a case of these people coming to my home and impressing their opinions upon me. I post in here freely looking for the best information I can to be the best owner I can to promote Murphy's best interests. He is our best friend and is an EXTREMELY loyal friend to me and my wife. Luvbirds has a signature quote that I really take to heart. Especially the line that says "You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion". With that in mind, I want to excercise due diligence in ensuring my routine with him is as informed and educated as possible. I have found this site more beneficial then some vet visits. So I would never discard advice that someone has offered me. Yours included. You have reminded me that the most important thing is that Murphy and I are doing what we love to do. But I am considering a degree of moderation. Murphy is not a show dog, his ears arent perfect, he has obedience issues but one thing is for certain, he loves my wife and I to death as we do him. We want whats best for him.

thanks to all who responded.
 

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Many vets recommend against lots of exercise early on because of diseases like hip dysplasia and growth disorders affecting dogs at a young age, like 3 years old. The last thing you want is a dog acting elderly when it should be in the prime of its life.
Yeah, arthritis at age 6 (which my prior 50-lb non-dobe girl had - before I knew about growth plate issues) is certainly something I'd like to avoid for any of my dogs in the future.

In my mind now, it's well-worth waiting until 18 months for leashed running or biking (esp on pavement), or jumping for me. Lots of other fun things to do for the dog to live life at a young age!
 

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Hiking, especially off leash is fine. Off leash he can move naturally, adjusting his own stride, stopping and sniffing and bursts of running-- all natural and all very benificial. If he were a LOT younger, say four to seven months I might think that this amount of hiking could be a bit much. He's one lucky dog to get so much natural outdoor time with his owner!
 
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I am often one of the loudest opponents for inappropriate exercise in young dogs. I personally don't see a problem with hikes on natural terrain though. As mentioned above, the kind of exercise I am against is repetitive exercise like jogging on leash especially on pavement, or activities that put a lot of torque on joints like frisbee.
 

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@brodyj

I would never have ever thought there was a limit to the excercise a dog can get. But some posters have commented that my routine is a bit excessive. And some of these posters, judging from their profiles are quite experienced. I can share the following observations. Murphy was about 8 months old before we included him in almost everything we did physically. It didnt seem to bother him. He did seem to enjoy it and it made for much quieter evenings at home as he didnt get his daily fill in the house. We have only recently, as in perhaps the last 2-3 months allowed him off leash which sort of allows him to regulate his own level of excercise intensity. But we only allow him off leash on trails that are not overly used so as to avoid numerous encounters with people while off leash and on trails located far from highways. He has buggered off a few times but never really gotten into trouble. But we still remain highly selective about where we take him off leash.
I'm kind of doing the same thing with Brody. Fortunately we have a large yard, and have lots of other places we can take him to, where he can run and play, off leash. I have been taking him on short walks with us, but no forced exercise... he pretty determines when, and the amount lol. I can't wait until we can take him more places with us though, without worrying.
 

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Thank you very much KevinK and Luvbirds.

I didnt even really think of skeletal development. He did get sore paws at the tennis court we used to play at, but we have since stopped this.

@ Sidneyblue

Yeah, normally I wouldnt care what others think. But this is not a case of these people coming to my home and impressing their opinions upon me. I post in here freely looking for the best information I can to be the best owner I can to promote Murphy's best interests. He is our best friend and is an EXTREMELY loyal friend to me and my wife. Luvbirds has a signature quote that I really take to heart. Especially the line that says "You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion". With that in mind, I want to excercise due diligence in ensuring my routine with him is as informed and educated as possible. I have found this site more beneficial then some vet visits. So I would never discard advice that someone has offered me. Yours included. You have reminded me that the most important thing is that Murphy and I are doing what we love to do. But I am considering a degree of moderation. Murphy is not a show dog, his ears arent perfect, he has obedience issues but one thing is for certain, he loves my wife and I to death as we do him. We want whats best for him.

thanks to all who responded.
I agree... I often get on here before or after vet visits and ask the same questions I asked my vet, for kind of a second opinion... not that I don't trust my vet... But sometimes people who are experienced in dobermans can offer different advice and information as well... I want to be more educated.. and I've learned a lot from all of the experienced people on here :)
 
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