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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there. I am a brand new 1st time dobe owner. I have a great little gentleman of a dobe and he is 14 weeks. His name is Bear.

Here is my dilemma...

I have been reading a lot from this forum to help guide me in what to do regarding training and care for Bear, and one thing I have seen is to be sure I am getting my little guy out for exercise multiple times daily. I have been doing this, but he still was seeming absolutely wired, so I decided to try upping the time from 20-30 minute walks to an hour twice daily (about 3-4 miles each walk). That didn't wear him out either, so I figured I would try a hike. I took him on a 3 hour hike that gained about 1500 ft in elevation over 4 miles. I live at over 10,000 ft elevation as well, so air gets pretty thin going that high also, making it much more strenuous. He STILL wasn't tired. He was running and pulling the leash even at the end of that hike. I am not sure what to do to wear him out at this point. I see all over that a tired doberman = happy owner. I would love to experience this, but I can't seem to get him tired. Not only that, but I am WAY over the recommended exercise I see on here and it still doesn't seem like enough. He sleeps a normal amount, but he seems like he could hike non-stop all day and he is barely 3 months old. It would be great to hear some thoughts on maximum time hiking and walking for various age groups I am about to hit. And any ideas on how to wear him out.

Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I do use obedience training throughout exercising as well as I heard this helps. He is doing great with it all, but still...wired. I would just love like an hour of quiet one night instead of leaping between our couches and barking like crazy and jumping all over us.

Thanks a bunch for your input!
 

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well trained hooman
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Mental training -

Games, puzzles, hide treats to find around the house or outside, teach new tricks, take a class with a trainer, take him out around people to socialize and see new and weird environments. The more his brain works, the more quickly he will tire. Toys like Kongs work nicely as well, but sometimes you have to teach the pup how it works first, or they will get bored of it quickly.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mental training -

Games, puzzles, hide treats to find around the house or outside, teach new tricks, take a class with a trainer, take him out around people to socialize and see new and weird environments. The more his brain works, the more quickly he will tire. Toys like Kongs work nicely as well, but sometimes you have to teach the pup how it works first, or they will get bored of it quickly.
Alright, thank you. So, is my exercise too much for him if he seems to be doing so fine with that? I would love to keep going for hikes with him, I just want to make sure it isn't going to cause any issues. He seems to handle it better than I do even, he is just so young and it seems to go against everything I have read. People say their dog tires out with much less exercise than I am giving Bear.
 

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Some dogs/puppies don't seem to come equipped with an "off-switch" - they don't know how to settle down and relax. You might have one of those. Not only do I think you might be putting a little more stress on his growing body than I'd *personally* be comfortable with, you're also setting yourself up to condition your dog to NEED that much exercise every day. I made that mistake with my first dog (although she was older when we started doing more)....we started biking when she was old enough...first a mile, then two, and soon we were up to 7 miles and she wasn't tired. All she was was in really good condition and she NEEDED that much, all the time. But *I* wasn't equipped to give that to her every day. What she DIDN'T have was the ability to settle on her own.

Some dogs really need to be taught how to just...be. To relax. Some of it is giving more mental activity - it's not really obedience, because that can use some brainpower, but you'll find you burn off a lot more "thinking' if you do something more like Nosework, or tracking, or some kind of scentwork. That seems to really burn a lot of mental energy. Other types of training absolutely is also tiring - try to do very short sessions throughout the day - 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there....some of my trainer friends will put a sticky note on the fridge that says "when you see this, train your dog!". And literally, like, 3-5 minutes of training. That's it.

But, for some dogs, it isn't enough, and you have to teach settle. Typically, you have a bed, or mat, or something like that, and you have to start out sort of teaching it like a stay, but they eventually learn to just actually relax. You might Google Dr. Karen Overall's "Relaxation Protocol." That can be helpful for many dogs. I have done it - it's boring for the person, but it's helpful for dogs. I like to do it with dogs in a down position on a mat. You can also do a modified "Sit on the Dog" exercise, where you simply tether the dog to you on a fairly short leash, and just ignore them. You don't want them to be able to get into anything, so you just calmly sit in a chair, read a book, work on your laptop or whatever, but...completely ignore the dog. No interaction. Dog is on a leash, and safe, but...no interaction. They should eventually just lie down and rest. All of these things teach your dog that what you do in the house is just CHILL.

Crates are also useful. Pop puppy in a crate with a Kong stuffed with delicious things (frozen is ideal, it will take longer for pup to work it out). Sometimes they are like overtired toddlers, and they just need to be "forced" to rest.
 

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You're walking him too far. Keep walks short and stick to mental work.
 

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Hi tater!

So....

We have often "over exercised" our pups. And I have been criticized for it by others, And, for the most part they have been correct in their advice. Fortunately, we have never had joint issues with our boys.

Dobermans are medium sized dogs, but grow and mature like large breed dogs. Their joint plates are often not totally closed until up to 18 months. Forced exercise at a young age could cause some permanent damage to their joints.

The operative word is "forced". IMO, I would let the dog do what he "wants to do" with respect to exercise... In a controlled situation. In all honesty, your description of the 3 hour hike with a 3 month old pup was extreme to say the least. Even by my standards. Elevation is a moot thing. The problem is not aerobic ability, it is stress and pressure on developing joints.

Please see post #4 on this DT thread: http://www.dobermantalk.com/food-feeding/250097-ideal-weight-body-condition-growing-puppy.html

I agree with Radar. Positive mental stimulation easily replaces excessive physical exercise in a Dobe pup. Actually, it is even more effective.

JMO

John
Portland OR

Edit to say: MC and faln posts while I was typing. So... What they said^^^^
 

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Sometimes they are like overtired toddlers, and they just need to be "forced" to rest.

This statement is soooo true.....when you read your own comments regarding the need for 1 hour of quiet......yep'per...thats definately a cry of a new parent ....and its exhausting. We have all lived this process and congrats you are a new parent ..and you have a toddler in your house......they need there rest like babies and if they do not get it pups become overtired. Sometimes when we become over tired..we can become hyperactive......sounds like you are living that currently .......so as mentioned above go with moderate exercise.....and focus on the mental stimulation ..... for me a couple things tired my pup the most ........hide and seek using favorite toy.......and 30 minute socialization in a "controlled enviroment".......(not a dog park) ...not sure where you live but I would take my pup to Lowes or Home Depo and walk up and down the different isles.
Kongs are also great .......use existing kibble in ice trays ..add some water...freeze this...then stuff the ice cubes into the Kong during some quiet time.....this probably will not get you and hour......these pups are so smart !!! LOL But will buy you 30 minutes hopefully....the good news is before you know it you will be like the rest of us.... that miss are puppies...and can not believe how fast those stages flew by us.....stay in touch.....and we love pictures......now all I can think about is potato salad!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all so much.

I do see this, so does that mean don't hike until 17 months? It is merely walking, but up/downhill. I will do whatever is in the best interest of my little guy, but I just want to be clear. I do understand that running is off-limits on hard surfaces until 18 months or so, but clarity on hiking (mountainous terrain in the high Rockies) would be great. We only get about 3 months of clear ground and the snow comes back, so I am truly hoping that I can get him out a little this summer. Winter is a brutal 9 months here.
 

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Well, it's a tough question, really. Some of it is watching carefully, giving your puppy lots of opportunity to rest, being prepared to carry your pup as needed. If you are hiking on natural trails (not paved, rock, etc.), and your pup is free to speed up/slow down, rest, go at his pace...I'd be more inclined to say it's okay to to do longer hikes (a few miles), provided you are being VERY careful to make SURE your pup is making the choice to continue.

There's really mixed information out there, and no solid scientific studies. Definitely no "forced" exercise, as in you putting the pup on leash where they really don't have a choice whether to go forward or not. Definitely wouldn't do long hikes or walks on hard surfaces at this age. But...long walks in a natural setting, if it isn't TOO steep? Maybe?

Some reading for you:

One take that says maybe not: https://www.puppyculture.com/new-appropriate-exercise.html
One take that says yes: http://rufflyspeaking.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Puppy-exercise-poster.pdf

And, the round up of what the science says (which, isn't conclusive): Exercise in Puppies-Are there rules? | The SkeptVet

I would say, personally, err on the side of caution. And keep in mind that physical exercise alone isn't enough to tire your pup out. Additionally, you can risk creating a dog that needs more and more and more, which can seriously backfire on you.

Good luck!

Edited to add: remember that the patterns you are setting up now, the "lifestyle" you are setting up now, is the one you will likely have to live with for the rest of your dog's life. So, if you CAN'T hike daily for 9 months out of the year, I probably wouldn't do it now...it will only set your dog up for a rough change when the year changes. Maybe keep it to once or twice a week, so that it's not a HUGE change if you can't do it year round.
 

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Hi Tater,

MeadowCat, 4x4 John, and falnfenix made really good points.

The point about off switches is very good--sounds like you have one of those guys who will have to 'learn' to turn off--I've had a couple of them. One learned to do long down stays on a rug--which eventually put him to sleep and the other one needed time outs in a crate--shutting the crate door and leaving the room put him to sleep.

But the point is that at just over 3 months he shouldn't need that much exercise and as John pointed out what happens with puppies like that is that is that there is practically not way for them to get enough exercise as adults.

And to some degree you also want all dogs to exercise as if they have an option to stop and sniff the grass, roll in it--look in the bushes and run wildly around the yard--that's the best kind of exercise for puppies--mixed and they can decide when to stop and when to start. The walking should be part of training to be dogs who will walk on a loose leash because it'll never really wear them out.

Mental exercise as practically everyone has pointed out will exhaust puppies far faster than walks. And long hikes should really be delayed until the pup is much older. You will probably find that you'll have to wean him off of the long walks and hikes at this point.

But you guys will figure it out--I do the 3 or 4 minute training routine several times a day with puppies. And a lot of the beginning training involves a 'stay'--I have the pup sit and tell him stay while standing in front of him or beside him. If he moves I put him back in place--but when we start the sit & stay only amount to about 5 seconds--gradually increasing the time to as much as 5 minutes. And I do the same thing with downs and with a stand & stay--although I don't expect more than a couple of minutes in a stand.

But this kind of stuff is perfect for the lil' buggers that don't have off switches.

Good luck.
 

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