Id like to back up what others have said about labs not knowing when to stop.
My 5 year old has HD. He will happily charge around all day after his ball if i let him, then spend all night limping and looking very stiff when trying to get up. On occasions hes started limping mid walk and i have had to restrain him before he does more damage to himself.
For us its about finding the right balance where he can have some off lead exercise without over doing it.
Minnie was a rescue pup just like Jessie and having read up on the five minute rule (guide) on here before adopting her, I decided to follow it. Without knowing anything about the health of her parents and other relatives, I didn't want to do anything to risk her health.
Mins has always been an energetic girl - she's also a lean and light dog and she would have kept going far longer than the five minutes per month, but I followed it pretty closely until she was about a year of age. I included off lead exercise because she is generally always on the move when off lead.
I didn't include any time playing at home in the garden/with our other dogs, but at home I could bring her in from the garden whenever I wanted and get her/the others to settle down if I felt they'd had enough play.
The other thing of course is if you are letting her have so much exercise away from home, are you then going to stop her from doing anything at home/in the garden? If not, then that is even more exercise.
As already mentioned I think, little training sessions can help tire them out. I know five minutes/month isn't much, but you can be out with the dog for much more than the 5 mins per month, if you're not exercising the whole time. We took Mins out many times for longer than the 5 mins/month, by going out for breakfast, visiting places where we could watch the world go by etc. Great for socialisation and helping to tire her a little, without any damage risk
I know not everyone follows the five minute rule but for me, I really didn't want to look back and wish I had been more careful. I started at around 11 months of age, I think, to relax things a little, gradually building up the length of time we were out until we got to the stage where we were just out for a walk, with no note of for how long. Even as she approached a year of age I didn't suddenly increase her exercise hugely.
Maybe some will think I was over cautious but I never wanted to look back and wish I'd done things differently. She's now not far off three years of age and she is very fit and will happily walk for as long as we want to
I second the taking her out to see the world, if you don't already take her places in the car its a good thing to learn about in itself and it also gives you the opportunity to show her all sorts of places and people, which will tire her out mentally, without any risk to joints. It certainly works for us. Also the training instead of thinking right we'll have a session of it how about just randomly doing 5 mins here and there all through the day, again mental stimulation you're teaching her things she needs to learn and reinforcing them too which has to be a good think. On a training DVD I have someone asked Dr Ian Dunbar when they should train and his response was 'every time you remember you have a dog'! so basically do a little bit here and there so she isn't bored or flying off the walls but isn't wearing herself into the ground either. I don't think people were being judgmental just expressing opinions which maybe different to yours my advice to you is simply read the evidence on both sides and make an informed choice not just a decision based on the here and now.
Some dogs are more than happy with a plod round the block for 15 mins, then a bit of a training session and a game later on in the day, others however are much, MUCH more active and demanding. I've had both extremes and several inbetween.
My absolute biggest bug bear and worry about Lab pups is having to restrict exercise because we have no real knowledge of whether they have good joints or bad, until there is a problem. I don't stick rigidly to the 5 Min Rule but I've had a fair few pups and I "think" I can now judge when a pup is getting physically tired, even though it is still full of beans and wanting to charge about. So I'm sensible/careful about the amount of forced exercise (on or off lead) they get.
All of my Labs would have happily been hoolying about outside for an hour at 4 months old, but I wouldn't be out that long, unless a lot of that time was spent with me sat down and the pup sniffing around my feet and watching the world go by. Yes there have been days when I've been out with my pups for 3 hours or more, but the total amount of forced walking they did, we could have done in 20 mins if I had kept moving.
The big difference between them hoolying about the garden on their own (not with you throwing toys and geeing them up) and them being out, is the amount of adrenaline they produce. At home, everything is familiar and so they are less "wired" and more likely to stop as soon as they feel a bit tired, whereas when they are out, all those new sights, sounds and smells stimulate them so much, that they will ignore any tiredness and then as their muscles get achey, they trip, stumble, fall and generally become less coordinated and more clumsy. This is when, in my opinion, the damage is done to joints which are already not perfect. I don't believe a bit of over exercise and the odd stumble affects perfect joints at all....but unless we have x-ray vision, we simply dont know if our pups joints are perfect or not.
Bearing the stimulation/adrenaline in mind, we should also be careful when playing with them too, as driven pups will play Fetch for hours, way past their point of tiredness and this has the potential to cause further problems with less than perfect joints too.
I do believe if a dog has bad joints, this will show up in time, no matter how little exercise it has as a pup, however, if the joints are already problematic, over exercise, stumbling, falling, etc has the potential to make a dodgy joint worse, which is why the 5 Min Rule came about.
If your girl is like a couple of mine have been (on the go/busy all the time), then try Clicker Training. they pick it up so quickly and absolutely LOVE learning new tricks and things. 10 mins with the Clicker, wore mine out far, FAR more than a good hooly ever did....and it meant they were really switched on and clued up about Training from then on .
____________ Jules, Mojo, Pickle, Pood, Twoee and Tidge.
I think the "1-hour" time frame was a little misleading as it isnt a frogmarch and was total time out which includes sniffing, games, chatting etc, I took for granted that this would accounted for. Actual walking is more difficult to pinpoint, but would still be over the 5minute rule.
My original question was more about how exercise in a field or a beach differs to a garden, when considering future health. The more considered responses have certainly been beneficial.
She comes out in the car most times we can take her. She likes shopping centres, puppy classes at vets (even though oldest & biggest by far). She is great around other dogs, but more wary of people (men more than women) and cars ... this is being worked on. Being a rescue and not knowing her history, socially we count ourself lucky that she seems to take most in her stride
Excellent post as usual Jules - and some very good comments from others too.
My Poppy was (and is) a high energy lab who doesn't want to stop, even when you can see how tired she is. Even at 18 months, she struggles to just stop and chill out - she just want to keep going! Now of course I m now (within reason!) only limited by the time I have to walk her but up until she was 1 I stuck to the 5 minute rule except for 2 walks on holiday in the lakes when she was 7 months when we went out for slightly longer (no epic treks!). She was full of beans yes but we stuck with it!
Try more mini training sessions as suggested but also don't try to 'entertain' her ALL the time. when she was little I made the mistake of not really leaving her by herself much when I was in the house, i.e. wherever I was, she was! She needs to learn to just settle down sometimes so when she has either been for a walk or had a training session, pop her in her crate (if you have one) and go and do something (have a shower, do the hoovering - you get the idea!) and she will probably just fall asleep.
I hope you find what works for you and that you can be happy with.
I felt very similar when Gillie was a pup as he had so much energy but I was petrified of damaging his joints so I followed the 5 minute rule pretty religiously until 6 months. After 6months I tended to give him a 20 minute out twice a day so 10 minutes in total more than the rulke but with plenty of rest in between and both sessions shorter than his 30 minute 'allowance'.
As much as possible when he was young I tried to take him to different places so that his allocated exercise was more interesting and he had a car ride so although the exercise may have been 20 minutes it was nearer an hour away from home which tired him out.
He learned to play hide and seek with treats which he loved and still does today as well as clicker training. Once a week he went to his puppy class and a few times a week we went to the beach and I'd sit in the dunes and he would play nearby, dig the sand, say hello to other dogs etc.
Now at 18 months he is fit as a flea and we go for lovely long walks and we have never had any worry about his soundness so the patiencxe is definitely worth it!
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