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HI, I’m new and quite excited to have found this site. We have a gorgeous black lab who will be 7 months old on the 1st December. My question for you all is when is it ok to let her run free and chase a ball, at the beach for example where it’s open. I’m so concerned that we do something that’ll hurt her joints. She’s good at recall so I’m not worried about that, it’s just her joints I’m thinking about. thank you
 

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She’s good at recall so I’m not worried about that, it’s just her joints I’m thinking about.
You are right to worry about joints, particularly when it comes to balls. I would say it's probably 75% of Cruciate injuries are caused by chasing balls. At 7 months old the bones are still developing and still need a certain amount of care on your part, because excitement and adrenalin rush will keep a puppy running long after it should be resting. It's not about wrapping a puppy up in cotton wool, more about being sensible. Nothing can be guaranteed or course, but a little care during the first year can lead to a lifetime of fun.
 

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I would echo John's concern about joints and at 7 months pup still growing, he's a wealth of knowledge when it comes to canine health. I have a two year old and she's still filling out and developing, I was very careful not to over do things with her, and currently have her niece who is 12 1/2 weeks, and yep, very careful with her, carrying her up and down stairs, and ensuring she doesn't over do things. I stopped using tennis balls except for hiding rather than throwing, and don't use those ball chuckers at all, as they can tend to encourage dogs to run and scramble along the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
You are right to worry about joints, particularly when it comes to balls. I would say it's probably 75% of Cruciate injuries are caused by chasing balls. At 7 months old the bones are still developing and still need a certain amount of care on your part, because excitement and adrenalin rush will keep a puppy running long after it should be resting. It's not about wrapping a puppy up in cotton wool, more about being sensible. Nothing can be guaranteed or course, but a little care during the first year can lead to a lifetime of fun.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. It’s as I thought but really good to hear it for certain. We are sticking to the 5 minutes of exercise per month of age but can’t wait until she’s old enough for long walks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would echo John's concern about joints and at 7 months pup still growing, he's a wealth of knowledge when it comes to canine health. I have a two year old and she's still filling out and developing, I was very careful not to over do things with her, and currently have her niece who is 12 1/2 weeks, and yep, very careful with her, carrying her up and down stairs, and ensuring she doesn't over do things. I stopped using tennis balls except for hiding rather than throwing, and don't use those ball chuckers at all, as they can tend to encourage dogs to run and scramble along the ground.
Thank you for taking the time to reply, I didn’t realise tennis balls were bad but I’ll definitely not be buying them, thank you for the tip.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to reply, I didn’t realise tennis balls were bad but I’ll definitely not be buying them, thank you for the tip.
They're not bad as such, but throwing them can be bad for them when it instigates a bit of a long scramble across the ground. I still use tennis balls, I just hide them and then send my dogs to retrieve. To be fair, Labradors are bred to retrieve, so they don't really need training to do that, I tend to focus more on the control aspects, so the steadiness or sitting still, which my two year old really struggles with as she's got armies of ants in her pants!!
 
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