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I'm new to Labrador Forums and to keeping a Lab. Our male Lab is just 6 months old and, since lockdown began, my family has got used to walking him twice a day, morning and afternoon (dutifully divided between family members!). Each walk has been between 30 mins to 1 hour. He was running quite a bit on the walks too, chasing a ball etc. We realised this was too much - probably way too much - after he started limping a little and seemed over tired and we poked around online for some info. We now feel really bad about over exercising him and have cut down to just one 30 minute walk in the morning and then letting him be in the garden too (and making sure he goes out for his business whenever he needs to, of course). He only started the limping under a week ago so we're watching to see if there's an improvement before taking him to the vet. He doesn't appear to be in any pain connected to the limping. I've carefully checked his paws for foreign objects and found nothing there. We've done our utmost to look after him well and thought he was okay with the exercise he was having. But now we're afraid long-term damage may have been caused to his bones. Can anyone give some advice? Will he be okay now that we've adjusted his exercise routine? Thank you.
 

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Really all you can do now is rest and hope the limp goes away. Failing that it will be ex-rays to see what the problem is.
I know many people throw balls for their dog, but really it's not a good thing to do for a number of reasons. Firstly the shear distance covered in a short time, far more that a dog just trotting around with you. A dog chasing a ball for half an hour is probably running 3 or 4 times the distance of the dog just trotting around and stopping to sniff the scents. Instead of a half an hour walk he would be covering the kind of distance of a dog walking for 2 hours! Then the sharp braking and turning to grab the ball is where damage to the cruciate ligament can occur. Trouble is, chasing balls can be habit forming. It starts the adrenalin rushing and the pup does not even notice it's getting tired so it keeps going long after it should stop.
Certainly no ball chasing for the time being. Lets see if there is any damage first. Then if all is ok, rather that distance toss the ball into cover so he has to use his nose and brain to find it. Get him sitting quietly beside you and keep him there while you toss the ball. Then when it's landed send him for it. Make a training exercise out of it. Personally I prefer to us a gundog dummy rather than a ball because it stops where it lands rather than bouncing. Have a look at the vid below. Chloe was about the age of your dog at that time.

 

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Thank you John for your helpful reply, and for the video. I'll keep our pup resting now and no more ball throwing as you suggest. I'll keep an eye on the limp and see how the resting serves it. I'm reflecting on how the things we humans assume are good things to do with our dogs may not be kind in the long run for them.
 

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People think, because Labradors are gundogs that they run for miles, when in fact nothing is further than the truth. Most of the day my dogs would be sat quietly beside me waiting for the beaters to come through. Then a few minutes retrieving, walking at heel to the next drive then sitting waiting for the beaters again, as my Amy in the photo below. Patience is their biggest virtue!

26255
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
People think, because Labradors are gundogs that they run for miles, when in fact nothing is further than the truth. Most of the day my dogs would be sat quietly beside me waiting for the beaters to come through. Then a few minutes retrieving, walking at heel to the next drive then sitting waiting for the beaters again, as my Amy in the photo below. Patience is their biggest virtue!

View attachment 26255

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Thank you, that's very interesting. Great photo too.
 

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Hi, I don’t want to alarm you but I got my first puppy in 2005 after having older rescues. I made the mistake of over exercising him and he developed elbow dysplasia and in older age arthritis. He got lots of support through his life including hydrotherapy, acupuncture plus the necessary drugs. He lived until he was 14 but with a limp. I have recently got a new puppy, now aged 5 months, and have adopted the 5 minute rule, i.e. 5 minutes of exercise per 1 month of age. I really hope that your puppy recovers and that you’ve caught it in time but if not it can still develop into a happy dog with a long life ahead of it. Even people who don’t over exercise their puppies still get problems with joint issues in their labs so don’t beat yourself up. Unfortunately it’s one of the health issues of Labradors. Good luck.
 

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Hi, I don’t want to alarm you but I got my first puppy in 2005 after having older rescues. I made the mistake of over exercising him and he developed elbow dysplasia and in older age arthritis. He got lots of support through his life including hydrotherapy, acupuncture plus the necessary drugs. He lived until he was 14 but with a limp. I have recently got a new puppy, now aged 5 months, and have adopted the 5 minute rule, i.e. 5 minutes of exercise per 1 month of age. I really hope that your puppy recovers and that you’ve caught it in time but if not it can still develop into a happy dog with a long life ahead of it. Even people who don’t over exercise their puppies still get problems with joint issues in their labs so don’t beat yourself up. Unfortunately it’s one of the health issues of Labradors. Good luck.
Thank you Bob for your reply, much appreciated. It's important for me to know what can happen as a result of over exercise, so thank you for being honest about that. I just hope that, given the over exercise hasn't been going on for more than two months, that he will make a good recovery. If you don't mind me asking, how long roughly was the period you think you were over exercising your first Lab?
 

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Hi, I can’t remember exactly, I just remember from the time of his 2nd injection when he could start going out, I took him on some quite long walks. That was until my brother put me right. Of course there were not the web blogs and information then. Probably until he was 9-10 months old.
 

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Sometimes, even when you don't over do the walking you could tear your hair out with the way they run around and throw themselves about. My now 13 1/2 year old was a nutter as a puppy, I was certain she wouldn't have good hips and elbows, but when I had her tested she came back with 0/0 hips and elbows.

Were your pups parents health tested at all? And do you know what his estimated breeding value is? That's not directly to do with breeding from him, but the probability of good/poor hips/elbows, which is calculated on the Kennel Club website using data from his past relatives
 

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I think the Estimated Breed Value on the KC's "mate select" web page is probably the best guide to the future hips and elbows of a dog. I'm not happy with the way it's implemented, but that's a personal thing and does not detract from the value of the information contained.
 

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Hi, I can’t remember exactly, I just remember from the time of his 2nd injection when he could start going out, I took him on some quite long walks. That was until my brother put me right. Of course there were not the web blogs and information then. Probably until he was 9-10 months old.
Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.
 

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Sometimes, even when you don't over do the walking you could tear your hair out with the way they run around and throw themselves about. My now 13 1/2 year old was a nutter as a puppy, I was certain she wouldn't have good hips and elbows, but when I had her tested she came back with 0/0 hips and elbows.

Were your pups parents health tested at all? And do you know what his estimated breeding value is? That's not directly to do with breeding from him, but the probability of good/poor hips/elbows, which is calculated on the Kennel Club website using data from his past relatives
Thank you very much for your reply. Interesting to hear about yours as a nutter puppy and how things turned out! I'll check out his background as advised.
 
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