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How do I know if Willoughby is over doing things and causing more damage to his elbows?
We went for a walk with some friends and their young spaniel and Willoughby was hoolying about. Our friend kept throwing a ball and Willoughby was always first to it and bring it back. We haven't done any retrieving since his ED diagnosis so I was worried he would hurt himself. He first started limping after falling down a hill while playing with the same spaniel last spring. My OH seems to think I was being overprotective when I stopped him chasing around so much.
I've been watching him closely today and there is no signs of a limp or any increased discomfort in his legs, in fact he's been dropping toys infront of me most of the day wanting me to play.
I don't want to spoil his fun but worry in case he starts limping again.
 

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It is very hard But the worst thing to put pressure on is running after a ball as it involves sudden turns and stopping sharply. I must admit I would let him run with his friend BUT I would ask that the ball be left at home when you go out together.
 

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I do NO TOYS thrown rule on land with Luna and put her on lead if it's too hard for people to do after a couple of retrieves. The couple of times that I've allowed her to play fetch in the last couple of years sadly it has ended up with her resting up for weeks or on meds. The older she has got the less I can let my rule slip. Land retrieving is a real treat and it used to be something she adored - absolutely adored!!

She gets as much retrieving as she wants in the water whether it involves swimming or not as the water slows her. On land she doesn't brake properly and throws herself on the floor to stop. I've found over the years with Luna her adrenaline can push her well into the 'ignore pain threshold', retrieving keeps her adrenaline high and makes her ignore her body's warnings, removing retrieves makes her more careful.

Over-protective maybe but 10-20mins of land-retrieving fun prevents all the other things she adores... GTs, training, daily loons in fields, agility and woods, even swimming.... for a good few weeks/months. Her life is a balance and sometimes that balance feels mean or over-protective but hey ho! I do my best and she forgives me!

I'd never tell anyone how to take care of their dog in this situation as it is all about weighing things up for that individual dog and the life it lives. I will just share my experiences and empathise with the difficult decisions and balancing act you face!
 

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I don't think you are being overprotective, my Murphy has severe ED and the first thing I did after he was diagnosed was stop letting him chase after toys - he still likes to carry them and I let him have the occasional controlled retrieve as a treat but not all the time as the twisting and turning, skidding to a halt etc is one of the worst things for his joints.

I would hide the toy instead and get him to find it, Murphy loves playing that game and its much easier on the joints as they're not tearing about relentlessly. It works the brain too!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, shown OH your replies and agreed to put up a united front next time re guarding Willoughby chasing balls. I was made to feel a real meanie spoiling the fun.
We normally only let him retrieve in water and have been doing more controlled exercise doing an occasional marked retrieve where he isn't running and twisting.
When he's running about with other dogs people find it hard to believe that he has anything wrong with his legs and that I was just being a bit of a nag over it all. Hopefully by us continuing to be careful we can keep him limp and pain free.
 

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I'm proud that people can't believe Luna has problems, she seems pretty keen to prove the 'mildly disabled' diagnosis wrong! I figure she'd be a para-Olympian or similar if human! LONG MAY IT CONTINUE for Loon and Willoughby!! :D
 
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