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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

we pick up our 8 week old puppy next Saturday (I can't forget as my 11 year old daughter brings it up every 2 hours:ROFLMAO:) and have a quick question about walking.

I have heard for every month it's 5 minutes of walking? I just want to make sure as I don't want to over walk the puppy either.

With an adult labrador how much walking are you doing a day?

Thanks :)
 

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Arr yes. The 5 minute rule. I happened to notice a post on the net a short while ago quoting me as the originator of it. I replied thus.

Let me tell you about the 5 minute rule, and how it came into being. There has always been the question about how much exercise a puppy needs, balancing muscle development against the risks of joint damage. Going back probably 30 years one of the first general dog forums was Champdogs and at the time I was posting on there. (Champdogs is still in being, though I’ve not posted on there for nigh on 20 years.) I also used to go on an American working gundog site, and the question of exercise also came up on there, and one person wrote, “I give 5 minutes exercise for every month of age.” And I thought, “What an elegant solution!” steadily increasing exercise as muscle develops, developing the muscles in a controlled way. Next time the question arose on Champdogs I quoted it calling it “The 5 minute rule” So I never invented the idea, but I did coin the phrase.

But what does that entail? When a puppy is trotting around the garden it can stop at any time, crash out and sleep. There is nothing wildly exciting in the garden, nothing it’s not seen a hundred times before. So the pup is not over stimulated, no reason why it should not stop for a rest. That is NOT part of the 5 minutes per month.

But now look at going out for a walk. The lead goes on and you and your pup start walking. However tired the pup gets it has no choice but to keep going for as long as you do. Add to that the adrenalin rush, he’s out in the big wide world, new sights and sounds, new scents to sniff, he wont even be thinking about feeling tired, a puppy in new surroundings is likely to continue on long after it should stop. So don’t rely on pup telling you it’s tired because it won’t. It’s YOUR responsibility to take charge, to control the situation.

To me, particularly in the early days the exercise period is also the training period, and that training includes heel training, obviously, and also sit stays. But while the dog is sitting quietly it’s not exercising, so thats not part of the 5 minutes. Also I like to sit on a seat in the park, or maybe a fallen tree, with my pup sitting or laying beside me watching the world pass by. It’s still training, it’s training patience! Something young pups are not endowed with, so all good practise, but again it’s not physically tiring so not part of the 5 minutes. We none of us want our dogs to be hooligans, but during the walk it’s likely I’ll meet other dog walkers so we will stop for a chat, another great training opportunity, We can talk with my pup sitting quietly beside me, so again it’s not doing anything so again it’s not part of the 5 minutes. This also gives me time to sum up the other person’s dog and decide whether it’s going to be ok to allow them to have a little hoolie. (But of course that IS part of the 5 minutes!) Keep the training light, make it fun and your pup wont even realise that it is training. All in all, for a 3 month old puppy I would be looking at 15 minutes of exercise, but that 15 minutes will probably take me between 30 and 45 minutes!

And that was the 5 minute rule, envisaged by me when I coined the phrase all those years ago. It was never meant to be a hard and fast regimented rule, just guidelines to give the inexperienced owner something to work to. You can probably do this twice a day with no ill effects, providing there is a decent resting period, and if you happen to do a little much in the morning, then cut the afternoon walk down a little to balance it off.
 

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With an adult labrador how much walking are you doing a day?
With an adult the options are up to you. Most days mine get around an hour, but if I'm pushed for time they will happily settle for half an hour. On the other hand, when working we would start the first drive at around 9-30am and finish at around 4pm. (3-30 during the shortest winter days.) But in fact that 6 hours is not all working. Much of it is standing with my dog sitting beside me waiting for the beaters so come through the drive, as in the photo below. But whatever you do, work up to the longer periods. Think human, you would not consider running a marathon if the furthest you had ever run was a 100 meter sprint!

Dog Plant Carnivore Dog breed Tree
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks John, really helpful (again (y)).

Fully understand the human side, used to be big into biking then got into weight lifting 15 years ago and gained a bit too much (stopped the biking). 2 years ago I got back into mountain biking / more walking as well and shifted almost 5 stone now. I would have never have done the bike rides I do now 2 years ago.

I would not bring a labrador with me on a mountain bike ride (I feel this would cause to much pressure on there joints?) but regular walks I will :)
 

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In the days when I was racing I started weight training. Big mistake! I slipped doing a clean and jerk with 170lbs on the bar, went over backwards and broke my arm. Missed several races while it was healing. This was my friend with his Greeves and my Cotton, in the paddock at Brill, around mid 1960's. (I'm on the other end of the camera.)

Wheel Tire Vehicle Land vehicle Photograph
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In the days when I was racing I started weight training. Big mistake! I slipped doing a clean and jerk with 170lbs on the bar, went over backwards and broke my arm. Missed several races while it was healing. This was my friend with his Greeves and my Cotton, in the paddock at Brill, around mid 1960's. (I'm on the other end of the camera.)
Ouchy. Also a big fan of motorsport here :D Oulton park is my local, I usually combine it with my photography hobby but havn't gone much recently. (used to go almost every Saturday).

Being a type 1 diabetic and for doing it 15 years i've stuck to it to keep active. Aim is to keep the calories down so I shift some more fat (better for the mountain bike). The lab will defo be a good walking buddy, just want to make sure I do it properly and the right way for the labrador. I read they like mental stimulation too so I may need to hide a few things out in the woods for her to find, haha. (Will look into that side of things more)
 

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Only went to Oulton Park once. If we never had a race at the weekend and being more in the south of the country we mainly went to Brands Hatch, Silverstone or Mallory Park. But for ourselves, we raced in the area from the south coast to Market Harbour in the north.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Only went to Oulton Park once. If we never had a race at the weekend and being more in the south of the country we mainly went to Brands Hatch, Silverstone or Mallory Park. But for ourselves, we raced in the area from the south coast to Market Harbour in the north.
Watched the British touring car championship final a few years back at Brands hatch. Been to Silverstone a few times including the Silverstone classic event :) Never been to Mallory Park though.
 

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Really now, the bikes have grown too fast for Mallory park.

My claim to fame, I raced against Ross McLaren, Bruce McLaren of F1 fame's younger brother. I must admit, I saw him at the start, but that was the only time! Lets face it, you dont come all the way from New Zealand to play around!
 

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My Ben is 4 now, we do a lot of rambling / hiking at the weekend so he is out for the day with us. He will happily walk 8 - 10 miles with breaks, equally will be happy with 2 half hour walks a day if I'm busy. The key is as others have said, to build up to it, when I first started walking I was lucky to be able to manage a couple of miles now I can walk all day. The same goes for Ben, we worked up to it building his stamina and fitness over time. Of course its not continuous walking we stop and start enjoying the scenery he stops for an interesting smell and so on.
 

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Arr yes. The 5 minute rule. I happened to notice a post on the net a short while ago quoting me as the originator of it. I replied thus.

Let me tell you about the 5 minute rule, and how it came into being. There has always been the question about how much exercise a puppy needs, balancing muscle development against the risks of joint damage. Going back probably 30 years one of the first general dog forums was Champdogs and at the time I was posting on there. (Champdogs is still in being, though I’ve not posted on there for nigh on 20 years.) I also used to go on an American working gundog site, and the question of exercise also came up on there, and one person wrote, “I give 5 minutes exercise for every month of age.” And I thought, “What an elegant solution!” steadily increasing exercise as muscle develops, developing the muscles in a controlled way. Next time the question arose on Champdogs I quoted it calling it “The 5 minute rule” So I never invented the idea, but I did coin the phrase.

But what does that entail? When a puppy is trotting around the garden it can stop at any time, crash out and sleep. There is nothing wildly exciting in the garden, nothing it’s not seen a hundred times before. So the pup is not over stimulated, no reason why it should not stop for a rest. That is NOT part of the 5 minutes per month.

But now look at going out for a walk. The lead goes on and you and your pup start walking. However tired the pup gets it has no choice but to keep going for as long as you do. Add to that the adrenalin rush, he’s out in the big wide world, new sights and sounds, new scents to sniff, he wont even be thinking about feeling tired, a puppy in new surroundings is likely to continue on long after it should stop. So don’t rely on pup telling you it’s tired because it won’t. It’s YOUR responsibility to take charge, to control the situation.

To me, particularly in the early days the exercise period is also the training period, and that training includes heel training, obviously, and also sit stays. But while the dog is sitting quietly it’s not exercising, so thats not part of the 5 minutes. Also I like to sit on a seat in the park, or maybe a fallen tree, with my pup sitting or laying beside me watching the world pass by. It’s still training, it’s training patience! Something young pups are not endowed with, so all good practise, but again it’s not physically tiring so not part of the 5 minutes. We none of us want our dogs to be hooligans, but during the walk it’s likely I’ll meet other dog walkers so we will stop for a chat, another great training opportunity, We can talk with my pup sitting quietly beside me, so again it’s not doing anything so again it’s not part of the 5 minutes. This also gives me time to sum up the other person’s dog and decide whether it’s going to be ok to allow them to have a little hoolie. (But of course that IS part of the 5 minutes!) Keep the training light, make it fun and your pup wont even realise that it is training. All in all, for a 3 month old puppy I would be looking at 15 minutes of exercise, but that 15 minutes will probably take me between 30 and 45 minutes!

And that was the 5 minute rule, envisaged by me when I coined the phrase all those years ago. It was never meant to be a hard and fast regimented rule, just guidelines to give the inexperienced owner something to work to. You can probably do this twice a day with no ill effects, providing there is a decent resting period, and if you happen to do a little much in the morning, then cut the afternoon walk down a little to balance it off.
But, it is now in global use and is amazing guidance. We tell our Buyers much the same as you wrote here. It is just a "rule of thumb" to remember along with all the million other things we do to protect the puppy from stress's and injury and becoming over-tired/stimulated. It gives them a foundation to build upon. So, thank you!
 

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How long to exercise a dog was a regular question years ago. I can understand how confusing it was for somebody with their first dog. But with so many things, the "Five minute rule" gets handed around by word of mouth and over time bits get added to, or lost in the telling.

There is a story about WW1. At that time radio was in it's infancy, and field telephones often went down when a shell landed close to the wire. So runners were use to carry messages between the front line and command. On this particular occasion a runner arrived at Brigade HQ with a message, "Send 3/4 pence we are going to a dance." The Brigadier was furious and decided to go up to the front line to see what nonsense was going on! When he arrived there he found the troops lined up with their rifles ready to go over the top and the Captain informed him in words of one syllable of the correct version of the message, "Send reinforcements we are going to advance!" This is the problem with anything passed on word of mouth. It changes. One reason why, when I saw what the vet had written on his website that I took the opportunity to post exactly what I meant when I originally coined the phrase.

What I attempted to do at the time was to come up with an easy to follow piece of advice which anyone could follow. OK, it might not, (was not) the best possible advice, but it was the simplest, and not likely to do any harm, which was why it caught on the way it did. In fact, at 12 weeks old, for the first few times out, 15 minutes might be a little long and from 7 or 8 months you could probably do a little more without any ill effects. But how on earth do you write that as an easily understandable, easy to follow "Rule" for a first time owner? And if you did I'm betting it would have been forgotten many years ago!
 
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