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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    metro Atlanta, GA
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    8

    Another pet question (German Shepherd related)

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    We just became the proud adoptive parents of an approximately 7 month old German shepherd puppy. I have discovered she needs exercise - and lots of it LOL. Those 2 mile walks don't tire her out at all. I have enough orthopedic foot issues that I won't be walking much further than that - can she be trained to run alongside my bike? Anyone tried that? Pros or cons?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    434
    Yes, you can ride your bike with your dog. They have several devices out there on the market that can be attached to your bike so you can ride with both hands on the bike and don't have to worry about getting pulled over by your pet.

    http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/ (is one example)

    I would definitely train slowly and not go out for a 2 mile ride the very first time. I've seen a few people use these with some success. Others have problems because the dog wants to stop and sniff along the way and you either jerk on your dogs neck (I would probably use a harness with one of these) rather forcefully or your bike is pulled over and you fall off. Training is a definite must I would assume.

    You also have to keep in mind that a 7 month old GSD still has about 10 months of growing left to do (not all in height, but also in muscle mass). These guys are very prone to developing orthopedic disease, and while there is no consensus out there yet, making your dog run long distances on hard surfaces can lead to the development of arthritis and other trauma to the joints, just as in people. In most dogs, they don't even recommend letting him or her jump until it's reached it's full size and weight so as not to damage the shoulders, spine or knees.

    If you are having trouble keeping your puppy tired (and as everyone knows, a tired puppy is a well behaved puppy), considering getting some of those "smart" toys for dogs and letting your dog tire herself out by using her brain. The BusterCube, filling a kong with her dinner and freezing it, other treat-dispensing toys (just make sure she doesn't get so much food with this method she gains too much weight) can really workout a dog's brain and is an effective way to tire them out. Training sessions with the clicker (or other positive reinforcement technique) also help.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. HTH.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    california
    Posts
    290
    i am getting a puppy soon so have been reading everything i can find. a lot of people are saying it is better for puppies to get worn out with play where they can stop and rest often than with walks. this is for the reasons westtexas was saying. and i have heard the no jumping but does fetch with the ball low so not jumping to get it work? a lot of people i am talking to use fetch to tire their dogs out when they physically can't get as much exercise themselves. and also everything i have read says it is as important to get them mentally worn out as physically.
    Pi - 2010 Luna Orbit / brooks 68 imperial
    Fish - 2009 Marin Bear Valley/ brooks 68
    Trixie - BMX / to be decided

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    477
    Another great option, that helped me when my Lab was that age, is a dog park. They are great if you have one nearby. The dogs get to socialize ( very important) and run and play with other dogs. My Lab would come home and be tired after a romp at the local dog park. She is 11 now and doesn't run quite as much but, still enjoys going and seeing her dog buddies
    2012 Trek Lexa SL
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The Windy City
    Posts
    277
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek-chick View Post
    Another great option, that helped me when my Lab was that age, is a dog park. They are great if you have one nearby. The dogs get to socialize ( very important) and run and play with other dogs. My Lab would come home and be tired after a romp at the local dog park. She is 11 now and doesn't run quite as much but, still enjoys going and seeing her dog buddies
    I second this We take Snoopy to the dog park and he loves it, and it totally wipes him out. I drive 10 miles to the dog park, and people say "that is so far to go for a dog park", I say 'not really when you see how it benefits Snoopy'

    I also take him to doggie day care 2x a week. That helps with his socialization and exercise as well. I understand about the walks. I walk Snoopy for 3miles and it doesn't come near what the dog park will do for him. I have to walk him at least 6 for him to get tired. He's a 1.5yr Beagle, with LOTS of energy.

    I haven't tried the bike thing... maybe I will, not sure if I'm crazy about that, scares the begeezuz out of me.
    if you don't like sewing, you haven't found the right fabric

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The Windy City
    Posts
    277
    Quote Originally Posted by moonfroggy View Post
    i am getting a puppy soon so have been reading everything i can find. a lot of people are saying it is better for puppies to get worn out with play where they can stop and rest often than with walks. this is for the reasons westtexas was saying. and i have heard the no jumping but does fetch with the ball low so not jumping to get it work? a lot of people i am talking to use fetch to tire their dogs out when they physically can't get as much exercise themselves. and also everything i have read says it is as important to get them mentally worn out as physically.
    and with a puppy, you can't do long walks or runs until they are older. not good for their bones cause they are still developing. make sure you read about this before you get your pupp... alot of people don't realize that puppy's should not run ... running in the sense of running on a path with their owner, that type of thing... i'm not talking about run/playing type stuff
    if you don't like sewing, you haven't found the right fabric

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    california
    Posts
    290
    Quote Originally Posted by chicago View Post
    and with a puppy, you can't do long walks or runs until they are older. not good for their bones cause they are still developing. make sure you read about this before you get your pupp... alot of people don't realize that puppy's should not run ... running in the sense of running on a path with their owner, that type of thing... i'm not talking about run/playing type stuff
    yes i have read this and also at least for larger breeds no stairs, to carry dog up the stairs until she is to large to be carried.
    Pi - 2010 Luna Orbit / brooks 68 imperial
    Fish - 2009 Marin Bear Valley/ brooks 68
    Trixie - BMX / to be decided

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,193
    Neo, congratulations on your rescued gsd. These dogs are amazing and the rescues have a story to tell that they will share with you in the coming days. I have german shepherds--one of which is a rescue. I have trained mine to trot alongside my bike using a springy coupler and a Martingale type collar but they are also adults that are under voice command.

    You have a very active and inquisitive youngster on your hands. Since your puppy is only 7 months old I would limit exercise on pavement and other hard surfaces until after the age of 1 year due to the growth plates that could be injured by the impact on hard surfaces. I would also make sure your dog does not jump from heights at this stage. Taking the dog for a run on the sidewalk for several miles is something that I would not recommend at this stage; instead, find a big grassy, FENCED area and throw tennis balls. The fenced yard is important because you have a rescue that 1) may not be fully bonded with you, 2) may startle at loud noises such as a car backfiring and bolt, 3) may pick up a scent and ignore you completely whilst the dog happily trots away from you as you stand there helplessly calling her. I have found it imperative to use a non-slip type collar like a martingale on youngsters and especially rescues to keep them from slipping out of the collar and into the street. You don't want to experience the terrifying feeling of searching for a lost rescue. Later as the dog matures (usually around 1 1/2 years of age) you can take them for longer hikes, jogs, trots and throwing frisbee. NOTE: some gsds have hip dysplasia and some types of exercises are not recommended for them. Your vet can determine if your dog has hip dysplasia by taking an xray.

    German shepherds are very intelligent and know how to manipulate the owner so enrolling your adolescent in obedience training is highly recommended at this stage. It will teach you how to be the alpha, establish a bond with your dog and it allows you to interact with other dogs in a controlled, SAFE environment. Often dogs look forward to their class and can't wait to interact with their classmates! Kali's favorite friend was a golden retriever while Niki's friend was a special needs bassett hound. Look for a qualified instructor that offers positive reinforcement techniques. (Talk with your rescue and have them refer you to a trainer.) Some shepherds are soft correction, that is they are sensitive to course redirection and will react as if their feelings have been hurt and will cower and sulk. If yours is a soft correction type, please make sure that the instructor does not overcorrect your dog by jerking hard on the leash to force it into a down and stay. Your dog could face a big setback and develop trust issues as a result. Your dog wants to feel secure and if you can't provide that, the dog will find a means to fill that need--through aggression. Shepherds should never cower but present as confident, responsive, courageous dogs. I have 2 shepherds that are soft correction and I am able to manage them with just a few bites of their favorite, million dollar treat--chicken! I've also fostered high drive, crackhead, alpha types that needed firm handling with an experienced owner. (One foster went on to become a certified cadaver dog.) If your dog is soft correction, you will have an easier time handling the dog.

    Your adolescent will need to feel secure during this stage and it's important that you make sure you don't set up your dog to fail during this period. Taking a shepherd to a dog park is something that I have serious concerns about--especially for a young dog such as yours. If your dog encounters an alpha type and is forced into submission by the alpha dog, it could set up your dog later for cage and leash aggression. Also, german shepherds are prey driven and watching a small dog run free in the park is an invitation for a potential injury--and lawsuit--if you don't have control over your dog should the small dog get injured by yours.

    A good alternative for an active shepherd is an agility course. Again, make sure your dog's growth plates are mature enough before running an this course.

    German shepherds get a bad rap, as do rotties and pits, as being ferocious. I often take my girls for trots and walks on our street (leashed of course!) and I always get the same reaction--folks move waaay over when they see me coming. Niki and Kali both are very social and have their Basic Obedience and Canine Good Citizen. Still, they are always watching for any predator that could harm mom. It's their nature to protect and yours will too so take that into account whenever you enter an area where other dogs are, especially if they are unleashed. This is especially important should you start biking with your dog and it encounters an unleashed stray that charges up to you.

    I hope this helps and congratulations again on your new gsd. They are spectacular dogs and will provide you with memorable moments for years to come.
    Last edited by sundial; 03-27-2011 at 04:12 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,193
    Neo, I also want to add that crate training will help with destructive behavior. Your rescue will have a honeymoon period of about 2 weeks of being on it's best behavior and then you'll see the true colors emerge. If you have a crate the dog will have a safe, comfortable den environment to go to. My dogs use theirs when it's bedtime or when the dog is feeling unsure about the environment. I recommend the hard plastic airline type crate for active youngsters. Some dogs that were kenneled in the wire, collapsible crates were injured by pushing the head though the bottom corner of the locked door, getting trapped and suffocated as a result.

 

 

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