Watch This First, Jog with the Pup Later

We have Animal Physiotherapist, Kirsten McAndrew of Physio Evolution to thank for sharing the video below on its Facebook page:

What you’re seeing is the Endochondral Ossification of the Elbow joint in the dog at age 1 week – 12 months.  As Kirsten writes: “Very interesting to see how your dog is still developing up to a year old. I hope this can help people understand how high impact or repetitive loading like jogging too early can damage the growth plates in your puppies joints, damaging the cells can stop or alter growth, this can lead to deformities in the bones and joints later leading to instability and degeneration. Bigger dogs mature much slower than smaller dogs so always speak to a Vet or a Vet Physio to see at what age for your breed specifically you can start to do higher intensity exercises with your dog.”

Good advice!

20 thoughts on “Watch This First, Jog with the Pup Later”

    • We’re sorry to hear that, Frances, but at least you know and can adjust your dog’s activities accordingly…

  1. Have a husky rottie cross as my service dog,he’s a year now,is it safe to use him if I loose balance not a lot of weight just to steady me

    • Gillian, we are probably the last people you should be asking this as we are not experienced in training service dogs. You should consult the folks who provided him to you, or one of the many fine service dog organizations.

  2. Hoekom raak my Boxer se regte been soms styf dan kan hy nie trap op daardie been voorpoot nêrens seer as jy daaraan vat…. Asb

    • Esther, Google Translate suggests you are writing in Afrikaans, and we THINK you’re asking why your Boxer’s right leg sometimes gets stiff to the extent that he can’t walk on it. We’re not veterinarians, Esther, and we doubt anyone could make a diagnosis from a distance. Your dog needs to be seen by a veterinarian.

  3. When we had a litter of puppies (labradors or aussies) we always emphasised to new owners that their new puppy should not have too much exercise – be it on lead or running around the garden – we advocated the “5 minute a month” rule – ie for a 3-month old pup no more than 15 minutes hard exercise a day, leadiing up to 30 minutes for a 6 month old pup et al. Needless to say, we never, ever bred from dogs which did not have excellent hip scores in the first place – and now 16 years on from our last lab litter, my old lady can still manage a (gentle) trot around the garden!

    • Thanks for writing about a good rule of thumb you have, Margot. It’s reasonable thinking and your old girl proves it!

      • Interesting as I recently posted on a canicross site the rule of thumb about exercise and got loads of grief about the 5 minutes per month being a load of rubbish. Surely better to be safe with this than push your dog too hard and do irreparable damage

        • Stand strong, Sam. You have it right in our opinion.

  4. I have a 1 year old border collie who is very high energy, i do want him to become my running partner and am so keen to start to run with him. I have resisted, and will not run with him untill he is 1.5years old. Still 6 months to wait but will be worth it!

    • Your patience will pay off, Becka, and your dog is lucky to have someone so conscientious. Well done, you.

  5. Hej!
    Har Bullmastiff uppfödning sedan 1995 och har alltid rekommenderat mina valp köpare att inte låta en sådan hund som Bullmastiff eller andra tunga raser att springa/jogga när dom inte är färdig växta. Har just nu en liten tik på 8 månader som jag kommer att vänta med jogging tills hon blivit 2 år och även att hon röntgas innan och detta gör jag enbart för hennes skull. Har sett dom hundar som har problem med höfterna och knäna och det är inte roligt eftersom dom har ont pga det. Hoppas alla som köper en hund av stor ras tar detta i sin beaktning❤

    • Hej, Juliana! Tack för att du skriver, Juliana, hörs av författare med förstahandsinformation är mycket uppskattat!

      For the benefit of readers who don’t have Google translate, Juliano writes, “Hey! Have Bullmastiff breeding since 1995 and have always recommended my puppy buyers not to let such a dog as Bullmastiff or other heavy breeds run / jog when they are not finished growing. Right now has a little bitch of 8 months that I will wait with jogging until she has been 2 years and also that she is x-rayed before and this I do only for her sake. Have seen the dogs who have problems with their hips and knees and it is not fun because they have been because of it. Hope everyone who buys a dog of great breed takes this into consideration ❤”

  6. I have a Newfoundland dog. When he was about 6 months old he started jumping up onto our bed and then would do a flying leap off of it. He was over a hundred pounds at that time. He would catch us when our guard was down and do this. We couldn’t keep him out of this area as we had other elderly animals that would go in this room. A few months later he had a lot of pain in his front end and discovered he had osteochondrosis dessicans in both shoulders but no mice were present only flattened bones. We rested him and the pain went away and has never returned. Could this deformity have been caused by the leaping off of our bed? He now is 4.75 years old and weighs a healthy 164 lbs. he is in no way overweight.

    • Hi Karen, we are probably the last people you should be asking about this because we’re not vets, or anything close to it. We can tell you what we DO know about osteochondritis dissecans, also known as OCD. No one, as far as we can tell, knows what exactly causes OCD, but it’s thought that a variety of factors can lead to it including genetics (it’s more prevalent in large breeds), nutrition (avoiding too much calcium in a growing puppies), rapid growth, and yes, trauma or stress to the joints. Maybe it’s even all of the above.

      Many vets think OCD is hereditary since there appears to be a genetic link between parents and offspring and the formation of the disease. Others think that a dog’s joints can be damaged by trauma, say, an injury to a dog’s surface cartilage that can cause a decrease in blood supply or lead to the separation of the cartilage from the bone. As for treatment, in some cases, surgery is called for, but many cases are resolved with intense rest. It sounds like your having done that helped your Newf, but now that you know that has been part of his history, you know to watch for it and be mindful of the kind of exercise he gets. We’re not sure we’ve really helped you, but it would be a disservice to blame you for his OCD when it may have had nothing to do with his jumping off the bed.

  7. Hi i have a 10 week old springer spaniel and want him to be my running partner. When should i start him running with me and how long should he run for. Any advice on building him up would be appreciated.

    • Hi Caroline, There are a lot of on-line sites to help guide you, and a quick overview of them points to several key points with which there is consensus:

      • Always consult your vet before starting out;

      • Don’t start a regular jogging routine until growth plates have closed, and when this happen differs between breeds. Most dogs are over 8 months old, but 12 months of age is probably the safest bet to avoid arthritis later. Use this time to introduce your pup to any situation likely to arise when you’ll running; Bicycles, car, strollers, other dogs, etc. Enroll in a training class so he’ll learn how to walk properly (and later run) on a leash without dislocating your shoulder;

      • Swimming is great, and daily short walks on a leash are safe, especially on soft ground or grassy areas. Avoid hard, repetitive movements because they increase the likelihood of injury to joints.

      • Many breeders suggest the five minute rule which is that puppies should have 5 minutes of organized exercise per day for every month of his age. So an 8 week old puppy should be getting 10 minutes a day. Dogs need to build up their endurance and muscles just like humans do, so when you do start running, start slow and build your dog’s fitness

      Here are some links we found that might be helpful:

      Hope this helps!

  8. Did mother dogs use a stop watch all those years? Definitely do not push your dog or have them carry a load.. but to stop a puppy playing on its own? They fall over and sleep when they are done with something..

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