.but please .... not too much .... too soon.
Never more than five minutes per day for each month of  its age.
A 4 month old puppy should be limited to 20 minutes daily free running

To understand why we say this, we need to have a very quick look at bone and joint growth and development in puppies - particularly those of larger dogs like Labradors.

  • A puppy bones / joints don’t fully set  until they’re at least 12 months old.

  • Until the bones have fully hardened - the hip and elbow joints will not fully set.

  • Until this happens, any over exercise of these joints, will result in a loose and irregular fit.

  • Even though both parents may have excellent hip / elbow scores, it’s still very possible for a puppy to develop hip / elbow dysplasia - caused by over exercise.

  • There’s no real cure for this - and at best - will result in painful arthritis.

Read that again - please - it’s important!

Let’s have a look at how you can help prevent this tragedy happening to your puppy.

  • For the first couple of months, an 4ft x 4ft “solid concrete” based outside pen is more than

        enough to provide plenty of room for sun-bathing / playing and free exercise.

         The  arrangement on the right is made from a disused guinea pig run.

         It's nicely protected from the weather and ideal for those first few months.

  • Alternatively - and during the summer months - a pen made up of
    “exterior” quality panels - plugging into a “flat” lawn is fine.

        To try to save your lawn, you’ll need to pick a new site each day.
        Having said that, the best arrangement that 
I’ve found is a good puppy pen. 
        It’s “self contained” and can easily be moved in and out 
of the house. 
        It comes with a removable and washable floor - very helpful!
        If you’ve ever tried cleaning puppy ”poo” off a lawn or 
a concrete floor

        or patio, you’ll fully appreciate the advantage of that.

  • At 3 months, start daily walks on a “non-extending”lead.
    Find a good “firm” surface like a road.
    Start with about 100 yards, gradually building up the
    distance to, at 6 months, about 300 yards. 

  • This provides an opportunity to introduce your dog the outside
    world of traffic, people and the general noises of everyday life.

  • If a car approaches, kneel and gently “re-assure” your puppy.

  • Look at life from its level - a large and noisy “animal - type - thing” is rushing towards it! 
    Apart from being loving, it helps to establish you as a caring “Pack Leader”.

  • If - when out walking - your puppy stops and sits down, you’ve almost certainly overdone it and will need to be carried home.

  • Never allow your puppy free running with an older dog - it will try to keep up! 
    By all means let them meet and play for 4 or 5 minutes, but keep it within the pen or a small confined area - under your ever watchful eye - see

  • There’s nothing worse for and elbows than allowing a puppy to run up and down stairs.
    If you really want it upstairs, carry it up - and down again. 
    Speaking frankly - I would avoid them altogether - until it’s at least 2 years old

  • At 6 months, free running should be moderate at first, 20 minutes per day, on that “ firm” surface. Swimming is good exercise - be careful about how it gets in  and out of the water.
    Steep, muddy banks are definitely “not good”.

  • At 9 months,remembering all that we’ve said so far, the combination of walks on the lead and free running can build up to 30 minutes /  1 mile ...on a good “ firm” surface.

  • If you can do all these things - then at 12-15 months your young dog should be healthy, fully developed, and, with proper training, will happily travel much further than you’d dream of.
    It'll love it - and come back for more.

We can’t over-stress the importance of being very careful for that first year!

Just in passing .......

  • Never allow your dog to remain cold and wet  after a swim or walk in the rain.

  • Towel dry as best you can, not forgetting the ears (be gentle with the insides) and the tail.

  • Never allow your dog to have vigorous exercise - just before or after a meal.
     You or I would get indigestion - it could be fatal for your dog.

  • Up until it’s 15 months old, don’t allow it to jump up or down from the back of the car .
    It’s bad for its hips and elbows.

"PUPPY CARE"                "BACK TO TOP"                  "OLDER DOGS"

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