How exciting is it when you get a new performance puppy and all the things you've learn since your last puppy are just bursting our of your brain ready to put into practice!
But steady on my friend! Puppies are delicate, their growth plates aren't closed until 14-22 months depending on breed type and whether they are desexed, so treating them likean adult during this time is going to lead tears further on down the track.
"But they do worse on their own" - that's not a rationale for training and physically interacting with a puppy/young dog as an adult. And, it's typically not a true statement either - what a dog does on its own and what you ask a dog to do are 2 different things mentally and physically, so let's pop that excuse away.
As outlined by Dr Chris Zink, Sports Medicine expert, we first have to understand they simply are not as strong as adults, they have softer bones, weaker muscles and the thing that gets them into a lot of trouble is poor co-ordination.
Inappropriate exercise as a baby can contribute to medical challenges such as hip & elbow dysplasia, osteoarthritis & bone deformities.
❓𝗦𝗼 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝘀𝗻'𝘁 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗽𝘂𝗽𝗽𝘆?
📌Being a jogging partner
📌Running along side a bike
📌Weight pull/weight vests
📌Strength training unless over 6 months
📌Flyball jumps or box turns
📌Agility jumps (height dependent), wraps, weaves & contact equipment
- No full height jumping until growth plate closure.
- Agility groundwork "foundations" can occur from 8 weeks but that doesn't include wrapping, 2 on/2 off contacts, repetitive actions etc.
- Jump training - no jumps above the wrist up until 4 months.
- Jump training at or below the elbow from 6 months.
- Jump training above elbow after growth plat closure.
- Weave pole training after growth plate closure.
Although these dogs can compete at 12 months, ideally they would not be jumping until around 14 months months and no box turns until growth plate closure. This sport definitely needs minimum age reassessment.
✅𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲𝗱?
Your Vet can check them on x-ray when you have your dogs hips & elbows x-rayed at around 18 months of age before you head to your first trial. If you're not x-raying which I strongly advise you to do, then you would assume an entire dogs growth plates are closed at around 14 months and a de-sexed dog at around 22 months - small dogs can close younger - your Vet can guide you.
❓If you're ever unsure what is an isn't appropriate, check with a professional.
References: Dr Christine Zink, Avidog