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I am the new owner of a 10 month old Vizsla named Ziggy. I am also an avid runner. I have had him for about 3 weeks. I have read quite a few posts about running/exercising the breed. I have heard recommendations to not run them until they are 12 months, 18 months, even 2 years. Yet a lot of off leash running/exercise is recommended.

Is there any research indicating that running is harmful if they have not reached skeletal maturity? I have read a lot of people stating it will damage growth plates, etc., but no real research or data supporting the claims.

I have been cautious with Ziggy running anywhere from 1-4 miles at a time. I should say I am running. He can keep up with me with a light trot. I do 90% of the running on dirt roads/trails. I have kept him on leash most of the time. Mostly because I want him to be well trained on the leash. Once I have him well trained on the leash and more time with him the plan is to do mostly off leash running. He has done pretty well on or off leash; i.e. he stays pretty close and comes when called. He shows no signs of fatigue after 3-4 miles. I run early in the morning and it is temps are reasonably cool even in the summer.

So I have two questions. If he is off leash can I run with him longer even at a young age? I make sure he has access to water to drink/cool off. On leash if we stay on softer surfaces what distance is OK? Thanks for your replies. I have learned a tremendous amount on the forums already.
 

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Run. He's your dog.

I think we get over protective. Vizslas should be robust dogs.

At 10 months old, you have a "teenager."

If you have a strong-bred Vizsla he should be able to out run you.

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2010/08/promoting-vizsla-as-high-class-bird-dog.html

Vizslas were bred to run up ahead of hunters on horseback all day long.

Question for you:
Do you have a strong Vizsla?

If he is off leash can I run with him longer even at a young age?

He should want to stay ahead of you. If he is anything like my two, he will find a shady spot to lie down in if he gets too hot.

On leash if we stay on softer surfaces what distance is OK?
When he starts to lag.

Run Ziggy Run.

Welcome to the forum. Others might have a different view. That is the nice part of being in a forum.

Rod
http://redbirddog.blogspot.com
 

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Thanks Rod. I already have two teenage daughters!

I have been reading your posts and your blog and appreciate your response/recommendations. I don't hunt but love to spend hours in the hills trail running and hiking. I look forward to spending many of those hours with Ziggy. He loves to run that is for sure. After only 2-3 weeks with us, he runs and sits at the front door when he sees me getting my running shoes on.

Thanks,

another Rod
 

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my only hesitation is from a couple in my running group who had a problem with their dog because of running him too early. The circumstances may be different, but they were advising me to wait even though they never do with their labs (so far they've only had a problem with one dog). I will probably see them tonight so I'll ask for details. I think a definite plus is that you're running your dog at 10 mos as opposed to a very young pup.
 

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laurita said:
my only hesitation is from a couple in my running group who had a problem with their dog because of running him too early. The circumstances may be different, but they were advising me to wait even though they never do with their labs (so far they've only had a problem with one dog). I will probably see them tonight so I'll ask for details. I think a definite plus is that you're running your dog at 10 mos as opposed to a very young pup.
Thanks laurita. I would be interested to hear more details. What age was your dog when you started running with him/her?
 

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Hi,
My vizsla male is 8.5 mos old. Admittedly, I ran him a few times at a young age on a trail because I didn't know any different and we had such a blast together. He was awesome at running by my side and when I would stop for breaks, his tail would be wagging like crazy and I'd get a few licks. I stopped running with him on a leash right away and let him run around off-leash as much as he wanted as long as it wasn't on concrete. Once fall really sets in here in texas, I'm going to run with him casually on trails until he's older but I don't plan on doing more than 3 miles while he's under a year.

I'm not sure that there are quantifiable answers to your original questions-- it's just sort of trial and error.
 

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I run with my 6 month old, last month we got lost and walked for 4 hours to get out of the woods and the next day our V wanted more.
Sam likes to run beside me. I tried to make him run in front and pull me but he keeps looking back and wants to settle beside me. Once he starts lagging behind, I know I have to stop....usually it means he is bored and wants to sniff around.

http://www.urbanmushers.ca/urbanmushers/Canicross.html
 

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10 months? GO! That dog will wear you out before you wear it out.

TAZ is 5 months and for the pasts 3 weeks (cooler temp.s) I have been running her 3 miles 3 times a weeks (never 2 days in a row). at six months I may up it a little. The dog is not holding me back-me knee is.

I understand that a 6 month old is required to do some extensive running at trails.

Point is - ease the dog into run as you would a rookie runner.
 

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My vet told me that you can start, just go at their pace. Start slow and work up to longer distance so his body can adjust. If he is behind you he is done and you need to adjust. They ow best to what they can take.
 

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I don't even have my vizsla boy yet, but one of the breeders sent me this link as a recommended exercise program. She referred to waiting until the growth plates have closed.

http://www.exercisemydog.com/puppies-and-exercise-probably-not/

On wikipedia (which I know can be unreliable) it says the following about hip displaysia.

"The causes of hip dysplasia are considered heritable, but new research conclusively suggests that environment also plays a role. To what degree the causality is genetic and what portion environmental is a topic of current debate. Environmental influences would include overweight condition, injury at a young age, overexertion on hip joint at a young age, ligament tear at a young age, repetitive motion on forming joint (i.e. jogging with puppy under the age of 1 year). As current studies progress, greater information will help provide procedures to effectively reduce the occurrence of this condition."

You could probably find other studies if you search a little harder. Pre-having the doggy, I say we will do off leash and soft surface walks (maybe jogs). I already know its going to be tempting and can't say for sure what the final decision will be!
 

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I run with my boy and have done since he was 9 months old with no adverse effect.

In fact if he doesnt go out for a run he gets to chew on anything he can as hes frustrated.

I use a harness which goes around my chest and shoulders as a X and attach the lead to the central part of the X and Ben pulls me along when I get tired!! It improves my running posture and speed by about 1mph.
We go every day for 1 - 11/2 hours anything from 6 to 9 miles and he could go on for much much much more!!

Good luck with your running.
 

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I tried waiting til 18 months with Kobi, but really I only made it about 14 months before I decided to start. We had a small break when I was tapering for my marathon, but we're running again now. Usually he's doing about 20-25 a week. Most of the times we go out we run 7 miles, about a 6:40-7:00 pace... yeah these dogs can run fast! I'll probably have him up to 40+ a week before too long.

Forgot to add: A 7 mile run will make him behave, but it won't wear him out. If we hold a steady 6:40ish pace the entire run he might lag a little near the end. This morning he was pretty strong the whole time.
 

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Kobi said:
I tried waiting til 18 months with Kobi, but really I only made it about 14 months before I decided to start. We had a small break when I was tapering for my marathon, but we're running again now. Usually he's doing about 20-25 a week. Most of the times we go out we run 7 miles, about a 6:40-7:00 pace... yeah these dogs can run fast! I'll probably have him up to 40+ a week before too long.

Forgot to add: A 7 mile run will make him behave, but it won't wear him out. If we hold a steady 6:40ish pace the entire run he might lag a little near the end. This morning he was pretty strong the whole time.

This is how Kona works too. 7 or 8 miles at my pace (which is fairly slow due to some injuries) simply makes her act like a normal dog...7 or 8 miles, playing with her neighborhood dog friends for about 2 hours,and chewing on her elk antler for about 2 more hours wears her out.
 

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I have been running with my V since he was about 10 months now he is two. He was my training buddy for a half Marathon and also goes Cross Country Skiing. We have had no side effects and when he see me get my running shoes on he goes crazy. He runs both on and off leash.
 

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Kobi is right about the on leash running making them behave, but it really only scratches the surface of their real energy level. I've run 8 miles on leash, 8 min pace, with my 18 mth old. Then, took him for a 2 hr hike, off leash. You would think he would've dropped after that, but not a chance. We've been running with the 18 mth old since he was 12 mths, but we have an 8 mth old who we run with on the trails sometimes, off leash. If I walk on the trails with her, she runs in front of me anyway, so I run to keep up! We just started jogging on the trails with her, though, when she reached 8 mths. Our vet said a lot of people start running with their dogs at 7 mths, which he felt was ok, but is up to you.
 

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Been taking my 7 mnth old V for 3 mile runs for the past month. These are pretty light jogs (about 8-9 min miles) and for a majority of the time we are on soft ground. I should probably be in the clear on this, right? Been hearing that jogging with a puppy damages growth plates and ligaments, but he's already a strong, robust dog. Also, with winter settling in too, I want to get as much exercise with him before it's way too cold for him.
 

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I would be reluctant to run a puppy so young. I wouldn't start running a pup for any sustained mileage till they are at least 14-18 months old. Certainly not 3 mile runs. Think about how your V plays. They don't do it continously. They run, wrestle, roll, run, jump, rest.

As for the cold, trust me, they won't care. If you are worried, by pup booties and a jacket. There are loads available. But honestly, if your running them next winter, they won't notice the cold.
 

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Ozkar, in an earlier post I mentioned taking my 8 mth old, just turned 8 mths, on trail runs. She does run ahead, stop, sniff things, walk around, wait for me and then when I finally catch up she sprints ahead and goes through the whole routine again. When I run on the trails, it is more like a light jog and she would be running around the same amount as if I just walked. I did not take my first V, who is now 18 mth, running on leash, on the road until he was over a year old. After talking with the vet and the breeder, we felt that the trail "jogging" was ok until she is a year old. I should've clarified what I meant by "running" with her.
 

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I'm glad I found this thread, I'd be interested in hearing other people's opinions.

We've been holding off from bringing our 8 month old with us for on-leash jogging, trying to be patient enough to wait until she's 1 year or more. However, this past week, we started swapping one of her twice-a-day walks for a trip to an off-leash park instead (we still use the other walk to practice polite leash walking -- a work in progress :) ).

At the off-leash park, we have been encouraging her to run as much as possible (trying to squeeze in as much exercise as we can in the hour before work, or the time between work and dusk). Which means she ends up spending large chunks of time at the park pretty much full-out sprinting: sprinting to retrieve the Chuck-it, sprinting to practice recall (over and over), or sprinting around chasing/finding us as we pretend to hide. Realistically, the off-leash running is at a much faster pace then what I would be doing if I were taking her along for a jog (which probably would not be much more than a trot to her long legs). After thinking about it, now I'm a bit concerned that the exercise I have been encouraging at the park might be too high-impact to her little growth-plates. Should I back off on playing all these sprinting games with her? I could just walk around the park while she sniffs and explores in a more low-key way (but the trade off is the whole "a tired puppy is a good puppy" deal). She always seems so eager to continue playing and never quits or slows down at the park, but I certainly don't want to be hurting her. Do you think I am missing the point of "avoid taking her for jogs to protect her growth-plates", but then turning around and encouraging too much off-leash sprinting? Or will she self-regulate and avoid over-activity naturally (seems unlikely with how driven she can be during fetch and "find me" games...)?

Any thoughts?
 

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