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Mom to Luna
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I have read lots of threads about WHEN you can start running with your Golden, but I am wondering how far I can go now that mine is old enough. I love to run (actually it's more of a jog - about 9.5 min/mile). I have jogged a little with my almost-two-year-old G.R. Luna. The farthest we have gone is about 3.5 miles. I have a couple questions: First, at this age would it be safe to slowly work her up to about 5 miles a couple times per week or is that WAY too far. Second, most of our jogging is on pavement in neighborhoods (asphalt). Does that change your answer to the first question? Her mom and dad both were evaluated to have "good to excellent" hips and elbows were normal (I don't think elbows have specific ratings). I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with this! I would hate for something to happen to Luna, but I would LOVE for her to be more of a running partner. It's much more fun with her!

-Linda
 

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I think it really depends on the climate you live in. At a fairly easy pace of 9.5 min/mile, the golden should be able to work up to 5 miles easy if its cold out. If its hot, not so much. Louie and I run about 4 miles in the mornings and he wants to play when we get back.
 

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Mom to Luna
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Little Louie. What do you consider "cold" out? I live in Seattle and would only do this with Luna if the temp were below about 60 degrees. She gets WAY too hot for that distance if it's warmer than that. Currently we've been jogging about 3.5 miles in about 45 or 50 degrees and she seems fine, but I was just wondering about the increase in distance. Everyone talks so much about hip problems that I tend to freak out. But, jogging keeps her weight down so that must be a benefit as far as hips go.

And to SeaMonster - Hey neighbor! And, you never know until you try! (but like the dog you have to work up to it...)
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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A guy in our class runs with his golden who is 2 yrs. He says he does 5 miles a day and trys to make it halfway on pavement and 1/2 on grass/dirt. He plans to increase when it gets cooler. I don't know about hips on his dog, but he (the dog, but the guy is cute too!) looks fantastic.

I too am not a runner, in fact at my age think it would kill me, but I love to watch others run. Since the goldens, I am walking two dogs seperately twice a day, but don't know if you can count Kye's pulling me down the road as a walk. Hummm, but I am getting a workout for sure and the pups seem happy.

I know we have some runners here that will help you, but I would be concerned with hips on pavement too. Good question and will watch for answers.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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would it be possible to, make an appointment with an orthopedist...get some high quality xrays with great positioning of hips elbows and ask their professional opinion? Will cost you a 2-300 hundred dollars...but you will be getting a lot of info for the dollars.
I would skip most typical vets and go right to a specialist....keeping in mind that even if the joints look great...if a dogs overall conformation is weak...even ideal joints are gonna take a beating.
 

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Please let us know if you do find anything out. I'm also a runner and would love to incorporate our future golden into my routine (eventually). Right now I run anywhere from 12-18 miles per week, depending on how hectic my schedule is. But I'd be willing to cut down speed and length per run if I had a canine running partner.

One possibility for you is driving to a location where it would be easier on his/her joints, maybe a place with trails like a hiking or river area? Concrete is so hard. It hurts me too!
 

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dont think 5 miles is too much for your dog to handle that is only 1.5 miles more than what you are doing now. I would take it slow maybe go 4miles for a few weeks and then add the extra mile. I would watch your dog if she is slowing do or wants to stop than do what she wants. It would be nice if you could find a place to run that she could be on grass as that is easier on the joints.
 

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Here are the basic principles I use when running with my dogs:

Leash running means extra stress because the dog has to conform to your pace. Humans evolved as distance runners, but wolves evolved more as sprinters. This still holds true in our current physiology, so holding a dog to a steady pace is tougher on the dog than you might think. That doesn't mean you shouldn't, and dogs can make good distance runners, but it does mean that you have to be extra careful.

Asphalt running means extra stress on joints. Again, that doesn't mean you have to avoid all asphalt, but it does mean you need to be aware of the increased risk of injury.

The dog's level of training is more important than the dog's age. You can hurt a dog at any age if you increase distance, speed, or effort too quickly. A dog needs to be slowly trained up to the level of difficulty you want to use. Train even slower if you're forcing the dog's pace (leashed running) or running on hard surfaces.

Be extra aware of temperature. Humans evolved to dump heat really effectively (part of our history as runner/hunters). Your dog simply can't dump heat well. Getting a dog's coat full of water during the run can help keep him cool, but he'll still heat up faster than you.

Your dog will also try really hard to please you and to stay with you, even if it means pushing himself past his limits. Some Goldens can be incredibly stoic if it means staying with the pack or following through on what they think the humans want, and it can lead to injuries and dangerous overheating.

So when I put all of that together, I prefer a place where I can let the dogs off leash while I run, and I prefer trails to roads. Ideally, I like to go someplace that has a pond or stream they can splash in as well. Fortunately, we have a place like that in town where I can bang out a few miles while the dogs hop in and out of streams and a lake and set their own pace of sprinting out ahead and then sniffing around while I catch up. I also built up distance slowly with them over their whole lives, so they're in excellent condition for the amount of exercise I do with them.
 

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Here are the basic principles I use when running with my dogs:

Leash running means extra stress because the dog has to conform to your pace. Humans evolved as distance runners, but wolves evolved more as sprinters. This still holds true in our current physiology, so holding a dog to a steady pace is tougher on the dog than you might think. That doesn't mean you shouldn't, and dogs can make good distance runners, but it does mean that you have to be extra careful.

Asphalt running means extra stress on joints. Again, that doesn't mean you have to avoid all asphalt, but it does mean you need to be aware of the increased risk of injury.

The dog's level of training is more important than the dog's age. You can hurt a dog at any age if you increase distance, speed, or effort too quickly. A dog needs to be slowly trained up to the level of difficulty you want to use. Train even slower if you're forcing the dog's pace (leashed running) or running on hard surfaces.

Be extra aware of temperature. Humans evolved to dump heat really effectively (part of our history as runner/hunters). Your dog simply can't dump heat well. Getting a dog's coat full of water during the run can help keep him cool, but he'll still heat up faster than you.

Your dog will also try really hard to please you and to stay with you, even if it means pushing himself past his limits. Some Goldens can be incredibly stoic if it means staying with the pack or following through on what they think the humans want, and it can lead to injuries and dangerous overheating.

So when I put all of that together, I prefer a place where I can let the dogs off leash while I run, and I prefer trails to roads. Ideally, I like to go someplace that has a pond or stream they can splash in as well. Fortunately, we have a place like that in town where I can bang out a few miles while the dogs hop in and out of streams and a lake and set their own pace of sprinting out ahead and then sniffing around while I catch up. I also built up distance slowly with them over their whole lives, so they're in excellent condition for the amount of exercise I do with them.
I would mostly agree with everything except calling wolves sprinters. They can sprint of course, but they also cover serious distance in a day, like 50 miles sometimes. Most dogs are in better shape than most people in my opinion, but they still need some time to get used to the exercise.
 

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I would mostly agree with everything except calling wolves sprinters. They can sprint of course, but they also cover serious distance in a day, like 50 miles sometimes. Most dogs are in better shape than most people in my opinion, but they still need some time to get used to the exercise.
My understanding, though I'm happy to be corrected by any hard evidence to the contrary, is that wolves are not nearly as good at long distance as people are. I mean, most of us are fat and out of shape, which doesn't describe wolves, but even wolves in hard condition don't cover more than twenty miles without a break, whereas a hard conditioned human can cover twice that.

Wolves do cover lots of distance in the course of hunting, but wolves are better at top speed than people (up to 40 mph) and people are far better at covering distance at a steady pace. Perhaps it's too simplistic to call them sprinters, since that implies that they can't do long distance. I just meant that relative to people, they're much better sprinters and much worse distance runners.
 

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The advice we received from our vet, who is also a runner, when adding miles to our Golden's runs was basically to do exactly what you'd do if you were trying to add miles to a person's distance. Maybe a bit easier for us since my husband is a track coach and does that for a living, but how we interpreted that was to not increase more than 10% of total mileage in a week. So if you're golden is currently doing 3.5 miles three days a week or 10.5 miles total, you can add a mile to the next weeks total. And upward from there. I personally don't think for a dog that's in good shape that 5 miles is out of question. With my golden we'll do a quick two to three miles in the morning and then a long walk or possibly another run at night of around 3 miles.

I do think everyone's advice about watching body temp is dead on as the weather gets warmer and also as it gets colder - depending on where you are at, extreme cold air can be really tough on the lungs when but I'd venture to guess that if you can handle it, so can your dog. And we have noticed at times that our golden will push it if we're not paying attention and making sure he's comfortable, he wants to keep up with the pack.

Our vet didn't have any concerns about asphalt, but mentioned that we should inspect his pads on a regular basis just to make sure they're not getting too rough or cut up.

Good luck increasing the mileage - I love running with my dog, he's so much happier about it than I am!!! :)
 

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Mom to Luna
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Discussion Starter #16
Fabulous information - thank you everyone. With Luna it is tough to just "watch" how she's doing because often she will simply stop in her tracks if she is nervous about a new route OR thinks we're going the wrong way (I can tell because if we go even a SLIGHTLY different way than usual she flat out stops, and this can happen in a walk (not a run) and VERY early on (even w/in the first 1/4 mile or so). Okay, she is a slightly nervous dog, but not to the point that she would bite anyone or anything even close. Just always on the lookout. Anyone else's like that?

So - I love puppylov's comments about 10% increase each week. When I haven't followed that myself after time off I tend to get injured as well. Also I will think about splurging for the xrays (based on Libertyme's advice). that would certainly put my mind at ease. And Tippykayak - thank you for your helpful advice/thoughts as well.
 

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My understanding, though I'm happy to be corrected by any hard evidence to the contrary, is that wolves are not nearly as good at long distance as people are. I mean, most of us are fat and out of shape, which doesn't describe wolves, but even wolves in hard condition don't cover more than twenty miles without a break, whereas a hard conditioned human can cover twice that.

Wolves do cover lots of distance in the course of hunting, but wolves are better at top speed than people (up to 40 mph) and people are far better at covering distance at a steady pace. Perhaps it's too simplistic to call them sprinters, since that implies that they can't do long distance. I just meant that relative to people, they're much better sprinters and much worse distance runners.
From wolf.org:

24. How far can wolves travel? (top) Wolves are hunters, and they travel far and wide to locate prey. They may travel 50 miles or more each day in search of food, and they are superbly designed for a life on the move. Because their elbows turn inward, their lean bodies are precisely balanced over their large feet. With their long legs and ground-eating stride, they can travel tirelessly for hours on end with no energy wasted. Dispersing wolves, those leaving packs in search of their own mates, have been known to travel hundreds of miles away from their home territory. Satellite and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) collars allow researchers to document the truly remarkable travels of wolves.


Pretty impressive! Of course this probably doesnt relate much to our goldens, its still pretty cool!
 

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I would encourage you to use some type of preventative joint supplement if you're planning to run regularly with your dog. My rescue has terrible hips, which are attributed in part to being run for the first few years of her life (3-4 miles, 3-4 days per week, on asphalt, starting at an unknown age), or so says the vet and the two orthopedic surgeons we've consulted.
 

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I ran 7 miles a day with my golden Joplin, often in New Haven CT on city streets. He had hips good, elbows normal, and lived into his 15th year with no problems. I'd feel confident to run with Luna if your vet takes a peek at her elbows and hips. Any problems though with joints, and then it is soft trails off leash only for exercise imo.
 

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Mom to Luna
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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, I have had Luna on a joint supplement per advice from my vet. She's been on "Move Free" (a supplement for people that contains glucosamine and chondroyntin (sp); can purchase at Costco), one pill/day (she's about 65-70 lbs). I do appreciate everyone's advice. I plan to work her mileage up slowly (10% increase per week) and will look into an ortho. specialist to have her joints xrayed. THAT would really give me peace of mind.
 
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