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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Full disclaimer, I have health anxiety and often get paranoid. So I am not sure if I am looking too much into things or if this is normal behaviour for a puppy.

I am also a bit paranoid because my parents' lab (who I helped raise until I moved out when he was 1 year old) has elbow dysplasia and started showing symptoms at around 6 months old (very minor limping of front leg). He is now 3.5 years old and hasn't needed surgery. His condition is very well managed by my parents (moderate exercise, healthy diet, and supplements recommended by the vet). But he will occasionally be in pain if he's had a week of excessive exercise. My parents got this dog from a BYB.

I recently got an 8 week old retriever from a reputable breeder who has clearances on all of the parents. He is now 15 weeks old and absolutely amazing. But, I get paranoid about some of his behaviour.

First of all, he has a big sway when he walks. I started noticing this at about 11 weeks of age when I played back a video that I took of him (but he could have had the sway for longer). Ever since, I can't look away from his sway! My partner says it doesn't look unusual at all (but he's never had a dog before this one). It only happens when he walks slowly (I believe it's called pacing). There is no sway when he trots. Is this normal for young puppies?

Second of all, when he sits, both of his legs move to the side. I have heard this is called "frog sitting" and is common in dogs with HD? That being said, every single puppy I've had sat like this (or still does as an adult) and none of them have had HD, so I'm a bit confused about this one.

Third, I've heard that puppies with HD are often described by their owners as "the best puppy we've had" because they tend to be calmer. This applies to my puppy. When he's at home, he is incredibly calm. He has his excited moments, but overall he is a very well-behaved, calm puppy. He will put his mouth on EVERYTHING, but that's about it. He's very good around the cats (only smells them), doesn't have "zoomies", can very easily self-settle / nap on his own, and sleeps through the entire night (even letting us sleep in on weekends!). The first 2 weeks were hard while we tried to find a routine that works for us, but after that it's actually been very easy. That being said, in public is a different story. He goes INSANE when he sees someone or another dog outside and just wants to say hi to them.

Forth, he usually likes walks and has no problem playing inside (we often play fetch inside) or playing fetch at the park. In fact, we took him to the park on the weekend to play fetch and he LOVED it and ran around a lot. He also goes to daycare and loves it there. We can see him on a camera and he always runs around playing with everyone (but also lays down for a nap in a quiet spot when he gets tired). HOWEVER, we have noticed that sometimes he refuses to go on a walk. For example, today we tried to take him for a short walk at lunch. After he went pee, he refused to walk anymore. He just sat there refusing to move. So we turned around to go back home and he sprinted back to our building. I've heard that dogs with HD may not like going on walks. He did just go to daycare yesterday so maybe he is tired from that and doesn't want to walk.

He doesn't bunny hop, doesn't seem to be in pain and doesn't limp. He is too young to regularly use stairs, so we use the ramp in our building's lobby instead of the stairs to protect his growing joints. That being said, he does occasionally take a very small flight of stairs (i.e., max 7 steps). He is usually fine with them but is sometimes hesitant to go down them. But this may just be because it can be scary since he's so small and isn't that use to them.

Anyways, sorry for the long post. My puppy has an appointment with the vet next week to get his final set of puppy shots and I will ask them some of these questions. However, am I looking too much into things? Are these normal puppy behaviours? The sway when he paces is what worries me the most.

Thanks
 

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Golden Retrievers "shashay", the sway is normal. Puppies splaying out hind legs when they sit is normal! They are lazy sitters, and until they are several months old their joints are really, really flexible. He's a baby, not wanting to walk is just being a baby, very common, very normal, and not a sign of HD in a baby.

Unless he is struggling, like really not able to stand up, and you see him "pulling" himself up with his front legs, don't worry. He sounds totally normal from what you said.

Post pictures! We love to see the puppies, and you can post the video of him walking too if you'd like.
 

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I think you are overly concerned haha. Everything you describe is normal. Enjoy your easy going pup :) You chose a good breeder and the chance is big you have a healthy pup. It isn’t comparable at all with back yard breeders!! Don’t worry.
 

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Everything you describe is completely normal.
I will give you one piece of advice....absolutely under no circumstances should you take him to your regular vet to do preemptive xrays for "piece of mind." I guarantee if you do this they WILL find something wrong. Guarantee it. Don't do it unless for some reason he injures himself. When he is 2 years old have his hips and elbows xrayed (get your breeder's recommendation on where to take him) and submit them to OFA.
 
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