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 Sound Advice : Growth Information of your German Shepherd Puppy


When you get your 8-10 week old puppies, please keep these images in mind. Their bones do not even touch yet. They plod around so cutely with big floppy paws and wobbly movement because their joints are entirely made up of muscle, tendons, and ligaments with skin covering. Nothing is fitting tightly together or has a true socket yet.

When you run them excessively or don't restrict their exercise to stop them from overdoing it during this period, you don't give them a chance to grow properly. Every big jump or excited bouncing run causes impacts between the bones. In reasonable amounts this is not problematic and is the normal wear and tear that every animal will engage in.  But, when you're letting puppy jump up and down off the lounge or bed, take them for long walks/hikes, you are damaging that forming joint. When you let the puppy scramble on tile with no traction you are damaging the joint.

You only get the chance to grow them once. A well built body is something that comes from excellent breeding and a great upbringing-BOTH, not just one.

Once grown you will have the rest of their life to spend playing and engaging in higher impact exercise. So keep it calm while they're still little baby puppies and give the gift that can only be given once.

The explanation why we should not perform intense physical exercise with puppies until 18 months and even 24.

Puppy growth rates vary greatly by size. It's important to adapt diet and exercise to your puppy s' specific requirements to ensure ideal skeletal development. Endocondral ossification (the process during which cartilage turns into bone) differs according to the adult size of your puppy, with closed growth plates (complete ossification has occurred) between 3 months in toy breeds and 24 months in large breeds (see photos).

There are many factors affecting growth rate and maturity age, for example, males mature more slowly than females. There are variations in periods of 'fast growth' ranging from birth to 11 weeks in small dogs and toys. Large breeds range from birth to 20 weeks (Hawthorne et al 2004) excessive exercise and inadequate nutrition during these periods can lead to conformation and malformation of bones, which can lead to the osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease.

Recommended exercise levels for puppies are 1 minute for each week of their life, twice a day. This should be low impact at a steady pace.

If your goal is to train to compete for flyball or agility (for example), it is recommended to avoid any jump training until full ossification has occurred.

Growth development of German Shepherds
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