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View Full Version : Exercise Requirements for an Older Labrador Retriever


Hugh Jass
10-25-2007, 05:58 PM
Dunno if I'm in the right forum or not...

Just last Sunday I adopted a 6-year old female Lab. I went into this arrangement knowing that "a lot" of exercise would be required, but I'm starting to wonder what "a lot" really means.

The first couple of days, we played fetch twice a day, for 30 minutes at a time, and then went for a 30 minute walk. Each morning she was ready to face the day with lots of energy. Yesterday, she tired out after about 15 minutes in our second session of fetch. I had to wake her up to take her for a walk in the evening. This morning, our fetch session lasted only 10 minutes before she was tired out. She has been hanging out on her quilt for most of the day. Which is fine, but it raises the question of how much exercise a 6-year old dog actually requires.

Does anyone know?

By the way, here's (http://www.jimhoy.com/) a picture of the little lady, as yet unnamed. She's your standard black dog. Not really all that interesting looking, but I'm getting to be rather fond of her.

Kevbo
10-25-2007, 06:21 PM
She may just need to get used to it. Like people, dogs need to work up to a given level of exertion. Keeping her in shape will help her live longer. We had to put down my lab almost exactly a year ago....he was 16 1/2 years old, which is ancient for any larger breed. At 6 he was in the middle of his prime.

Is it still pretty warm in Austin? My lab could go all day and then some if he could keep cool, but heat would do him in pretty quickly. How is the dogs weight? Our other large dog slows down a lot if she puts on a few extra pounds....especially in the heat.

There are a number of medical some conditions that could manifest as lethargy, but I wouldn't worry just yet probably. I assume you don't know how much exercise she is used to.

The fact that animals can't tell us how they feel is something every pet owner has to learn to deal with. It will get much easier once you know the animal well.

Fetchund
10-25-2007, 06:33 PM
She is a beauty! Glad to see she doesn't look overweight, which was my fear before I looked at the photo.

First and foremost - have you had your vet do a complete examination of her? Most groups adopting out dogs really don't do a thorough check-up, and it is important. Tell the vet your concerns, and they will take some extra care.

Could be she is just getting used to the new situation and is building up her stamina - but better to be safe than sorry.

(ps- she looks like a "Lucie", to me.)

t-bonham@scc.net
10-25-2007, 07:21 PM
The first couple of days, we played fetch twice a day, for 30 minutes at a time, and then went for a 30 minute walk.This is probably a lot more exercise than she got at the shelter, if that is where you adopted her from. Many shelters are so overcrowded that she would have spent most of the time in a small pen, and be lucky if she got even a few minutes per day of exercise & play with a human.

So she probably just needs time to build up to this much exercise. The first couple of days, she was so happy to be with you that she kept playing as long as you wanted. Now she's adjusting to the level of her conditioning, so she's slowing down a bit. Not to worry.

Hugh Jass
10-25-2007, 10:23 PM
This is probably a lot more exercise than she got at the shelter, if that is where you adopted her from. Many shelters are so overcrowded that she would have spent most of the time in a small pen, and be lucky if she got even a few minutes per day of exercise & play with a human.


Well, this was my thought. I did adopt from a shelter. I doubt she got much exercise/attention at all.

I was wondering if that level of exercise (60 minutes of fetch, plus 30 of walk) is too much or just right for a dog that age. Can I dial my expectations down a bit?

ZipperJJ
10-25-2007, 10:42 PM
I have a 5-year-old golden retriever who is not overweight...frankly, she lets me know when she's tired out.

If we go for a walk and she's tired, she walks slowly/doesn't leave my side.

If we play fetch, she eventually stops retrieving.

If we're out somewhere off leash, she barks at the leash when she's done.

Generally, her daily exercise is a 30-minute walk. It's more if we go to the dog park or the doggy pool, or if we have a little fetch. She also gets so worked up at walk time (loses her mind with excitement) that I suspect she's half drained before we begin.

So, I wouldn't worry about waking her up for playtime or walk time - don't stop waking her up, just don't worry that she's sleepy. I also wouldn't worry about her "quitting" fetch. A good 30-minute walk is a lot more exercise than a lot of dogs get. She will let you know what she can handle. Playing fetch with a tired dog gets really old really quick! (turns in to people fetch!)

Don't forget a tired dog is a happy dog - and a happy owner :)

GaryM
10-26-2007, 08:34 AM
You've gotten good advice. Just wanted to say that she's beautiful! :D

Dinsdale
10-26-2007, 08:46 AM
Yeah - lots of great advice. She is a beauty - yu see so many overweight labs! And at 6, she is well beyond the teething/destructive phase.

I don't know that there is a set rule for the optimal exercise for a dog. Some people take their dogs running with them. I know a couple of shepards and a dobe who put in 6-8 miles a day. Those dogs are true athletes. OTOH, I think I may have run my current dog a little too hard, and often on paved surfaces when she was young. She currently has arthritis pretty bad, and I suspect that running her may have contributed to it. Just my WAG.

But it was tough, because she literally would keep going until she was exhausted. I think that as the owner, I should have been more aware and stronger to say "No" at some point.

Canines can run long distances, but in the wild, they spend much of their time holed up in their dens. So it isn't as tho they necessarily need a workout regimin or something.

I think long walks are generally the best (for both of you!) And I think the main determinant of whether she is getting enough exercise should be her weight.

vetbridge
10-26-2007, 08:57 AM
Hugh Jass- hehe. I once signed a guest book at a wedding reception with your name. I also earlier in the book signed my real name, so I never got blamed. As far as the dog, six isn't really what I would call "older". Assuming the dog doesn't have any contraindications, exercise is great for her. Maintain muscle mass, keep weight in check, etc.

My own dog is 4, and is an exercise junky. She will chase a ball until she collapses. I have learned where her red-line is and try to stop shy of it. In extreme heat, sensible modification is necessary, and always offer water ad lib.

Hugh Jass
10-26-2007, 11:51 AM
Thanks for the all the input, everyone. I'm willing to exercise her as much as she wants. I just wondered what I should expect. I took her for a walk early last night, so she didn't have any exercise from 7:30 pm to 11 am today. The fetch session lasted over 20 minutes, until she just laid down and said "I'm done."

It looks like my original idea of a few minutes of fetch in the morning, then the evening, then a walk will suffice for her.

She really is a terrific pooch. She has yet to bark. No accidents in the house. No chewing anything. No whining. She drops the ball when you say "Drop" and sits on command. I wanted/needed a mellow dog and I've found her. I'm pretty pleased with her. Now I need to think of a name. It took me 3 years to name my cat, I hope it doesn't take that long for her.

GaryM
10-26-2007, 01:23 PM
Looking at the photo, how about "Happy"?