Drents are at the large end of Medium-size, or at the small end of Large-size for dogs. We like the idea of being safe vs. being sorry. So, when you have an intelligent and active breed like the Drent and you have all sorts of ideas for activities and training to do with them, please have a look before you make up your "work schedule" for your precious pup.
Today we bring you the explanation why we should not perform intense physical exercise with puppies until 18 months or even 24 months. Puppy growth rates vary by size. It's important to adapt diet and exercise to your puppy s' specific requirements to ensure ideal skeletal development. Endochondral 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 photo).
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.
The recommended exercise levels for puppies are 1 minute for each week of their life, twice a day. This should be negligible 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.
This is what we mean to tell you not to rush with your pups, work other things with them. Work their minds, smell, worry about socializing etc. After spending the development months and making the corresponding plates, consult your veterinarian if your dog is 100 % for sport.
When you get an 8-week-old puppy, keep in mind these images!
His bones don't even touch yet. They walk great with large, flexible legs and wobbly moves because their joints are composed of muscles, tendons and ligaments covered in skin. Nothing fits right or has a real grip yet. So, it is critical to not allow the puppy to become overworked or over exercised during this time. This relaxed pace allows the puppy the opportunity to grow properly. Every big jump or bounce causes bone impacts...in reasonable amounts, it's not problematic and it is normal. But when you let the puppy jump up and down from the couch in the living room or bed, have free access to run the stairs, you take him for excessively long walks, you can damage that joint during training.
A well-formed body is something that comes from excellent parenting and education, BOTH, not just one. Once he grows up, you'll have the rest of his life to play with and perform high-impact exercises with him. So, keep calm while they're still small puppies and give them the gift that can only be given once.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some years later this is what you get.