How Old...

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by DevonW, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. DevonW Well-Known Member

    I wasn't sure whether to put this in sports, tricks, or health as it sort of encompasses all three. I decided on tricks because there are certain tricks I want to teach that involve jumping.

    At what age can you start training for higher and more frequent jumps? I understand jumping should be kept to a minimum for growing puppies so you don't injure their joints but I'm getting impatient.

    I've never had a dog over 9kg's before Thor so I've been keeping his jumping to a minimum (he's 29.1kg at 10 months)--at his sport classes his jump training they're on the bottom rung still. Yet Thor loves to jump on his walks he'll go off in the woods and jump fallen trees, today he jumped about an 8ft spread over a 3.5ft high picnic table.

    So basically when can I stop being over protective mum and start encouraging him with jumping? I'm not sure I have the patience to last much longer.
    MaryK likes this.

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    Not sure, but you could ask Sara Carson she jumps her dog Hero and she kept the jumps at a certain height till he was old enough. You could go to her youtube page and ask.
    Of course someone on the thread may know.:)
    MaryK likes this.
  3. fickla Experienced Member

    That is a very controversial question :) The one consenus is that pups should not be jumping full height until after their growth plates are closed which can be anywhere from 12months in small dogs to 2yrs in giant dogs. Some people have their dogs xrayed, most people pick about 15 months for full height.

    When you actually start using jumps at any height is where you'll find a wide range of opinions. Many people known are training fun wraps and sequences with bars on the ground from about 6 months and up (Silvia Trkman philosophy). Others don't want any bars on the ground ever (Susan Garrett philosophy). Some gradually raise height by the dog's age in months for larger dogs starting around 8 months of age=8in, 12 months=12in. Some people prefer to not do any jumping whatsoever until the dog is ready for full height and then progressively raise them pretty quickly.

    The arguments are not saying that puppies don't love to run and jump, but they're because a puppy running in the woods can choose what to jump over and how often while in agility we are the ones asking our dogs to do so. Repetitive jumping is not good for their growing joints.
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  4. 648117 Honored Member

    Good post fickla.

    I had/have the same problem with Holly. She wasn't allowed any bars for the longest time even when all the other dogs in our class had a bar on the first or second rung (because Holly is little). Then we were finally allowed one bar, I can't remember how old Holly was, maybe around 10 months. She is still only allowed one bar :cautious:, she will be in the "micro" height class so full height for her is the second rung but our club wont let Holly jump full height until she's 18 months old! (she's so so close now but she still isn't allowed full height), she can obviously easily manage full height, it isn't very high for her at all, she is a jumper at home.

    At the end of course ribbon trial where Holly was the only dog in our class not allowed to compete and was only permitted to run the course with no bars on the jumps after all the other dogs were done (yesterday) our trainer said that for the next 6 week block of classes (starting in 2 weeks) Holly can do some full height jumps :censored: :), it is still frustrating though because it's not like I need to slowly increase the height because the bar is currently on the lowest rung and only needs to get to the second, there is nothing in between :confused: .
    When she is finally old enough to compete at the next ribbon trial the Elementary B dogs also have to jump down a height, so Holly will be back to half micro for that (I guess it will be one rung since there is no height below micro) O_o .

    Just wait till you start doing contact equipment :ROFLMAO:. Holly is the youngest in the class so while all the other dogs were allowed to start the A-frame, dog-walk and teeter totter Holly was not allowed (we still ended up doing it a bit earlier than strictly allowed though :ninja:), it was so frustrating (although I do understand why they have these rules, especially for large dogs).
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  5. Mutt Experienced Member

    I wouldn't let her actually jump at least 1 year/18 months. Like Fickla said there is a big difference between agility and the dog deciding on it's own to jump in the woods.

    I recently found a site (it's in Dutch though) in which a veterinarian (specialised in sporting dogs) explains for each agility obstacle whether you should waite until a certain age or can already start with a puppy (based on the pressure it puts on a dog). They said this about jumps:
    Making a jump to get over the bar requires the pup to have to take off before and land after the jump. To take off the dog has to use mainly musclepower to get his bodyweight over the jump, these powers have to be transfered by bones, tendons and muscles in the right way. Chances of overpressuring these structures (which aren't fully grown yet) are quite high.
    The most pressure comes from the landing and this can cause the most injuries. Also because a good landing requires good coördination, which can't be fully mastered by a pup yet. Jumping is therefore not recommanded.

    Here is a pic of the frontpaws of a dog when it lands, to give you an idea of the pressure it puts on a dog (this is the normal way):

    Putting a bar on the ground to walk over (or even a bit of the ground if it is a large dog, for lifting paws) would be my startingpoint with a pup, as long as the dog won't jump.
    MaryK likes this.
  6. DevonW Well-Known Member

    Thor is 10.5 months old now. He's been doing jump grids maybe twice a month at class since 6 months. I'll occasionally throw a disc high for him to catch and then he jumps whatever he wants to jump on his own. I ended up calling the vet this morning for her opinion she thinks having him jump in moderation is fine because of how fit he is and how nice and evenly he has grown (no awkward growth-spurts that could have strained his joints). She said as long as you don't force him to jump for hours on end everyday and have rest days in between he'll be fine. So five minutes every few days won't hurt him especially since the floor we work on for jumping is shock absorbing.

    She also recommended that I get him x-rayed at 15 months to see what his growth plates are like before I decide when to neuter him because he's going to be a sport dog..

    Most clubs around us won't let dogs compete until they're at least 18 months old.

    If he could Thor wouldn't let his feet touch the ground.
    (I wish I knew he was going to jump like this because it took me by surprise and I didn't have the settings ready on my camera to capture it)
    MaryK, Dogster, Tâmara Vaz and 2 others like this.
  7. Anneke Honored Member

    I know all about being impatient to start doing the "real"thing:D I wanted to start agility class when Jinx was 6 months old, but we weren't allowed because a dog has to be at least 12 months old, preferably 18 months, to enter.
    All I wanted was to start the handling and contacts, no bars yet. But nope...
    I don't think it is bad for a dog to learn how to jump at an early age, but some people go nuts and have their dog do jumps every day.
    Once a week at first bar is just fine.
    What most people forget is, that agility is not about how high your dog jumps. It is all about handling. Can you send your dog to find the weave poles all on it's own, or the tunnel from any angle.
    Those things are way more important than how high he jumps.
    Don't go so fast, get the basics right, then move up the bar.
    If you are not allowed to compete untill your dog is 18 months old, why push him now? ;)
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  8. DevonW Well-Known Member

    Puppy sport Foundation Classes here start for pups as young as 12 weeks and they just basically work on desensitising to objects such as planks, wobble boards, doughnuts, they do crate games, recalls etc. Then afterwords you have your Dog Sport Foundations which Thor's in now and it's basically a step up from puppy and you work on targets, handling, and low jump grids. After they're old enough they can start agility classes and they'll just basically have to stitch all their knowledge together.
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  9. dogcrazy Experienced Member

    Jumping over trees and things on his own is fine. Jumping over higher things occasionaly wont hurt him. You should liscen to your vet and X ray him at 15 months. To compete in for example AAC your dog has to be 18 months and I am guessing Thor whould be jumping 26 or 22 and that is WAY to high for any dog to be jumping at 18 months. And just like Anneke said agility isint all about jumping its also about handling. :)
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  10. Dogster Honored Member

    I would wait until he's Xrayed to see if everything is good to go.:) I only started doing higher jumps with Shivon half a year ago, just to be on the safe side ('cause Shivon is a rescue, so you never know...) I would gradually increase the jump height, nothing drastic. For exapmle, I wouldn't go from 14" to 22".
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