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So far I have just taken my 7 month old Golden Retriever for a few short 1 hr slow, flat rides and he loves it and still has lots of energy to play when we get home. He is about 60 lbs now. I know too much, too soon can cause permanent damage to there hips and heart. Most of my rides are a granny gear climb up a fire road for about 45 min. and a slow free ride descent of about 45 min.including breaks. I cant see it being much more work than playing with his buddies or the 2 hr hikes we have been doing. I think most people (vets) that dont ride think of biking as fast, long xc type rides and I know this would not be the best for a pup. Would my typical slow climb and slow descent be too much right now for my strong, healthy pup.
 

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burke ryder said:
So far I have just taken my 7 month old Golden Retriever for a few short 1 hr slow, flat rides and he loves it and still has lots of energy to play when we get home. He is about 60 lbs now. I know too much, too soon can cause permanent damage to there hips and heart. Most of my rides are a granny gear climb up a fire road for about 45 min. and a slow free ride descent of about 45 min.including breaks. I cant see it being much more work than playing with his buddies or the 2 hr hikes we have been doing. I think most people (vets) that dont ride think of biking as fast, long xc type rides and I know this would not be the best for a pup. Would my typical slow climb and slow descent be too much right now for my strong, healthy pup.
I would taper off for the summer due to the heat. But once fall hits your pup will be about a year old and ready for longer rides.

BB (rides with 2 labs, but not in the summer due to heat)
 

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You need to take it easy on your dog until it's reached adult size and its bones are calcified. The danger with running your dog too hard too early is that you can damage the growth plates in the long bones...not necessarily the hips or heart. Now if the dog develops problems with its hips or heart (and goldens are predisposed to TONS of problems later in life, and as such I'll never buy one), heavy exertion will cause more problems, but it's primarily a growth plate injury issue.

You can still exercise the dog, but keep it to walking/jogging speed. When you're on a bike, it's easy to think you're not going fast, but you could be forcing the dog to overdo it and they won't tell you if it hurts.

Given that goldens are predisposed to so many health problems, I'd keep exercise to low-level longer duration exercise. You do want to build up the dog's strength and endurance slowly anyway. Once your dog hits the 1yr mark (or when the dog's weight is pretty constant for about 3 mos or so), set up an appointment with your vet so they can check the dog over to make sure it can handle strenuous exercise. You'll want the vet to x-ray for potential genetic joint problems (hips, elbows, and such). You'll probably want blood tests and to be sure the dog's body condition is good (putting an overweight dog into a really strenuous exercise routine can CAUSE a lot of problems), and that sort of stuff.

If it was a different breed of dog (especially if it was a mutt), I wouldn't think about going to these lengths, but a lot of goldens end up with bizarre genetic diseases because they're so inbred. Since your dog is a golden, you need to be a little more careful.
 

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Non dog owners take

As a person who doesn't own dogs I have absolutely no take on when it is appropriate from your dogs physical well being point of view. However, as a trail user who has been accosted far too many times, even by the dogs of riding partners, I think it would be nice if anyone who rides with a dog has their dog trained to come when called before they go trail riding. This has not been the norm in my experience and I find a four legged critter trying to be friendly very distracting when I am concentrating on a technical section of trail. Even more frustrating is listening to the owner calling Fido or whatever incessantly and to no avail.
 

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Lord Humongous said:
As a person who doesn't own dogs I have absolutely no take on when it is appropriate from your dogs physical well being point of view. However, as a trail user who has been accosted far too many times, even by the dogs of riding partners, I think it would be nice if anyone who rides with a dog has their dog trained to come when called before they go trail riding. This has not been the norm in my experience and I find a four legged critter trying to be friendly very distracting when I am concentrating on a technical section of trail. Even more frustrating is listening to the owner calling Fido or whatever incessantly and to no avail.
I wouldn't come if my owner named me Fido either. Whaddya expect? :madman:
 

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BruceBrown said:
I would taper off for the summer due to the heat. But once fall hits your pup will be about a year old and ready for longer rides.

BB (rides with 2 labs, but not in the summer due to heat)
Agreed, light exercise only (playing) for the first year... although a slow ride isn't too strenuous for a pup.

Even adult dogs should take it easy on descents. The place you like to go the fastest are hardest on a dog's joints.

Ride where there is a good fresh stream or bring plenty of water for the pooch. Don't let the dog drink out of nasty rivers or other questionable water supplies.

Avoid riding places when you know they will be crowded-you are just asking for dod-dog conflict or people thinking you dog is a nuisance (even if you dog is well-behaved, others may not be).

Make sure the dog has some trail manners-you don't him to get wrapped up in the spokes or get too far away. My dog heels directly to my left (off leash) on fireroads and directly behind my tire on singletrack. This took a lot of training and a lot of patience, but it is worth it when people compliment me on how well-behaved he is.

Be cautious during the summer. Ride early or take very short rides. Most dogs would nearly run themselves to death to keep up with their masters, so just because he is still running doesn't mean he isn't exhausted, overheated, dehydrated, etc!

Don't forget-YOU are the smarter organism. If you want you, your dog, and other trail users to be happy, use your brain to keep problems from happening. Your pet is YOUR responsibility.
 
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