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Metrowest, MA
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this or a similar Xray has been posted before, either by me or someone else, but it came up in my FB feed again today, and I thought I'd share it here too, as a reminder to all those with puppies.

Joint Hand Arm Photograph White


These are X-rays of an 8-10 week old puppy. Puppies of that age do not have "joints" as we know them. They don't GET them for a LONG TIME. That's why it is SOOOO important that you are careful not to let them jump off of things, not to drop them, not walk them on hard surfaces or for long distances on leash and take care that they don't get stepped on. Puppies skeletons are not fully mature until AROUND 18 months of age. There is some variation, with smaller breeds maturing a bit earlier on average, and giant breeds maturing closer to two years of age.

But the take-home message is that that cute, soft, wobbly puppy is that way because he is, LITERALLY, a "bag of tiny bones", held together by tendons, ligaments and muscles. They have no real joints for a long time. So take care of them so they can grow up strong and healthy. (That includes a well balanced diet too!)
 

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I know this or a similar Xray has been posted before, either by me or someone else, but it came up in my FB feed again today, and I thought I'd share it here too, as a reminder to all those with puppies.

View attachment 178547

These are X-rays of an 8-10 week old puppy. Puppies of that age do not have "joints" as we know them. They don't GET them for a LONG TIME. That's why it is SOOOO important that you are careful not to let them jump off of things, not to drop them, not walk them on hard surfaces or for long distances on leash and take care that they don't get stepped on. Puppies skeletons are not fully mature until AROUND 18 months of age. There is some variation, with smaller breeds maturing a bit earlier on average, and giant breeds maturing closer to two years of age.

But the take-home message is that that cute, soft, wobbly puppy is that way because he is, LITERALLY, a "bag of tiny bones", held together by tendons, ligaments and muscles. They have no real joints for a long time. So take care of them so they can grow up strong and healthy. (That includes a well balanced diet too!)
I know this or a similar Xray has been posted before, either by me or someone else, but it came up in my FB feed again today, and I thought I'd share it here too, as a reminder to all those with puppies.

View attachment 178547

These are X-rays of an 8-10 week old puppy. Puppies of that age do not have "joints" as we know them. They don't GET them for a LONG TIME. That's why it is SOOOO important that you are careful not to let them jump off of things, not to drop them, not walk them on hard surfaces or for long distances on leash and take care that they don't get stepped on. Puppies skeletons are not fully mature until AROUND 18 months of age. There is some variation, with smaller breeds maturing a bit earlier on average, and giant breeds maturing closer to two years of age.

But the take-home message is that that cute, soft, wobbly puppy is that way because he is, LITERALLY, a "bag of tiny bones", held together by tendons, ligaments and muscles. They have no real joints for a long time. So take care of them so they can grow up strong and healthy. (That includes a well balanced diet too!)
Thanks for this. I worry about Bandit (nearly 5 months) because he loves to jump and run around like crazy. He really is very active, especially
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog Toy dog
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog Toy dog
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog Toy dog

outside. Would this activity hurt the skeletal progression?
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for this. I worry about Bandit (nearly 5 months) because he loves to jump and run around like crazy. He really is very active, especially View attachment 178552
outside. Would this activity hurt the skeletal progression?
Jumping and running around outside, as long as it’s his idea, and he is not jumping off a wall or something, and is playing on grass or reasonably soft earth, is absolutely FINE. Don’t let him jump or run on pavement, Don’t take him on leash walks on pavement, and don’t let him jump off furniture he can’t JUMP up onto by himself, and where he would land on A hard or slippery surface coming off. And no UNSUPERVISED flights of stairs. It is fine to work on them LEARNING stairs, with you right with them to prevent falls. It’s also, once they are steady on them, to allow them to navigate a stair or two between levels in the house by that age un less they are being totally crazy. In which case, step in and get them to settle down! Just as you would with kids rough-housing in the house! LOL!
 

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You wrote: “Don’t take him on leash walks on pavement”….

I’ve been through STAR Puppy class and am in Basic Obedience now. The trainer has been active in cautioning us about jumping off furniture, but as we are learning and in 7 month old Lizzy’s case mastered “loose leash walking” we’ve been taking at least one daily walk around my block which totals about 1100 steps. You seem to be saying this is bad?…. And for how long?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You wrote: “Don’t take him on leash walks on pavement”….

I’ve been through STAR Puppy class and am in Basic Obedience now. The trainer has been active in cautioning us about jumping off furniture, but as we are learning and in 7 month old Lizzy’s case mastered “loose leash walking” we’ve been taking at least one daily walk around my block which totals about 1100 steps. You seem to be saying this is bad?…. And for how long?
I would not be walking my Havanese puppy that far on pavement until after they are a year old. That is a LONG way for a tiny dog. i understand that your teacher wants you to practice. Can you practice in a park where you are on grass? Remember, this is for the health And well-being of your dog over the next 15 years. NOT about meeting an artificial class milestone right now. Believe me, people who are interested in competitive obedience usually do not plan on putting their young dogs into the obedience ring much before their second birthday.

When I did heeling practice with Ducky in our driveway during his first year, it was NEVER more than 60-90 seconds. I much prefer60-90 seconds of perfect heeling to a longer practice session with lots of mistakes and losses of attention, even aside from the stress on little bodies. But that is another issue. (Again, I’ve posted those videos here very recently. Let me know if you need me to post them again)
 

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We live in a suburb and go often to the city and in the city, you gotta walk on the sidewalk. What function do the hair and pads on a pup's feet serve if not to act as shock absorbers? Also, many homes are not carpeted. So what do you do about that? Marble and ceramic tiles are harder than pavement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We live in a suburb and go often to the city and in the city, you gotta walk on the sidewalk. What function do the hair and pads on a pup's feet serve if not to act as shock absorbers? Also, many homes are not carpeted. So what do you do about that? Marble and ceramic tiles are harder than pavement.
Hair should be removed from the dog's feet. That is NOT supposed to be a "cushion". It is a slip hazard. The pads are, of course, a cushion, but are more for an adult dog. My home is not carpeted either, though it is hardwood, not tile. However, when a puppy is moving around freely, he always has the CHOICE to limit his activity. A puppy on a leash walk, unless pushed to the absolute limit, will often appear to be enjoying the walk, just because he loves being out with his person, even if it is bad for his body.

I don't take my puppies for "leash walks" of any kind on pavement at that age, even though I don't live in the city. I haven't had to raise a puppy in the city so it's not something I've put a lot of thought into. When we take them on walks with our older dogs, we take them in a stroller, letting them out here and there for small stretches for some "sniff walking", where we follow them around and let them explore grassy areas on leash. We practice leash skills in a controlled area where aI can be sure I get the behavior I want to see without loss of attention and the need for many corrections.
 
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Hair should be removed from the dog's feet. That is NOT supposed to be a "cushion". It is a slip hazard. The pads are, of course, a cushion, but are more for an adult dog. My home is not carpeted either, though it is hardwood, not tile. However, when a puppy is moving around freely, he always has the CHOICE to limit his activity. A puppy on a leash walk, unless pushed to the absolute limit, will often appear to be enjoying the walk, just because he loves being out with his person, even if it is bad for his body.

I don't take my puppies for "leash walks" of any kind on pavement at that age, even though I don't live in the city. I haven't had to raise a puppy in the city so it's not something I've put a lot of thought into. When we take them on walks with our older dogs, we take them in a stroller, letting them out here and there for small stretches for some "sniff walking", where we follow them around and let them explore grassy areas on leash. We practice leash skills in a controlled area where aI can be sure I get the behavior I want to see without loss of attention and the need for many corrections.
I agree with you that a dog -- of any age - should not be forced to walk. But Bandit is so joyful on a city sidewalk, with so many sights, smells and people who want to meet him. He loves to socialize with people and I think he can walk on a city sidewalk as long as it is only a couple or three blocks or so and back. He seems big for his age and very sturdy. And we walk rather slowly because there are so many people to greet!
And I understand that hair on his feet should be trimmed when it gets too long. But its there for a reason and at this point it is too short to trim and serves as an impact reducer.
 

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I’ve been following this thread. I have never had a vet tell me not walk my dog on pavement until over a year old. While anything done to excess is bad, even walking, this sounds draconian. I can’t imagine a vet telling me walking my puppy on pavement, around the block, is wrong. Maybe I’m missing something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree with you that a dog -- of any age - should not be forced to walk. But Bandit is so joyful on a city sidewalk, with so many sights, smells and people who want to meet him. He loves to socialize with people and I think he can walk on a city sidewalk as long as it is only a couple or three blocks or so and back. He seems big for his age and very sturdy. And we walk rather slowly because there are so many people to greet!
And I understand that hair on his feet should be trimmed when it gets too long. But its there for a reason and at this point it is too short to trim and serves as an impact reducer.
By "forced walk", I do not mean that you are dragging him. I am sure you are not! I mean that it is your idea and he is on a leash, I understand that he is all-in, because he is enjoying himself,. A little kid will totally wear himself out at Disney World too. That doesn't necessarily mean that's good for him on a daily basis either.

The long hair between is toes is there because you chose a long haired breed, bred by humans to HAVE hair that continues to grow throughout their lives. This is NOT natural, and not meant as cushioning or an "impact protector". It is a slip hazard. Go check with your vet. If you had chosen a Rat Terrier instead of a Havanese, you would not be dealing hair on their feet.

If it's too short to trim, EITHER it's still too short because his breeder trimmed it for you, or because it is getting worn off on your walks, which is worrisome in itself to me. No Havanese puppy with a normal hair coat leaves the breeder without the breeder needing to trim his feet before he leaves. The hair grows fast. If you have mentioned how old your puppy is, I didn't catch it.

I can't make your mind up for you on what you should do with your puppy. You have to make your own decisions. All I can do is present the physiological facts of puppy growth and development and suggest best practices. Then you have to decide. Some dogs may be fine in spite of it. The problem is, the ones that DO have problems probably won't show then until they are older dogs, and then you can't turn the clock back and do anything about it. But it's your puppy, and your decision.
 
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In addition to being a slipping hazard, if the hair between the pads gets long enough to extend beyond the pads, it will start picking up debris and can become matted. This will be like a human walking around with pebbles in their shoes. It is very uncomfortable and removing mats between paw pads is not fun. Best to avoid them in the first place.
 

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By "forced walk", I do not mean that you are dragging him. I am sure you are not! I mean that it is your idea and he is on a leash, I understand that he is all-in, because he is enjoying himself,. A little kid will totally wear himself out at Disney World too. That doesn't necessarily mean that's good for him on a daily basis either.

The long hair between is toes is there because you chose a long haired breed, bred by humans to HAVE hair that continues to grow throughout their lives. This is NOT natural, and not meant as cushioning or an "impact protector". It is a slip hazard. Go check with your vet. If you had chosen a Rat Terrier instead of a Havanese, you would not be dealing hair on their feet.

If it's too short to trim, EITHER it's still too short because his breeder trimmed it for you, or because it is getting worn off on your walks, which is worrisome in itself to me. No Havanese puppy with a normal hair coat leaves the breeder without the breeder needing to trim his feet before he leaves. The hair grows fast. If you have mentioned how old your puppy is, I didn't catch it.

I can't make your mind up for you on what you should do with your puppy. You have to make your own decisions. All I can do is present the physiological facts of puppy growth and development and suggest best practices. Then you have to decide. Some dogs may be fine in spite of it. The problem is, the ones that DO have problems probably won't show then until they are older dogs, and then you can't turn the clock back and do anything about it. But it's your puppy, and your decision.
My Bandit is five months old. The hair on his feet has been trimmed -- once-- and is very short now. So I don't think that's a problem. I appreciate your advice and agree with you on most of it, but I don't think walks on pavement, unless they are too long and tire a dog, are as dangerous as you seem to think. What worried me most when I walked my dog, on pavement or in a park on grass, was the heat. That limited the length of the walks more than anything else (I had to stop the walks way before Bandit wanted to stop!) I look forward to longer walks in the fall.
One last thought: Havanese are a very popular breed in Manhattan, where it's very difficult to find grass to walk on. I guess all those young Havanese in New York City are doomed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Again, all I can do is recommend best pracicnces, and you can do what you want with that. Lots of people do all sorts of things with their dogs that are not "best practices. I try to not learn by watching what other people do with dogs on the street. Arthritic old dogs sitting in apartments may do just fine. 🤷‍♀️
 
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Grooming places in my area offer drop in feet grooming to trim the hair and nails because the need to trim feet between full grooms is so common. Sundance used to slide on our hard floors if the hair became too long, but sadly at this age if the hair is too long he just won’t initiate play unless we’re on the carpet. So I would never wait until I see these cues that the hair is too long before trimming.

I think context is part of the problem when considering development and the activity level of a pet Havanese. Veterinarians are not being asked these questions in context. The advice to walk dogs every day from trainers, and vets, comes from the fact that it is a very simple way to give dogs of any breed structure, stimulation, physical activity, and training exercises, and any person with any level of dog experience can do it without any kind of guidance. If someone does not ever walk their dog or give them these things in another way, lack of socialization, stimulation, general health, and even potty training, causes harm and then it begins to outweigh the risks of joint problems and arthritis at an older age. A lot of advice has been given over the years to prevent the lesser of two evils, but we now have access to more data and an enormous amount of training resources, and this is changing. Advice to walk dogs for long periods will continue, and it’s one way to meet needs, as long as someone understands the risks. Since there is clear evidence that doing so can cause problems, and considering many Havanese puppies do have hip dysplasia or crooked legs, I think knowing the risks in order to make a decision is helpful. It isn’t particularly common knowledge among pet owners, but related issues are known in many breeds. It also doesn’t mean living in a bubble without the normal experiences of owning a dog. There are lots of ways to protect them, such as walking on grass. Even if someone doesn’t have access to a yard or parks with grass to take their puppy to play, walking on concrete isn’t the only way to provide exercise. What risks to take is of course a personal decision - one of mine is dog parks, and the travel system I use is not the safest option (so I wouldn’t recommend it to others), but I made those decisions carefully based on my own life. I think it’s more about sharing ideas so that someone doesn’t feel trapped into walking their Havanese because it’s popular advice. Of course each environment is different, too - if I had tile floors I might be more vigilant about keeping the dining chairs pushed in, but I have wood floors with a dining rug and pad, and there are more important things to ask of my kids every day, like keeping the lid on the bathroom trash :) Sundance found a clever way to climb the chairs onto the table when they’re pushed in and occasionally gets stuck and just waits there silently until someone finds him, so I’m not too worried about him jumping down. Other Havs are less cautious, so individual temperament is a consideration, too.

I notice Sundance never gives signs of being tired, even when he should. He’s a huge pleaser and is so excited to be on an adventure with us that he will keep going no matter what. I have also found that walks don’t have much impact on his behavior, although walks are often suggested to manage behavior of dogs with separation issues. Maybe it’s better than nothing, and I understand why people do it, but I have found ways to get better results in the same amount of time. Sundance can come in from an extra long hour walk and should be exhausted but immediately has zoomies. In contrast, 10 minutes of outside play (or a short walk) and 10 minutes of training games in our family room completely satisfy him to the point that he will put himself to bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good point! I think it is important to know the scientific risks and best practices, and then make decisions based on what makes sense for me and my dogs.

Everyone here, I think, knows I am pretty fanatical about my dogs safety in the car... MOST of the time. But We DO allow for occasional lapses for fun. Like on special birthday outings. ;)
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