I am on an e-mail list with some of my favorite gurus (Turid Rugaas, Suzanne Clothier), and Turid has brought up a fascinating - and controversial - point about dogs and exercise.
Stress, no matter how it originates (happy excitement or fearful anxiety) produces chemical changes in the body, including an elevated level of adrenaline. Adrenaline stays in the body for days.

Turid says that the more she works with dogs, the more she is convinced that people exercise their dogs TOO much. She's critical of activities like agility, and says that many agility dogs have stomach problems. She's also critical of games like fetch and frisbee, because dogs tend to get obsessive about it (which means the level of stimulation is too high). One woman on the list was informed that 20 minutes of ball play with her ball-obsessed golden was too much.

The result of too much exercise without enough down time can be increased reactivity and physical problems.
This topic has been so controversial that she's on her second round trying to explain it. But it's making sense to me. Dogs need down time for that adrenaline to dissipate. If they're constantly being engaged in activities that raise it, it can be doing a lot of harm that we can't see (because the dog acts like he's having FUN) until the damage is done (such as ulcers).
As a chronic fatigue sufferer - which is a result of long periods of low-level stress without relief, according to my doctor - I can certainly grok this concept.

Leah Roberts, Family Dog Trainer
It's A Dog's World
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Get Healthy, Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight http://re-vita.net/dfrntdrums
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Turid says that the more she works with dogs, the more she is convinced that people exercise their dogs TOO much.

Not in this country, they don't. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a 'pet obesity' problem would there?
The result of too much exercise without enough down time can be increased reactivity and physical problems.

This boggles the mind. Your average pet dog has plenty of down time during the 8-10 hours during the day while their owners are at work, and another 8 or so hours when everyone is asleep. I don't know very many people who keep their dogs going 5 or 6 hours a day, do you?

Besides, this does fly in the face of what dogs were originally meant to do. Many, many dogs were developed specifically for the purpose of working all day, and I don't see how any of these dogs would have physical problems resulting from their work. They wouldn't be very good at it in the long run if that were the case. Anyway, since most people don't use their dogs for the purpose they were originally intended for, IMO, the dogs get far less exercise than they were built for.
This topic has been so controversial that she's on her second round trying to explain it.

Small wonder. Makes no sense to me. A GR is meant to go out and work in the field with its handler all day, yet one 20 minute ball playing session is bad for it? Maybe I'm missing something.

Suja
Small wonder. Makes no sense to me. A GR is meant to go out and work in the field with its handler all day, yet one 20 minute ball playing session is bad for it? Maybe I'm missing something.

You're missing a "different opinion". Whether that opinion has any basis for it or not, a lot of people strive to be unique - doesn't matter if they're RIGHT!
I really disagree with her obviously. I don't think dog sports are evil, cause physical problems or psycho dogs. My dogs get plenty of down time (where they have earned their SD titles (slug dog)). Actually SDX for sure. But they can still (and need to) run, play, exercise, and keep fit, mentally and physically. What exactly does she suggest dogs DO, if they aren't supposed to be exercised as much as a whopping 20 minutes?

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
Small wonder. Makes no sense to me. A GR is meant to go out and work in the field with its handler all day, yet one 20 minute ball playing session is bad for it? Maybe I'm missing something.

It's possible that something is lost in the, ahem, translation. On the face of it it's sheer stupidity and is easily brought into question by looking at real dogs and talking to veterinarians. On the other hand, it may not be what Rugaas is actually saying.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

All you need to know about Social Security "reform": Your in-laws are going to have to live with you
Turid says that the more she works with dogs, the more she is convinced that people exercise their dogs TOO ... One woman on the list was informed that 20 minutes of ball play with her ball-obsessed golden was too much.

Um, horse hockey. Unless she has some sort of scientific study proving this then she's talking out her ***.
The result of too much exercise without enough down time can be increased reactivity and physical problems.

And her proof for this is?? My dogs get loads of exercise. They don't have stomach problems, they don't have increased reactivity or "physical" problems (whatever that is).
This topic has been so controversial that she's on her second round trying to explain it. But it's making sense ... that we can't see (because the dog acts like he's having FUN) until the damage is done (such as ulcers).

She's claiming that exercise causes ulcers?? Sorry, but I always thought she was on the edge, now I know she's nuts. Where on earth did she get this? Maybe she's got dogs with stomach problems. But I don't personally know a single agility dog who has had an ulcer in fact I've never known any dog to have it.
Sounds like an excuse to be lazy about your dogs to me. Judging by the large percentage of dogs I see in agility running, and healthy, and happy, at 9, 10, 11+ years of age, I say she's full of horse ***.
And her proof for this is?? My dogs get loads of exercise. They don't have stomach problems, they don't have increased reactivity or "physical" problems (whatever that is).

Actually, my dogs eat like horses (carnivorous horses, that is) when they're working and when they're not getting enough exercise (bad Melinda! bad!) Cinder loses her appetite and Emmett gets fussy about his food. It's purely anecdotal but my experience has been the opposite of what Leah says Rugaas said.
Some dogs working insanely crazy amounts (like sleddogs in 1,000 mile races) sometimes have indigestion, just as human endurance athletes do, but the "average dog" under discussion doesn't work nearly that hard.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

All you need to know about Social Security "reform": Your in-laws are going to have to live with you
Not in this country, they don't. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a 'pet obesity' problem would there?

Actually, Turid pointed at the U.S. specifically as a place where people tend to do too much (as she put it) "rushing" with their dogs.
The result of too much exercise without enough down time can be increased reactivity and physical problems.

This boggles the mind. Your average pet dog has plenty of down time during the 8-10 hours during the day ... asleep. I don't know very many people who keep their dogs going 5 or 6 hours a day, do you?

Yes, but if he's consistently being physically and emotionally aroused to a high level when the owners are home, then he doesn't have the down time he needs (days) for the levels of adrenaline to dissipate.
Besides, this does fly in the face of what dogs were originally meant to do. Many, many dogs were developed ... for the purpose they were originally intended for, IMO, the dogs get far less exercise than they were built for.

She addresses this, too. Not sure I can paraphrase it correctly... let me see if I can find the quote... here it is:
"None of our breeds have been specially bred for anything for more than a few thousand years, and compared to nature's own selection (maybe 30-60 million years ?) it is nothing. I think nature bred for survival, and therefore all dog breeds have in their background the same genes.
Yes, we have bred hounds for more rushing etc, but as a help for that stress most hounds are very, very good at relaxing most of the time when they are not hunting ! Herders, like border collies, never do herding every day. I have been in border collie country, and they may work hard one day, getting sheep home, then nothing to do for 2-3-4 days, sometimes more. Then 5 minutes work, or 1 hour, - it is very irregular, and they have LONG periods in between where they do nothing. Sometimes sitting in the back of the lorry, mostly lying around the farm."
This topic has been so controversial that she's on her second round trying to explain it.

Small wonder. Makes no sense to me. A GR is meant to go out and work in the field with its handler all day, yet one 20 minute ball playing session is bad for it? Maybe I'm missing something.

Like I said, it's been a controversial topic. :}
To the owner of the golden, who asked if the sessions were like a drug addict getting a fix:
"Yes, it is excatly like that. And 15-20 minutes is way to much. She goes on automatic triggers, not so much out of happiness. Have you tried something else, like concentrated nosework ? They are just as happy and it is better for them."
Another quote:
"I train approx. 1000-1200 dogs every year, and I therfore have a VAST material to take my views from, and after 15 years of this work, I am really convinced. As a matter of fact, I have no doubt anymore. Dogs do NOT require all that exercise. We make them do it, and therefore make them more stressed, so we have to exercise more, and make them more stressed, etc etc.
"When I have to work with overexercised dogs I see the same over and over again. They do not need it, we make them. You will neve see dogs in the wild do anything like it at all. Short, short playing sessions. Relax a lot, keeping their heads clear. Work when they have to. Not more."

Leah Roberts, Family Dog Trainer
It's A Dog's World
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Get Healthy, Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight http://re-vita.net/dfrntdrums
What exactly does she suggest dogs DO, if they aren't supposed to be exercised as much as a whopping 20 minutes?

Things at their own pace. Walking and sniffing.

Leah Roberts, Family Dog Trainer
It's A Dog's World
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Get Healthy, Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight http://re-vita.net/dfrntdrums
"I train approx. 1000-1200 dogs every year, and I therfore have a VAST material to take my views from, and ... it, and therefore make them more stressed, so we have to exercise more, and make them more stressed, etc etc.

well, she doesn't PERSONALLY train that many dogs every year, anymore than Marilyn did. Assuming 12 hour days, she could give a whopping ~4 hours to each dog over the course of a YEAR for 1200 dogs. Don't think so..

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
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