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 When is it time to retire ?

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Peanutbutter Posted - 01/23/2013 : 1:14:09 PM

I am putting together a small dog team and recently lent a dog from a musher. I was told she was 7 but turend out to be 9 years old. How long can she keep running and pull? When is it time for her to retire completly?

Does she need some special care for joints? Supplements?

9   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Peanutbutter Posted - 02/28/2013 : 09:13:31 AM
I can see that she really wants to run, she loves to work. But I also see that she can struggle a bit to keep up. Is there signs to watch out for if she has had enough or she can hurt herself?
I have scheduled a senior check up on her, full on with xrays and what not :)
She is really teaching us alot.
Log Dog Posted - 02/25/2013 : 8:45:19 PM
You've got a few more good years with her. As previously stated it really depends on the dog. Good old dogs always want to go, but can't keep up. Watch them closely and make sure they don't hurt themselves.

My old fella is 14. This is his first winter staying in the yard and it drives him nuts. The last two winters I had to watch him closely. He could only handle slow runs (small teams or hauling wood). He stopped leading when he was 11, just couldn't stay in front.

Kyle
husky.bell Posted - 02/25/2013 : 08:41:03 AM
I also saw a 11 year old Sibe run fantastic in a team at a WSA WC.
Peanutbutter Posted - 02/03/2013 : 11:06:22 AM
Thank you so much for all youre input :)
husky.bell Posted - 02/03/2013 : 10:49:32 AM
My 9 year old Siberian girl has a heart of an African Lion! She refuses to start "acting and running her age"!!!! I believe also they will suddenly just stop running one day and lay their head down..... If the human interferes with this huge desicion of the sled dog and decide FOR them, then the human kills them psychologically.
CrazyDaisy Posted - 01/25/2013 : 3:06:17 PM
I just skijor raced with a 9 year old, she had a tumour the size of a tennis ball removed from her bladder 2 yrs ago. She didn't pull hard anymore the 2nd half of the 4 mile race, but kept the pace enough that she wasn't necklining on her lead partner either.

A few hours later she ran again in the 2-dog sled race, only 2 km this time, and she still went strong.

I expect her to be a functional sled dog for at least a couple more years. My 10-12 year olds still do short runs, but cannot keep up the race dogs' pace, so I don't run them together. The older ones are effectively retired, because the two of them don't pull hard enough to get me moving on either skis or a sled.
swanny Posted - 01/23/2013 : 9:45:52 PM
Worth noting, Sebastian Schnuelle had a 13 year old leader in his last Iditarod team.
smushybanana Posted - 01/23/2013 : 1:52:13 PM
It is time for them to retire when they tell you they are done, or can no longer do physically what you ask. It very much depends on the dog - different dogs have told me they are done competing anywhere from 6-12 years old, and many will still run recreationally and/or train puppies into their teens. If you aren't going too far or fast and she still wants to go, 9 is not too old.
swanny Posted - 01/23/2013 : 1:48:31 PM
As she ages you may need to modify your runs to accommodate her slower speed and less endurance, but she can continue running so long as she is willing and her health allows. I had a leader I adopted at age 9 who continued to help train puppies through the age of 13, and died a year later.

It won't hurt to supplement her with glucosamine and condroitin or monthly injections of Adequan (off lable use of a product developed for racing horses). I'd suggest talking to your vet about supplementation.

She may be more prone to injury as she ages, but if you keep an eye on her and be conservative in treating those injuries she can run for a good long time yet.

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