My Lewis turned two at the end of June. We're doing an on-going agility class, and have just begun doing some jumps. The instructor is conscious of not over-doing jumps at any one session because it takes time to build up the muscles. But she usually wants us to build up to competition height during our weekly classes. I don't have jumps at home to practice on between classes, but am about to build some. Should I be concerned about jumping Lewis at 24" very often? He's a tall, leggy lab/boxer cross, the canine equivalent of a young, sort of weedy TB. I was thinking I should stay lower a good bit till he turns at least three? Do dogs have the same joint issues with jumping that horses can have?
Many people think Lewis might be part Dane because he's so tall and leggy. I suspect his bones grew longer than they might have because we neutered him at about 3.5 months--my vet felt he was ready, and she was trying to save me a bit of $$ as she charges for neutering partly by weight. I know this can happen with horses--anyone know if the same applies to dogs? If so, it seems another reason to be concerned about doing too much jumping too soon.
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine
Two is plenty old enough for jumping full height with a dog. For large breeds I'd avoid heavy work/jumping until they're 18 months. I don't know a whole lot about agility dogs and joint issues. I would assume since it seems he was thoughtfully raised, he'd be okay but large breeds are always at risk.
Never jump them until they are a year, and then start low, but Lewis should be fine. When I school for obedience over jumps, I sometimes have them lower than they would jump in a show, and occasionally higher. Also be sure there's always a good surface for jumping --- I don't jump the dogs if the grass is wet, for example.