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There are many cool tricks but I really like the walking handstand, so I started investigating how to efficiently train this to my dog.

A watched this clicker-training video (Youtube, "Train your dog the walking handstand!"). It mentions progressing slowly: the dog puts his hind paws on something progressively higher (e.g. one or more books). That makes sense to me and the dog needs time to get his balance right and to have enough strength on the muscles he need.

So my idea was to start as early as possible (my puppy is 5 months old), that would be a fun exercise for him.

However the video advices not to train that to puppies or before the dog is well over a year old.

Is this a good advice and could this be detrimental to the growth of the dog ?

  • I understand that puppies should not be trained to jump too high as it puts a lot of constraints on their skeletal system, however I don't see why this one would be that bad. – Cedric H. Mar 4 '14 at 14:57
  • it's more likely that the skeleton isn't fully grown yet before 12 months and jumping could shift partially bonded bones leaving your dog with a permanent limp – ratchet freak Mar 4 '14 at 15:57
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Here is my explanation for what growth plates are.

The reason why it's a bad idea to train a puppy to do handstands before the growth plates have closed, is because the growth plates are so soft and so important for how the bones develop.

If a growth plate is damaged, it will affect how the bone grows, it's what causes deformities and/or weak points in the bones as they grow. In this case, I would be most worried about the pressure on the joints, causing them to grow in a way that they would grind together strangely after they've developed. Causing problems with the joints, or even shoulders.

Here's a short pamphlet on puppy bone problems.

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