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Three days ago I got a pup from a shelter home. He is 3 months old. The mum is a mixed breed with some Border Collie in her. He looks like a German Shepherd and also like he's going to be quite a big dog (massive paws).

He seems fast to learn things but he seems extremely lazy. His favourite activities are barking when other dogs bark in the neighborhood and chewing, anything else he won't do for more than a couple of minutes. He likes to tug but it very quickly gets tired and gets back to lying on the ground and he's got almost no interest in chasing. With a lot of effort you can tease him into a bit of a fight play (he's super gentle with play bites). He also seems super tired after a 30 min walk.

Question: Its it normal for a pup this age to be that exhausted?

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    Is he overweight or underweight? What's his diet and water intake like? And ofc, if he's sick, he would be less enthusiastic all the time despite good nutrition etc. – ankii Sep 15 at 17:30
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    30min walk for a 3 month puppy is far to long. A puppy of 3 months should be doing less than 15 minutes of exercise at a time – Luke Sep 15 at 22:19
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    A three-month-old pup is about the equivalent of a two-year-old human. Sure, take him to the vet and have him checked over - but HE'S A TODDLER! His muscles are still FAR from fully developed,he's burning up a ton of energy just growing, and if you're walking him for 1/2-an-hour at a time he's probably EXHAUSTED! Frankly, I'd save up your energy, because in about six weeks you are going to be tearing your hair out while he tears around the house/yard/neighborhood like a madman with a big loopy grin on his face that says "CATCH ME!!!!!". Ruh-roh... – Bob Jarvis Sep 16 at 1:58
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    Question I should have asked earlier: Did this shelter happen to neuter this puppy immediately prior to giving him to you? I think a lot of shelters insist on doing that themselves now, so they know for sure its been done. Recovering from an operation will of course slow anyone down. – T.E.D. Sep 17 at 13:44
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    No. He's not neutered yet. I had to sign a contract that I will do it when he's older – hithwen Sep 17 at 18:26
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Your puppies energy levels your described are what I would be expected from a 3-month-old. I would recommend exercising your puppy less at this stage.

1. Sleep

Most dogs sleep ~14 hours a day, most puppies will sleep up to 20 hours a day. Don't forget your puppy is still an infant and like you said he has a lot of growing to do! Sleep is important for the growth of your pup.

2. Exercise

I'm sure if you look around you may find different rules for exercise. I have always followed the rule of 5 minutes per month for a growing puppy at a time (can be multiple times per day). i.e if your puppy is 3 months old - they should be doing at most 15 minutes of exercise at a time. Longer than this can be overly demanding on your puppy and some vets believe could stunt the growth and create joint problems for larger breeds. Being part collie he will need plenty of exercises later - but for now, a lot of his energy should be growing big and healthy.

Personally, I have a 9-month old collie x GSP. He was very similar to your dog at 3 months when he would urgently need a rest after doing any exercise or training. From about 4-5 months he had more energy than he knew what to do with! He now gets 2x 45 min walks a day, is 30 kilos(and still growing!) and still won't stop chasing birds around the yard once we get home!


Of course, if you are worried about any change in the behaviour of your pet - you know them the best, and it is always safest to use your own discretion when seeking professional help.

(Some of these sources could be improved - I will try and update when I have the chance)

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    Ok, thanks for the info, my previous pup was hyperactive at two months (also a much smaller breed) so difference between the two is huge – hithwen Sep 16 at 7:32
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    @hithwen - Yes, larger dogs can be quite different and do have much more growing to do at this age (and for a much longer time). Note, I have assumed in my answer that you are up-to-date with your vaccines, de-worming, and defleaing. In NZ our shelters ensure that these are all done - but maybe I think I will add something on this to my answer. – Luke Sep 17 at 1:24
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That doesn't sound normal to me. Border collies can be calm and dignified, but I would expect even an adult one to have more energy than that. I would take him to a vet.

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    "Even an adult one"?!?! Puppies sleep a lot of the time. Forcing a puppy to go on long walks is massively damaging - their joints aren't up to it, and you're giving them a much higher risk of arthritis. You don't make a toddler keep to adult waking hours, do you? – Graham Sep 16 at 12:13
  • I overlooked the part about the long walks. – mhwombat Sep 16 at 12:14
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    This puppy will likely get a lot more hyper in a few more months, and will continue to be that way for a while, but a three month old puppy is always going to sleep most of the time – Kevin Wells Sep 16 at 19:01
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    Upvoted this answer. I've added another answer saying the same thing, along with a personal anecdote about seeing this happen. I hope you don't mind. – T.E.D. Sep 16 at 22:13
  • Yes, thanks. My concern was not that he sleeps a lot but that we doesn't put energy into anything when he is awake. Things improved in that sense yesterday though. – hithwen Sep 17 at 5:57
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Following up on mhwombat's answer...

My parents once picked up a "labrodoodle" puppy from a puppy mill, because they thought it sounded cool. I was sooo mad at them.

This was the most lethargic puppy I'd ever seen in my life. Quite clearly sick. I spent an entire 4th of July with it on my tummy trying to pet and cool it, and generally comfort it. When they took it to the vet's the next day, of course it turned out it was not only sick, but chock full of parasites.

(little bit of space here to simmer down...)

He's been a perfectly normal energetic pup since then.

The point here is that this is indeed unusual enough that you really ought to get the dog checked out. It probably won't be as bad as that labradoodle (that was super obvious), but its possible the shelter had a disease going around, or a parasite problem, and the puppy has picked that up. Either of those problems the vet should be able to get something to make the poor boy all better after a couple of days.

Another possibility that occurred to me is spaying/neutering. Many shelters these days insist on doing that themselves before handing over a pet, so that they know for sure it was done. Its perfectly natural for an otherwise energetic puppy to be lethargic for a few days after the operation. Particularly for spaying, which is I understand far more intrusive.

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    He's going to the vet for a checkup tomorrow. He's got his vaccines up to day and had a parasites pill last week. He seemed more active yesterday tbh, ran a little around throwing a toy and all and jumping in the grass on the walk. – hithwen Sep 17 at 5:56
  • @hithwen - Good to hear! – T.E.D. Sep 17 at 13:27

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