Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November - conditioning phase

Just a quick note on getting my dogs back to fitness for agility. I believe that dogs have to be fit to do agility, because twisting at high speeds, braking, landing impact, and sharp turning movements, are demanding on muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. A dog must be fit in order to be able to do all these things. I have read articles by many experts in canine fitness, who talk about the importance of background fitness and conditioning in agility dogs. So what does it involve? Having been involved in the past with athletics and training horses, I found the same idea was employed in both cases. If you want you, your horse, or your dog, to be fit enough to sprint and jump, the first conditioning phase involves a gradual increase in low impact cardiovascular conditioning, improving stamina and strengthening muscle, tendon, ligament and bone. Although muscles respond very quickly to exercise, tendons and ligaments have a relatively poor blood supply and may take 6 weeks to repair, so the increase in work must be gradual to avoid injury (no more than a 10% increase in load per week). For my dogs this means that I am increasing their walks (and trying to find hilly places to walk them!), taking them swimming if time and finances will allow, we are going back to self control games (for waits etc.), and including lots of co-ordination and balance games which are so useful to build or maintain core muscle strength: http://agilitynet.co.uk/training/co-ordinationandbalance_hannahbanks.html

1 comment:

  1. Very good post, We have to keep our pets in fit and healthier conditions.


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