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Conditioning Dogs

Deb Mickey

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Conditioning is important if your dogs aren't working all day. I try to switch off running days and swimming days.


This is actually a tough subject to get hard information on.


Some people concentrate on distance covered; others, on time spent on longer, less speedy sessions.


I have yet to find any studies or planned programs as are available for human runners. I did at one time follow the runner patterns about distance then sprinting and so on.



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I find my dogs generally stay pretty hard just from accomanying me on my daily work. This farm is long and thin -- nearly a mile from the road to the back line, so just making the rounds we cover a lot of ground. I use a John Deere Gator around the place. They are both faster than the Gator, and love to run along with it.


Then we'll head off the farm and I'll let them mill around while I set or lift electronet.


Once I leave this place, I suppose we'll need to come up with a better training program both for them and me.

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I had a friend go to a sports medicine seminar for racing whippets. The vets said that herding dogs (I got my friend to bug the vets at every turn about what was good for herding dogs too) fall under the same category as racing dogs. They are considered sprinters because there is stops between movements, as opposed to sled dogs who don't stop. They said that you need to condition your dogs on a 4 day rotation. The first day is a short run, the second day is a medium run and the third day is a long run. The fourth day you rest and then you start over again with the first day. Apparently the day of rest is the most important because when you work them you break down muscle that then rebuilds on the rest day, coming back stronger. They also encourage running pups to build muscle memory. I don't know how young you can start but my 8 month old is having no problems running the 3 miles with the quad that we run on the third day. We'll see how they all look in the spring.

Jenny Glen

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How is thunder-butt...aka Kane doing on his conditioning....he was plump when he went up there....I bet he was tired after one block the first day.




When I used to compete at the World level in a sprinting type of sport..our workouts were be:


(prior to each workout, we would stretch and after each workout we would stretch)


day 1; long, slow 1-2 mile run, play a 1.5 hr game then a few monster drills (short turnaround sprints)


day 2: fast, long run , play a 1 hr game and tons of straight windsprints (100 yds)


day 3. run 50-100 flt of stair or something equal and then a short slow run, 1 mile or so


day 4 : LOTS windsprints and 1.5 hr game and then close with a 2-3 mile slow run


day 5: sleep and drink beer


day 6. play 2 games, one was a short warm-up then the second would be a competitive game


day 7: rest


With this schedule we did quite well and one key advantage was they would we run our opposition into the ground. Then it was easy picking after that.




On a side note, Tess was running 8-10 miles every other day before Nationals and then on the other days she would do 3 miles fast race with Jeff on the bike in addition to her sheep workout. She sure was fit at nationals and had tons of *oophs* when she got into the shedding ring.



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