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How do you conditions your dogs for sports? And do you: see an improvement in your dogs? Less chance of them getting broken? And do you still spend the same amount on up keep(massage and chiropractic care)?

 

Also what type of stretches do you do with them?

 

Thanks just curious. :)

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I am lucky to live in a rural area and can let my dog free-range when I walk. We go on at least one 30-40 minute walk (for me) once a day in addition to several other short walks for doing his business. I will try to up his aerobic activity a couple of times a week with short sessions (~5 minutes) of fetch. I can not speak to if he has improved because of this because we have always had this routine. My rehab vet does encourage me to let him walk and free range as some of the best exercise for keeping a dog fit. Of course, any time a dog (or human) is fit, there will generally be less probability of injury (as long as the dog isn't doing anything crazy).

 

I do not routinely ask my dog to do stretches, but have heard that bows and sport ball work can be helpful. WRT right before an agility run, I will try to walk or slow jog my dog for about 5 minutes to get the blood flowing, then I will ask for some backing up or bows or a few other tricks. I very seldom will use the practice jump, and if I do, I always jump him after he has had his 5 minute warm-up. Not only does my rehab vet recommend this routine, but I have also read a similar recommendation by another sport vet (Chris Zink?, I think).

 

Jovi

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No - no special conditioning, massage, stretches, physio, chiro etc. I only spend money and effort on anything if convinced that it is needed, not because other people do. I do think there is a tendency to overcomplicate things.

 

In 15 years we have had 7 agility dogs and no agility related injuries - and only a couple of others. They have never needed "upkeep". If I really needed to spend money routinely on keeping my dog in shape to do agility I would question whether it should be doing it at all.

 

Before a run my daughter will run her dog in the exercise area and do some turns with him but that's as much to focus his mind as anything. Our 12 1/2 year old has hardly ever been warmed up in any really effective way and is still going strong in competition.

 

Like gcv-border, normal life is enough to keep our dogs agility fit. Routine is to take them to the salt marshes where they run like bats out of hell and the terrain is so irregular with deep channels that they have to jump and adjust their stride and direction at speed. That's the best training and conditioning they can get to my mind, and they don't get warmed up or stretched before they do that either.

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I agree with the gang - lots of walks. we also live rural, in the mountains, so lots of self exercising over rough terrain. I think the dogs jumping over trees, creek, etc, teaches them to keep their feet up too. you crash into a log, it's gonna hurt. when we do train for agility, we keep it short, maybe 15 to 20 min for each dog and end on something positive.

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I am another who does nothing special. Our dogs are very fit from lots off leash exercise, they get a good core workout from leaping running and jumping. In the summer they swim often. The young one is also my running partner, which is for my benefit not his.

I have had chiropractic work done, but only when there was a problem with my older dog, who had very dodgy hips and his pelvis used to go out of alignment until the chiropractor got a good fix for him.

My husband is a very good dog masseur and he will give them a good massage after a strenuous outing mostly because it is obvious they enjoy it.

We are active people with active dogs... Of which agility is a very small part of their weekly activity.

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I am the one that needs conditioning for agility...lol.

 

Meg runs off leash in the fields and gets very muscular in the warmer months. In the winter time with the snow and ice, its harder for both of us to stay in shape.

 

She stretches quite a bit on her own before an agility run with no guidance from me.

 

We also play ball and Frisbee, mostly for fun, but its a good workout for her too.

 

We also swim in the lake, though up to this point Meg hasn't been as enthusiastic about it as me. Swimming is great for Bear, who has bad hips and now a bad back. Meg comes too, but she hasn't been all that excited about getting in the water. Last summer was the first year she actually chose to swim (rather than just get her feet wet) and also played fetch in the water. This year she's getting a life jacket to help her keep her head up better.

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Last year I started taking Speedy and Tessa for walks in the woods 2 - 4 times a week for conditioning (and to enjoy nature!!). I believe it was beneficial for all of us. We have only been twice this season - once in February and once a week ago, but we are all eager to get back to it as soon as the cold weather is gone for good.

 

I used to rollerblade with Maddie to condition for Agility. She would trot along while I skated. I don't run, except when I run in Agility (unless I'm really late for something)!! We both enjoyed it. I am considering teaching Dean to do this in the upcoming summer - if I can still skate. I guess I won't know until I try to put them on.

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Just everyday exercise here, too. Off leash runs, ball, swimming, biking. I use common sense and don't let them go 0-60 (i.e. kenneled to all out ball without some warm up exercise/trotting around)

 

I would certainly consider a chiro if my dog was acting stiff or off - with the way they leap/jump/twist I could see how something could be out whack and therefore a chiro adjustment would be beneficial. But I don't take them to a chiro on a regular/preventative basis

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Mmmmmm I make a pretty good effort to keep my guys healthy and fit... I believe the daily physical exercise keeps them healthy physicly and mentally....I know it sounds kinda silly but like a long hard day working the farm/field, I believe a good long walk at least once a day in varying locations helps calm the mind and gives them a feeling of going somewhere or accomplishing something :) Plus it's very calming for me also!!

 

They get about an hour off-leash hike a day...I vary the locations for variety.. I usually warm them up for 5 minutes, and if I am going to do any cardio I do some fetching after the 5 minute warm ups...then do the rest of our hike after the more intense exercise....I found this to be way more beneficial than a loooonnngg hike and fetching at the end if there is any fetching..I'll vary a frisbee/bumper or tennis ball also to kind of mix it up :) Then I'll put the fetching toy away/back in the car whatever and finish our hike(they will relax and settle into there walk when the toy is away)...

 

In the winter I mix it up with skijoring to get the heart rates up(human and canine ;)..throwing bigger ball toys/etc in deep snow....summmer we do ALOT of swimming/dock diving...and trail running....jogging and rollerblading in summer also...usually by a body of water so we can take a break and do some water retrieving/cool down...

 

They get a good massage/look over about once a month...

 

I've worked with a reputable rehab lady when my one guy pulled a groin muscle....and she urged(after rehab)..lots of hiking/off leash running...short spurts of cardio...and I ran hills with my dogs to strengthen there core and hind ends....I do those about twice a week...

 

Most my sheepdogging friends let the weekly work on the farm/training on sheep do the conditioning for them and that seems to be fine for them...I do know if they are preparing for a big trial or a string of them..they usually take there dogs free-running or jogging next to a 4 wheeler for a couple miles a day to build endurance..

 

I understand the mentality of hyper-focusing on things....I know plenty of agility people that invest in there stretching/conditioning who's dogs get injured, or the latest fad on getting an edge with your dogs competitive wise seems to be popping up all to often...but it's probably safe to say that like any finely tuned athlete one that's fit and mentally/physically fit enough to do the job will have a higher probability of doing that job and staying injury free...

 

I don't mind putting the work in as I enjoy staying physically fit and active myself so it's a win win :) I might cross the line at making my dogs try Yoga though... ;)

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I'm pretty lazy regarding warming up/cooling down my dog before & after runs. I just forget, but really should do it more often.

 

I also have a FitPaws peanut that is collecting dust in the garage.

 

Our daily routine has 30-90 minutes of off leash running, but I can only get out for real hikes a few times a month as I live in a city. What I really swear by are tricks. We do a lot of proprioception type work and lots of core building tricks like begging -> standing on 2 feet -> begging repetitions on different surfaces, as well as handstands, backwards walking, spins, etc.

 

And of course I keep her weight down as low as I can. Right now she's a little soft due to the winter and me being a bit too busy to really run her these past few months, but come the summer she'll be out more, and we'll do more hiking and bike riding together.

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Elsie goes for an off-lead walk every day, we live in town so it's usually in a park. We also do some training and fetch while in the park. Some days we go to the forest with other dogs and she runs around like a loony.

 

She plays a lot of tug at home, and we play all sorts of games and teach tricks in the house :)

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