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speckle-legged dog

Before leaving for the trial, what exerecise?

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I am still pretty new to dog agility and am wondering what the best sort of exercise you have found to do with a dog the morning before you leave for an agility trial? This weekend we will be going back and forth from Lexington to Louisville, KY (about 70 miles) each day for the three day AKC trial, so I will be able to do some kind of exercise or warm up with my dog before we leave home.

 

I have tried different things in the past year we have been trialing, more when I am commuting from home than when staying at a hotel. I haven't found that playing ball fetch calms her down particularly, despite the energy she expends (she can go very over the top at agility trials, she LOVES AGILITY). I think the best result was when I walked her about 3 or 4 miles before we left, which is our normal morning walk; it's just hard on my middle-aged body to do so much then drive 70 miles, then run agility and drive back and start over the next day.

 

If anyone has any suggestions that would be great. This is only our second AKC trial, since my Layla only fairly recently decided that that the teeter was doable, we've been mostly doing NADAC. She was measured at 18" the first time so she was able to jump 16", she jumps 20' in NADAC, but it would be nice if she could come out with another 18" measurement. She is right on that edge between jump heights. We did our long walk before she received that first, favorable measurement.

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I don't do anything really. just walk my dogs as usual. let them romp a bit. if anything, i'll stretch them out before running if they've been sitting in the crate for awhile and let them do a few practice jumps. I don't get my dogs overly tired or overly ramped up before a trial, just business as usual. if I had to do something that wasn't too stressful on myself, I would do some focus games, like "touch" or small tricks that make her think.

have a great time and good luck!

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I don't do anything really. just walk my dogs as usual. let them romp a bit. if anything, i'll stretch them out before running if they've been sitting in the crate for awhile and let them do a few practice jumps. I don't get my dogs overly tired or overly ramped up before a trial, just business as usual. if I had to do something that wasn't too stressful on myself, I would do some focus games, like "touch" or small tricks that make her think.

have a great time and good luck!

 

Thanks! That is very helpful. Reminds me that going through some obedience with her before runs has help a lot on her focus in the past. I think I might do some walking and focus Saturday morning. Probably a very good idea.

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Great suggestion - to work on focus exercises before a run.

 

As far as warming up, try to get her out to walk for about 5 or more minutes before the run also to warm up her joints (and yours too!). My rehab vet (and I have read the same suggestions from another expert online) does not recommend taking your dog out of the crate and using the practice jump for a warm-up. Your dog's joints may be 'cold' from sitting/laying in a crate, so it is better to warm them up with moderate gaiting (walking or slow jogging) for a bit. Once warmed up, then use the practice jump.

 

You don't have to do the 5-10 minute warm-up immediately before your run - or else you might not be able to do the walk-through depending on when your dog runs. If I think that my dog will run within 10-15 minutes after the end of the walk-through, I will try to walk/jog for about 10 minutes before I do my walk-through, put him back in the crate during my walk-through, then take him out again after the walk-through to keep the joints loose. The joints and muscles will stay 'warm' for the 10 minutes or so during your walk-through. If the schedule indicates that you will have at least 20 minutes before your run, then you can warm up after the walk-through.

 

Jovi

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I don't do anything before leaving home, my boy hates mornings and sleeps all the way there. I try and give him the chance for walk or a scamper off leash if possible when we arrive. I struggle with warmups as in both NADAC and USDAA I struggle with the timing of runs and we are very often first dog up. I don't rev him up ever.... The site of the equipment is enough, I want his brain engaged. I also don't play many tricks etc we just hangout get a rub etc... Stay calm.

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Just to add a bit, if I'm in line behind a bunch of dogs waiting to run, I also like to massage my dog. It keeps muscles loose and keeps my connection with her or him going. I also like to to take those last two or three minutes to think about what my dog needs from me as a handler to finish the run happy (and maybe clean) . Massage doesn't upset anyone like a play or tug session might, but if I've warmed up, it keeps the muscles/hamstrings, etc. loose.

 

I play ball at home before driving to trials but my dogs fall asleep in the car. I run the A/C at maximum to encourage them to curl up and sleep in the summer.

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I don't do anything with mine the morning of a trial. Once we get to the trial site and set up, if it's USDAA (no stupid off leash rules), then I will throw the ball for him a little. I don't want him to get over heated or tired, so just a bit. Obviously I can't do that with AKC, though. In both venues, I make sure to walk him before we run as a warm up. And after we walk a bit, I may put him over the practice jump a couple of times.

 

Keep in mind he's not amped up at agility trials, so I'm not trying to wear him out, or bring him down. I want him as fresh as possible, while still being warmed up.

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Thanks for all the responses!

 

I need to try to use a lot of these suggestions. Layla gets so amped up that I have to treat her to even get her to allow me to rub on her while we are waiting for our run. I am generally working toward focus and getting as much of her edge off as possible. I am also lucky, as many of your dogs, that she just falls asleep once we get in the car.

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Speckle legged you mentioned that you were relatively new to competing, I know my first year I was tense and anxious ... Just wanted to do best by my dog, what I have subsequently realized that as I became comfortable so did my motion reactive dog, our first few trials he was one of those annoying lunging border collies, yes I invested in control unleashed but looking back I think my attitude played a huge part. After a couple of years you would never have guessed he was reactive. My current dog has never known me any other way and we stroll into the ring, but as soon as I say sit he becomes a coiled spring ready to launch. To be honest I am completely befuddled by those that rev their border collies up before a run mine doesn't focus as well when he is amped up, and I know they are no faster.

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The main priority for us setting off to a show in the morning is to get the dogs into the car as quietly as possible without waking the neighbours. Anything we could do with the dogs before we set off would have worn off long before we get to the show and even longer before they run.

 

Warming up before a run usually consists of focus work with the dog getting it to tune in to instant cues and responses at speed. The body gets warmed up at the same time if the work can be done off lead. That isn't a problem for us here but I'm told you don't always have places for the dogs to run free over there.

 

Waiting in the queue to run is more a case of keeping the dog calm and focussed but if there is a long wait a few push ups and spins can be included.

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Speckle legged you mentioned that you were relatively new to competing, I know my first year I was tense and anxious ... Just wanted to do best by my dog, what I have subsequently realized that as I became comfortable so did my motion reactive dog, our first few trials he was one of those annoying lunging border collies, yes I invested in control unleashed but looking back I think my attitude played a huge part. After a couple of years you would never have guessed he was reactive. My current dog has never known me any other way and we stroll into the ring, but as soon as I say sit he becomes a coiled spring ready to launch. To be honest I am completely befuddled by those that rev their border collies up before a run mine doesn't focus as well when he is amped up, and I know they are no faster.

That's a huge problem for me. I tend to get nervous and it goes right down the leash. We have been going to trials just over a year, mostly NADAC, this will be our second AKC trial. I had to get my focus back during the NADAC trial we went to earlier in the month after Layla had one bad run I caused several worried about her following me. I had to get off to myself and just focus and we got much better after that.

 

I can't imagine wanting to rev Layla up, she gets revved up just seeing that we are at a trial, my dog does not require additional juice, batteries ARE included. When we are on it is so much fun though. When we both get over the top we are a massive train wreck, LOL. I have been using our usual morning walk time to just practice handling with a few NADAC style hoops this week (some version of which I may do Saturday morning). Trying to keep it in my mind that my dog will follow me, I have to trust her. Going to some run throughs where we have class tonight, the courses will be quite difficult, I like that, it will help us this weekend. Last week the courses were hard and Layla was amazing (me, less so, much less, I wish she could read the numbered cones).

 

Maybe it's the natural course of things that a person who tends to have a lot of anxiety and obsessiveness walked into the animal shelter 3 years ago and came out with a (mostly) BC pup! Whatever it is, I'll never be sorry. She's a trip!

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I can't imagine wanting to rev Layla up, she gets revved up just seeing that we are at a trial, my dog does not require additional juice, batteries ARE included. When we are on it is so much fun though. When we both get over the top we are a massive train wreck,

 

Maybe you both need to practice some relaxation techniques. :)

 

Some nice deep breathing exercises may be good for you. . . .

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