We are fast approaching the end of the 2017 dog agility season; it has been an exciting year. We have talked a bit this year about how to get our dogs fighting fit for agility competitions, which has included warm up exercises and cool down exercises. As with humans, these are really important to help the dog avoid injury and if they do get injured, to help the body with its repair process. Don’t forget that muscular injuries can take up to two years to repair fully, CLICK HERE to read further about how this works.
What are your plans for the off-season?
If you have a dog agility athlete, what are your plans for the off-season? How did you and your dog get on this year? Did you improve on your run times and did you achieve that elusive clean run? If you did, congratulations! As with all competitions, I am sure there are things that you would like to improve upon. The off-season is the perfect time to plan your strategy for 2018, as well as give your dog a chance to recuperate both physically and mentally after a busy competitive season.
The off-season can also be used to assess and address any physical imbalances which may have occurred as a result of the sport. Dog agility places an unequal load on different parts of the canine body such as the neck and shoulders. Canine massage therapy can help identify muscle imbalances, helping to prevent both short and long term injuries, then aid with the repair process.
Exercise for the off-season
Whilst rest is important during the off-season it is still important to maintain basic fitness levels throughout. The Sports Fitness Advisor states that “Maintaining 50-60% fitness takes less effort than starting from scratch”. Although this article is aimed at humans, there is no reason why our canine athletes wouldn’t benefit from the same approach. This can be achieved via targeted exercises that you can carry out at home or during a dog walk, without the need for specialist equipment. We can provide you with an exercise routine to help your individual dogs needs, focusing on helping the dog build its core muscles, applying a similar principle to pilates in humans. So aiming to build core strength, improve balance, improve coordination and reduce the risk of injury.
At Big Brown dog we offer two packages which may help your agility dog. The first is our Muscle Conditioning Starter Package which would be ideal to help the dog initially wind down from the year’s competition, and then the second is our Performance and Sporting Dog Package, perfect for helping prepare your dog for next year’s competitions.
We wish you good luck for the 2018 dog agility season and look forward to seeing you out on the circuit. Of course if we can help in the meantime please do get in touch!
Photograph of Tabitha courtesy of Simone Stephenson (www.petdogagility.co.uk)