Did you know...
...human sprinters on 100m thoroughly prepare and activate their muscles for more than an hour before they start?
And all they have to do is run straight for world record of 9,58 seconds!
Now imagine an agility dog clearing a course of 22 obstacles after only a short walk to wee, and briefly playing with a toy!
Think about what kind of motions dogs do when running an agility course:
In agility, the dog sprints, weaves, jumps, turns and twists, changes directions, accelerates and decelerates, and we simply cannot properly prepare the body for these high-power actions by only walking the dog.
The warm-up not only prepares the whole body system: nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolism, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, it also leads to an immediate improvement in performance, and helps reduce the risk of injury.
And when you have successfully finished your run or your training, don’t call it quits just yet! Not only it is very discouraging for the dog to be put away and ignored after a good job, a cool-down certainly serves to accelerate the recovery process, and helps the dog to relax and settle down.
Potential risks such as negotiating the equipment, late handler cues, and slippery surfaces can contribute to an increased risk for injuries. Most often damaged areas include the shoulder region, toes, and iliopsoas.
By warming up the dog prior to the activity we can:
Tremendously contribute to improved temperature in muscles and joints, allowing them to stretch and move within their better range of motion, reducing their susceptibility to injury
Improve extensibility of musculotendinous connections, which is believed to be one of the weakest links and most commonly damaged areas in the musculoskeletal system
Increase nerve impulse transmission and proprioception abilities - appreciation of joint position was found to be significantly more sensitive after warm-up
Increase cardiovascular function - heart rate, blood circulation and blood flow to the tissues, providing them with oxygen and nutrients
As well as encourage our dog’s mental preparation and focus
Maruša Podjed, Slovenia
Lisa Frick, Austria
Naarah Cuddy, Great Britain
Iwona Golab, Poland
Debora Severo, Italy
Tomoko Nakaminami, Japan
Anne Lenz, Germany
Lea Komat, Slovenia
Nina Gregl, Croatia
Katarina Podlipnik Capuder, Slovenia
Jana Gams, DVM, CCRP
● Doctor of veterinary medicine, Certified canine rehabilitation practitioner
● CEO of Dogs4motion veterinary rehabilitation and hydrotherapy center
● Active competitor on international level in Agility and FCI Obedience; dog training instructor
»As an owner of sporting dogs, with 15 years of experience in dog training field, and 8 years competing in agility, I know exactly the specific needs of sporting dogs, and how their trainings, and competitions look like. I combined my competing experiences with my proffessional field of work: graduated from veterinary medicine, and post-graduated from CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner). While working with sporting dogs on daily basis, including the participants in World Agility Championships and other big international events, I know also their most frequent consequences of excessive sports stress.«