Warm up – why and how?

As an active agility competitor I have learned the importance of doing warm up exercises before every workout and competition with my dog. The warm up routine helps prepare the body and mind for training and running agility.

 

Avoid injuries and help focus

The main reason I do warm up is to avoid injuries. In agility there are many twist, turns and quick accelerations for both human and dog. Doing this without warming up is like asking for a sprain or a torn muscle. An added bonus with warming up is that it helps me and my dog focus on our task because the warm up routine is the same no matter where we are competing or training.

warm up

Photo: Mette Davik

How do I warm up?

My routine:

– Walking the dog to do her business (2-3 min)
– Walk and trot lightly with my dog while doing some tricks (5 min)
– Easy warming massage for shoulders, thighs, back and pelvis for my dog (2 min)
– Bend and stretch myself (2 min)
– Jogging and running with my dog (5 min)
– Doing wraps, sends and around (using jumps, trees, chairs) (3 min)

The routine approximately takes about 15-20 minutes and the goal is for mine and the dogs muscles to get warm as well as getting us into the correct mode, mentally. After our run/workout we will walk/trot for at least 10-15 minutes to cool down.

This is the routine I have developed for me and my dog, Buffy. When I ran with my oldest dog, Bella I had a different routine. Make sure you find what works best for you and your dog.

 

Troubleshooting

– My dog gets tired if we do warm up
Its likely the head (not the body) of your dog that becomes tired. Focus on walking/trotting/running with your dog and do not ask the dog to do commands (sit, down, stay, etc). Keep your distance to other dogs or other thing that may distract your dog (distractions will tire their mind).

– My dog gets stressed and crazy if we do warm up
Find somewhere without too many distractions to do the warm up. Do easy commands with your dog (sit, down, etc) around few distractions to help your dog stay focused.

 

warm up

Foto: Mette Davik

 

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