Warm up – why and how?
4th of May 2017
Being active in agility has taught me how important it is to warm up before every training and competition with my dogs. The warm up will prepare both body and mind to run agility.
Minimize the risk of injuries
The main reason I warm up both myself and my dog is to avoid injuries. In agility there are many sudden turns, fast movements and accelerations for both human and dog. Without warming up, you can easily strain something or even tear a muscle.
Imagine getting straight out of bed or the sofa to sprint 200 meters without warming up. The risk of injuries is one thing, but you would not perform anywhere near your best. Taking your dog directly from the car and onto the course to run agility is the same thing.
A bonus with the warm up for me, is that it helps me and my dog to focus since the routine is the same before training and competition.
How do I warm up?
– Walk the dog a few minutes for pee/poo (2-3 min)
– Walk and trot lightly with the dog while doing tricks (5 min)
– Warm up massage for shoulders, thighs, back and pelvis for the dog (2 min)
– Bend and stretch myself (2 min)
– Jog and sprint with my dog (5 min)
– Sending my dog around a jump/tree/chair (3 min)
The warm up lasts about 15-20 minutes and the goal is for both my dog and myself should have warm muscles as well as getting us into the right state of mind. After training/competition, we walk for a while to cool down.
Is the dog getting tired/too excited from the warm up?
If your dog is getting tired from the warm up, it is most likely mentally tired (not physically). Focus on physical warm up and make sure your dog has the required distance to other dogs or disturbing elements so it will not tire mentally.
If you have a dog that gets quickly excited from the warm up, you should do calm exercises like sit, down, stand and so on. If it cannot focus and keeps stressing you should give your dog more space from whatever is disturbing it.
The most important thing is to find a warm up routine that works for you and your dog.