Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Post conditioning cool-out.

The gorgeous weekend was replaced by a rainy, damp and chilly start to the work week - it's really hard to get the dogs out and training when it's pouring rain and the ground is saturated. As a result both boys spent Monday and Tuesday in the house not doing much of anything (after the weekend where they spent a lot of time in the car either on the road or hanging out waiting to run or drive home again.

Above: Murphy leaps through leaves last fall.

So when the sun came out this afternoon we changed our plans from training to conditioning (and enjoying the sunshine and later light). First up was a bit of hillwork for Teller, where I stand on the top of a hill (small one) and throw a bumper down for him to retrieve back up to me. We haven't had a lot of opportunity to do hillwork this winter/spring first because of snow and cold and secondly I won't do hillwork when the footing is slippery - tonight I found the sandy hill mostly dry with good footing, so we were able to do about 10 minutes of hill work.

After hillwork, I let Murphy have his off-leash time (we were at the expo so he can be off-leash there) fetching his rope man while Teller walked with me...just walking, stretching and a bit of relaxing. After Murphy had his romp (as much as Murphy ever romps), I let Teller do some relatively long distance chuck-it retrieves. All-told another 20 minutes or so.

Above: A Teller-Woo sandwich.

After that they both went on leashes (flexis) for a 15-20 minute cool down walk/trot/amble before we went back to the car to go home. Perhaps it's from my time with horses both as a rider and a groom - but I think we have a tendency to short our dogs on the cool-down part of their training or conditioning. No, dogs are not small horses. Dogs are different anatomically but as mammals the process should be the same for our dogs as we do for ourselves. This is roughly:

  • Stretch

  • Warm-up

  • Stretch

  • Run/Train/Trial

  • Cool-out

  • Stretch
    I have to admit that I'm not so good at stretching and warming up myself - but I make a commitment to make sure that my dogs are properly warmed up and cooled out before and after training, before and after trialing and probably more importantly before and after any conditioning work....yet over and over again I see dogs running their course in agility, getting a few cookies and going right back into a crate or a car.

    Above: In greener (summer) days Teller keeps the squirrels at bay.

    Maybe...just maybe with the warm spring so far this year we just might get the pool opened the first weekend of April - bring on the swimmies!
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