Warm Up in Stages
Holmes is a Chartered
Physiotherapist, not a dog trainer, but she has agreed to suggest some
warm up exercises from the perspective of a physio. Using her first hand knowledge of
agility, here is her advice which she hopes you will find helpful.
Warm-ups need to be sufficiently long to increase
the dog’s core temperature. If you think about how we warm-up, we start gently and
gradually increase the intensity.
I suggest that, in an ideal world: -
Stage 1 -
Initially let the dog run free, to go to the toilet and smell around This is good, but
Stage 2 -
Then encourage the dog to jog or run about at a moderate pace, ideally on a lead with
the handler so the speed can be controlled,
Stage 3 -
Then you can do some sprint work with the dog by throwing a ball etc. If this is
done too early, it would be like us doing a sprint exercise as a warm-up for a jog.
Stage 4 -
Start to introduce turns, and change of directions
Stage 5 -
Practice a jump, weave and a contact
Stage 6 - Entry the ring within ten
minutes of completing warm-up
Stage 1-5 should probably take 15-20 minutes. We
can all do stages 1-4 without any changes at the shows. As long as we can keep the dog
warm, there can be half an hour between warm-up and entering the ring, so most of this
I appreciate the jump, weave and contacts are
difficult, but it would be good to see it trialed at shows where there is enough space
and see how people find it.
My Warm Up Program
Peterson, from the wilds of West Texas, is not a member of the medical profession -
just an agility handler who enjoys running her Samoyeds and wants to keep them injury
free! She didn't find anything on warming up on the net, but working with her vet, a
canine masseuse and her 45+ year old football player husband, she's come up with some
things that seem to help.
1) Walk the dog, starting with a slow
stroll and building to a trot, for at least five minutes, longer if the dog has been
crated or in the car for a long time or the weather is cold.
2) Teach the dog to work at the end of a
leash, similar to a horse on a long line. Trot the dog at least three minutes in each
3) Teach the dog to weave in and out of
your legs, like a figure 8, in each direction. This helps warm up the back muscles.
4) Gently massage the large muscles of the
thigh and the shoulder. Teach the dog to stretch or bow on command, and use this with
5) Do the warm up jump if you want to,
although I cannot tell that it helps any after all the above is done.
6) Do not stretch or pull legs, or stand
the dog on its forequarters, stretching out the rear. It is very easy to tear muscle
fibers, and this is a good way to do it.
7) After the run, walk the dog cool before
putting away. In the evening, check for heat in any joint and ice it. Gently massage
the entire body, watching for tenderness. Ice is not likely to hurt any tender spot.
Keep in mind, I am not an expert on this, but
some friends who are 'mushers' have also tried this regime and find that the dogs are
not as weary at the end of the day.