I have read a lot about how to build up your training season. You need to have training, competition and rest period during your year program. In sports training people spend lots of time to build up their training year so that they could be at their best in the most important competitions. This is also something we need think with dogs. Especially in agility dog to high performance work that ask a lot from their whole body. As dog trainers we should also build up training and rest routine for our dogs. Did you know that you could roughly say that 1 year old dog needs at least one day to recover and 5 year old dog 5 days to recover from hard competition day? To me this was a little surprise how fast the recovery time rises. This would actually mean I could safely push Pixies limits only once a week and other times keep the training and competition work to minimal. With her it is pretty easy because she knows her stuff.
For whole year I make rough plan how I keep my training and rest periods. My plans evolve with how my dogs are doing and how I my own training is going. I usually keep a longer brake during Christmas time. At least 3 weeks without training. This is a recovery time for all of us. Other bigger brake is kept after tryout season. Then we usually keep at least 2-3 week brake enjoy the summer. I think, it’s important watch your dogs’ behavior and condition to make fast changes to your plan if needed. I have only seen improvement after our brakes. Learning goes forward and movement also becomes better.
During training season we work with three different areas. Body balance, muscle work and of course specific sport training. I think it is important to build up your dogs’ body as good as possible. Going to walks and run is part of it but one important piece is core work. More stable the body less injuries you get. We do core work three times a week with balance pillow, different platform and trick. At the same practice I also do stretching exercises. This helps to keep the body working smoothly. Usually training session last about 5-10 min. I have also thought my dogs to stretch with cue and I always praise long stretching. Muscle work includes hill work and also lactic acid training during walks just build up my dogs’ durance. I do lactic acid training only if I’m not doing hard agility training because agility is always anaerobic training because its high speed. Little things can sometimes make difference. Listen to your dog. Help it become balanced in body and in mind.
For everyday work
In everyday training it important to remember warm up work and cooling walks. Warm up are as important to us as it is to dog. You can try to run full speed 100 m run or do 20-40 tendon jumps without warming up. Next day you can feel how the dog feels if you do agility training without warming up. Cooling down is as important because it help body recover from anaerobic training with causes lactic acid to build up in muscles. Lactic acid is one the reasons our muscles get stiff and painful. I do usually warming up walks that last about 30 minutes and rise speed and stamina all the way of the warming up routine. Cooling down routine I do in two steps. 20-30 minute walk right after agility run /competition and second round two hours after when I do trot run about 45-60 minutes. With these routines I hope give my dogs the best treatment to keep them in good shape. Of course these routines make my body recover too.