AgilityNerd

Please Warm Up Before Entering the Ring!

Please Warm Up Before Entering the Ring!

03 Sep 2014Steve Schwarz

All teams do specific things before they enter the ring. Potty the handler, potty the dog, get their treats/toy, go through the Seeing/Simulation step of PAWS, etc. I think that “ritual” is very important. But there was one thing I would love to see more handlers do before every run:

Warm up yourself and your dog

I wouldn’t be surprised if many soft tissue injuries are caused by a dog or handler who has been sitting still for a long time and then running full out. Agility can be a sport with lots of explosive movements and changes of direction - for the dog if not for the handler. Those movements put a lot of stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Almost 10 years ago I wrote up Milo’s warm up routine which is more elaborate than I do today. I’ve greatly simplified it to about 5 minutes of walking to jogging. While jogging I do some “sport specific” drills: Rear Crosses Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross, Front Crosses Front CrossLearning the Front Cross, Shoulder Pulls Post Turn/Shoulder Pull/Pivot TurnLearning the Post Turn and Come to Side. Then when I feel my muscles are warm we might do a couple jumps on a practice jump - usually based on some handling aspect of the course we are about to run.

The effect of a warm up lasts pretty long so you can do it before your dog’s agility class. Use your body as a guide. If you still feel loose and warm when it is time to run it is likely your dog is too.

So if you have multiple runs in a trial or a class you might only need a full warm up before your first run and then just a short walk to jog before subsequent runs. Again use your body as a guide. For most performance dogs a few extra minutes of jogging shouldn’t take anything out of their performance in the ring.

I want us all to have a long healthy agility careers so please warm up yourself and your dog before every run. Don’t forget to warm up before your classes too!

This article is part of a Dog Agility Blogger Event all about activities outside the ring that help inside the ring.

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