Warming Up Your Dog

02 Jun 2005Steve Schwarz

Whenever Milo’s biceps tendonitis flares up I am re-reminded about how important it is to warm him up before each run (at a trial and at practice). Once he is warmed up we do some stretches for him and stretches for me too. So here are some ideas that you can incorporate into warming up your dog.

The Fido’n Friends website has a nice description of a warmup ritual that anyone can follow before they get in the ring. I definitely agree that it is important to warm up the handler too. Just as important is getting used to performing the handling manuevers you will perform on course.

My Warm Up Routine

On the flat:

With a practice jump:
  • Go jump with increasing approach angles from my right and left sides
  • Jump wraps in a figure eight around each jump standard
  • Jump wraps with a Front Cross on the take-off side, into a Post Turn back to the jump and repeat going the other way.

At a trial you can’t monopolize the practice jump with an elaborate jump based warmup but my little jumping sequence only takes a minute.

Having a warmup routine can also help you if you need to run someone else’s dog. I have to give credit to Bud Houston who I’ve seen do a little series of Front Crosses and Post Turns to get ready and connect with seminar attendee’s dogs being used in demonstrations. I used my little warm up routine with Dana Pike’s BC Ticket this past weekend at the Dana Pike, Rhonda Carter, and Jen Pinder Seminar I attended when Milo was looking sore. I’d never run Ticket before but we did pretty well together (well he certainly did more than his part of the work :^).

You can also use part of your warm up routine if you get into the ring and there is a delay. There was a problem with the electronic timing when I went to the line at a trial a couple weeks ago. So I pulled Milo back from the line and did Front Cross figure eights and played the Ready Game to keep him focused on me while it was sorted out. After the delay he took off from the line with even more excitement than usual!

Having a “ritual” for getting ready can help nervous dogs and handlers too. So come up with a warm up routine and use it so that you and your dog can be mentally and physically ready to take the course.

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