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3 Exercises to increasing your Scent detection, Tracking and Trailing Dogs performance

We often forget how hard sniffing is for our dogs because it comes so naturally to them but sniffing is actually a huge work out for our pups even if it's just a sniff on their daily walks.   

Some facts to remind you how hard it is:

Dogs can only sniff or pant, they cannot do both at the same time so we need to ensure our dogs have good cardiovascular fitness and are at an appropriate temperature to get the best performance from them.  

Dogs that have poor cardiovascular fitness will be less effective at scent tasks and are more likely to need more frequent breaks.  

We also need to consider our dogs muscle strength and flexibility.  Often we are asking our dogs to traverse different terrains, heights of scent articles and especially when tracking so pretty tight turns.  

Ensuring our dogs have a good baseline strength and flexibility helps to ensure that they don’t get injured easily, even if they are accident prone!

So what 3 simple exercises can you start to incorporate into your dog's routine?

  1. Sit or down to stands- Sit and down to stands are a whole body activity that helps to improve your dog’s core and limb strength whilst also ensuring all their joints are functioning optimally too.  

  1. Swimming- Swimming is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness without impact to the joints.  The buoyancy of the water reduces impact but the resistance and hydrostatic pressure make it a hard workout.  Resistance makes each limb movement harder in water than it would be on land meaning your dog will gain muscle and strength quicker.  Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure of the water around your dogs body as they swim, this makes it harder for the lungs to expand and therefore helps to improve cardiovascular fitness.  But because of this it is important your dog is only swam for the length and intensity that they can safely manage.  This will be less for older and younger dogs and those with certain medical conditions.  For this reason I would suggest you always swim your dog at a registered hydrotherapy centre.  Check out the NARCH website to find your closest centre.  

  1. Spin- Teaching your dog a slow and controlled spin is a great way to warm up their spinal muscles and add in a self stretch to your warm up but is also a great exercise to practise at home to improve spinal and limb flexibility and ROM.  

Do you already do any of these exercises? 

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