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Pre-season activities to prepare for the 2024 agility season

What do you need to get a step up on your competition this summer season? 

  1. An explosive start line

  2. Tight turns

  3. Clear jumping and sharp contacts 

Sounds easy when you put it like that but how do we go about getting all those things? Especially those of us who don’t have equipment or the space to train at home.  In this article we will have a look at some easy exercises you can implement at home to help you when you get on the course.  

Let’s jump right in!

  1. An explosive start line

Explosive start lines give you a fast start to any run.  But how can you work on them at home with minimal space?  I like to look at a sit to stand exercise as the basis for my explosive start line.  A properly executed sit to stand has your dog pushing up from their hindlimbs (a bit like a doggy squat) perfect for building hindlimb awareness and muscle mass and strength.  Sit to stands also help to maintain and improve joint motion and lead to fewer knocked poles… we will talk more about this later.  

Sit to stands are perfect if you like to start your dog in a sit or a down before their run as practicing this position and then gradually adding acceleration means they will be pushing from the hindlimbs and not pulling from the forelimbs meaning that when you hit that first obstacle your dog can jump without having to shift thor weight.  This gives you a cleaner start and reduces the risk of knocking the first bar.  

Will you be adding a sit to stand into your dogs day? 

  1. Tight Turns

Want to tighten up your dogs turns but no wings at home? Why not try practicing slow circles and then faster spins? 

Slow circles help to ensure that the muscles and joints in your dog’s back and legs have the required stretch and movement to allow for tight turns.  These should be done in a walk to gradually increase back muscle stretch and joint movement, meaning that when you increase speed and tightness to make this a spin you reduce the risk of injury as your dog’s body is prepared and used to the mo  pattern.  This has the added benefit of making the turn much smoother and in turn tighter and quicker.  

Does your dog already know how to spin? 

  1. Clear jumping and Sharp contacts 

These can be the hardest things to improve without equipment, what can we do with no or very little equipment? 

Weight shifting exercises!  

As we discussed in part 1, when our dogs jump we need to ensure their weight is distributed so that they can both take off and land without knocking the pole.  Weight shifting exercises, as you might guess from the name, helps our dog learn how to shift their weight.  To do that they need to engage their core and all the little muscles around their joints, again helping in the long run to reduce injury risk.  

 These exercises also help out dogs to keep their balance on the contacts and if you have a stop contact you can even use these exercises to ensure your dog has a square stop making sure they don’t come off the side of the contact point.  

Weight shifting exercises are supper easy to do and can be done anywhere where your dog is able to stand.  Ensure your dog is stook square then simply sway their hips/shoulders without them moving and you’ve done your first weight shift. 

So let’s recap the 3 exercises I would put in an preseason workout:

  1. Sit to stands

  2. Circles

  3. Weight shifting

Need some more help creating a plan specific for your dog? No problem if you’re local to West Yorkshire drop us a message on Whatsapp (07531161608) to book a session with Vet physio Zoe.

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