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Winter fitness plans for agility dogs

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Whether you take a break over the winter or compete all the way through keeping on top of your agility dog's fitness is a must.


But where do you start?


Firstly this depends if your dog has had some time off over the summer or if you plan to rest them over the winter period. If you plan to rest your dog over the winter period you can take it easy with your dog's fitness plan but if you plan to keep competing or get back to competition after a summer break you might want to step it up.


SO in this months blog let's take a look at the key points we need to consider for each agility dog this winter.


Fitness plans for agility dogs taking a break over winter


Key points to focus on:

  • Core strength

  • Rest days

  • ROM


Maintaining our dog's core strength even through a break will give us a quicker recovery time as we transition into getting back to full training and competition. My favourite core exercises that are dead easy to keep up with are slow lead walking and weight shifting.


Keeping our dog's joints in good condition and maintaining their range of motion (ROM) helps us prevent injury and ensure our dogs can easily perform the tasks we need for agility such as jumping and weaving. My favourite exercise to include is cavaletti and adding omega 3 to your dog's diet can be a big help too.


And don’t forget to actually take those rest days too! Rest days can be as simple as shorter walks or a whole day off.




Fitness plans for agility dogs getting back into training/competing


Key points to focus on:

  • Core strength

  • Stamina

  • Skill/technique


If whilst your dogs been having a rest if you have been keeping up with their core strength you can add in some more advanced exercises such as weight shifting on wobble cushions or tricks like spins and beg, but if you haven’t been keeping up with core exercises stick with the easy exercises mentioned above.


Stamina is often overlooked and is super easy to improve but just gradually increasing the amount of exercise your dog is getting or the intensity of the exercise. You could start by increasing off lead time or the length of your dogs walks.


Finally getting back to training and working on short sequences and individual techniques can be a nice way of getting back to training and ultimately competing. For more help check out this article at agilitynet https://www.agilitynet.co.uk/training/comingbacktotraining_aftercovid_zoehindle.htm




Fitness plans for agility dogs continuing competing throughout the winter


Key points to focus on:

  • Stamina

  • Rest

  • Injury prevention


For those of you powering through your top priorities are going to be adding in periods of rest and preventing injury. This can be through increasing stamina in the preseason to ensure your dog is properly prepared. You can also ensure your dog has regular physio checks and is of a healthy weight.


You should also add in days of little to no exercise and training to give your dogs a rest from active work. A good brain puzzle can be a good distraction.


For more in-depth help with fitness planning check out this blog to get you started https://www.fitpetphysio.com/post/5-steps-to-choosing-your-dog-and-horse-s-fitness-exercises

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