This weeks tip is all about how to condition and exercise your dog. This is a very careful and planned out process if you end goal is to creat a canine athlete. If you just want to exercise your dog and have fun it’s MUCH easier!
For the majority of owners the latter is true, and your biggest obstacles Is making sure you want until the dog is fully developed physically before putting to much pressure on his joints and bones. Now this is a DIFFERENT age for different breeds but your working dogs (German shepherd dogs, Belgian malinois, Labrador retrievers ect) should all be limited in any high jumping or running pavement or long distances till 18 months. This gives the growth plates more time to close and the body the necessary time to mature. So for your pet dog no running or biking with you, no high frisbee catches or long stressful hikes. Once they have reached the maturity age you can slowly introduce your passion such as biking or running.
For your working dogs, i generally set up a conditioning schedule that is tailored to what the dogs job will be. With my girls who are all search dogs we started out with short runs (1 to 1.5 miles on pavement) and worked up from there. I typically run 10-15 miles a week myself so it wasn’t hard to add them in to whichever days i needed to (no more then 5 days a week) till they had the athleticism that i desired. If you are going to take this route make sure you consult either your trainer or your veterinarian prior to make sure you have a plan that is right for your dog! My 2 area search dogs cover the most ground during training versus my trailing dog who travels only where i do (we are attached by a leash of course!) but she can outrun in speed and distance my other 2 any day!
In addition to running roads we also swim them twice a week, which is excellent for any age dog as it is the most low impact exercise you can get! On average between search problems, running, ball throwing, walks and hiking they will get 20-40 miles a week. This is A LOT of exercise for most dogs and if i had not conditioned them slowly i would have joint and bone problems. Raina and Abby will be in training the rest of the summer to jog next to a bike so we can get their Ausdauerprüfung (AD)