Are you a weekend warrior? Or do you prepare yourself physically for the sport of dog agility?
What about your dog? Is he in good physical condition for the demanding sport of canine agility?
It should seem obvious that we need to keep ourselves and our dogs in good physical condition for the sport of dog agility, but it isn’t. I am not saying that both handler and dog need be in perfect condition in order to play in this sport, but rather in a healthy condition so as not to add unnecessary stress to joints, muscles, and ligaments.
If you’re like me, your daily to-do list is so long, it is easy to forget to include physical conditioning for yourself. So, here are five tips to help condition you (and your dog):
1. Earn Your Meals
This sounds daunting, but it is really simple. Before breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, do a simple activity. You can choose 10 lunges or 30 sit-ups. It’s up to you how challenging you want your task to be, and what you want to target. You can choose to work on your cardio or strength. Don’t have time to train before every meal? That’s fine…even applying this method to one meal a day will add up to huge results!
This is also a fun method for conditioning your dog. You can use their daily kibble for balance exercises (boso balls, wobble discs, sit-up/beg, and so on), training (recalls, jumping grids, and more), and at the same time you are enhancing your relationship while increasing your dog’s work ethic!
2. DON’T Diet
Eat healthy. Make sure to drink lots of water. But don’t follow a fad diet that will cause you to break down with a craving failure later on. Becoming healthy is about creating a lifestyle, not following something that gets me to my goal then dropping that something once I’ve achieved my end result.
Most dog agility competitors feed their dogs better than they feed themselves. You work hard to find nutritionally balanced options for your dogs. Take the time to take care of yourself too. Remember, this is a team sport.
3. Set a Goal
I tend to start new things on the 1st of a new month. For example, in February, starting on the 1st, I set a goal that I would do an abdominal and leg exercise every day. Some days I would only do 10 reps (repetitions of an exercise) and only 1 set (the number of times you repeat a series of reps), but I did do an exercise every day. Habits are formed over a series of weeks, not days, so giving myself an easy to follow time-line by starting on the 1st of the month made forming new habits so much easier.
For anyone who is curious, I am still following my February Fitness goals, and my March Makeover is about organization. (Yes, I like to name each month’s goals…)
4. Buddy System!
If you don’t have a human friend who will cheer you on or join you in achieving your goals, that’s fine, because you have your dog! Remember, dog agility is a team sport, so while you are working on your fitness, you can also increase your bond and fitness level of your dog. Are you doing a walk-run exercise for one mile today? Take your dog!
I am not saying you have to go on Facebook every time you lose 1lb or add 5 reps on to your fitness set. Actually, I think you would irritate a lot of people. Share your big moments publicly if you want to, but be sure to congratulate yourself on every achievement. No matter how small. Positive affirmations work for fitness too.
Don’t forget to stretch yourself and your dog. Having muscles that are tight is asking for an injury. Warm up, stretch. Cool down, stretch.
Have any tips you want to share for fitness for you or your canine? I love new ideas…especially if they fit into busy schedules!
For more posts from other blogs like this one, check out Dog Agility Blog Events Action Day: Health