Dog sports/Flyball conditioning question...

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Toller_08, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Not sure if this is really in the right section or not, but I wasn't sure where to put it.

    Dance is starting Flyball on Sunday. A customer at work helps run a club and invited me to bring Dance a long time ago, and I've decided to go check it out now. It seems like a sport Dance will like. Running, jumping and fetching without strange people staring at or touching her is kind of up her alley. But I've gotta say, sports injuries scare me a lot. I'd hate for something bad to happen to her. My brain jumps instantly to Elegy's Steve and all that she's gone through with him. I know hundreds of people do strenuous sports with their dogs, but I can't help but worry. I hear of a lot of injuries both Flyball and Agility related and it's been enough to scare me.

    So what kinds of things do you guys do with your sports dogs to condition them properly? What kinds of stretches? What tricks come in handy for stretches/warm ups? Anything else I should be aware of/do with her?

    I want to get her back into Agility as well and really just doing more things, and I want her to be able to do those things as safely as possible. Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    You should check out the canine fitness centre up there. I bet they'd be willing to do a consult to see where her weak areas are and recommend stuff. They do physio and under water treadmill and stuff.
     
  3. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Silvia Trkman has some excellent videos about conditioning. She's rarely had injuries and her dogs are crazy fast and train/compete in agility on a very regular basis.

    Ready Steady Go, all about speed and conditioning. And my most favorite dog video ever :)
    http://www.lolabuland.com/training-videos/speedconditioning/

    And Tricks for Balance, Strength and Coordination:

    http://www.lolabuland.com/training-videos/tricks/

    Doing sports doesn't mean your dog has to get injured a lot. I started agility with my dogs in the early 90s and <knock on wood> have never had a dog with sports related injury.
     
  4. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

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    Watch the training methods of where you go - personally I would only go to superdogs and work with Kerry and her group, some of the other places are really tight where they train or have other issues (you can pm me if you want). Plus some of the matting can be slick.

    For conditioning, lots of off leash hikes and swimming really. Don't do the chucker over and over and over again as it can create issues as they slam and twist for the ball. Or toss it while she waits and then do a 360 about turn and send her so she's not sure where it is and has to hunt for it.

    So does this mean in the summer you're coming here for a weekend of camping and agility? And some field work? Hint hint hint!!!! You can crash here or set up a tent and play all weekend. Maybe Izzy will come too. LOL
     
  5. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    ^^^^ 100 % agree.
    Honestly what I see for injuries from talking to or knowing people is there tends to be a couple main reasons why 'some' dogs get injuries and of course there are always exceptions.
    1 is training a lot of repetitions i.e drilling into the ground.
    2 is weekend warriors, that are training/competing with dogs that are not in condition.

    A dog's weight is critical when competing/training, over weight dogs get injuries. Too thin, doesn't allow for enough muscle mass and strength either. Structure is also important, but not how you would think. Most dogs are not perfect and they will have a conformational fault or weakness, the key is knowing what that is, working to improve the strength of the weakness, training/competing accordingly and a fitness program to improve. And I do believe in wellness exams with a excellent chiropractor as a preventive. Doesn't mean we are always running to the chiropractor, what it does mean is we have some education as to what to look for and detect slight problems and therefore seeking help before they turn into bigger problems.
    Petie is a dog that is very hard on himself, much like a high drive racehorse, he goes and he goes hard all the time. One of those dogs that was always digging in and working hard at anything I asked him do. I competed with him for years and he had 1 injury related to agility, which happened when we first started agility and was related to bad equipment and extremely bad instruction. Fixed the dog, changed trainers, trained the dog better, problem solved. Any injury he had after that was when he crashed into a table in the house or slamming into a door jam when playing with other dogs lol.
     
  6. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Thanks! I might look into that and see what they have to say. I know when we were taking Agility classes she kept on throwing something out in her back, even when we didn't seem to be doing anything very strenuous. I felt like we were constantly at her Chiropractor for a while. Now she seems fine, but we haven't done Agility in a while.

    Thank you! I'll watch those later tonight when I have some more time. And I'm glad to hear that your dogs have never had a sports injury. Lately I've just heard of so many and I don't want to accidentally make Dance one one them.

    Just on my way out the door, but I'll send you a PM later. You always seem to have an answer to everything sports/training wise around here! Thanks.


    Thank you! That is all helpful stuff. Especially about the weight. I knew being overweight was bad, but didn't realize underweight could be a problem too. I think Dance is at a good weight, but she could be better muscled, so that's something I want to work on with her.

    I guess we'll go tomorrow and check it out and see what it's all about. Journey is coming too mostly for socialization and a new experience.
     
  7. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    A lot of what you can do to prevent injuries has to do with the training process too. Make sure you take the time to teach a nice box turn and get her familiar with the hurdles, the spacing, etc. A proper turn should be minimally stressful on her joints, but an improper one can and will wear her down with enough repetitions.
     
  8. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Meg's been running agility consistently for almost 7 years now, is not a particularly well built dog for the sport, has an old elbow injury from before I got her, zero health testing (probably ever in her lines), and has never had an injury either. Obviously they happen, even in dogs receiving the ultimate in care/conditioning, but it certainly isn't a foregone conclusion that if you do sports, something will go wrong.

    With both my dogs, I credit a lot of their soundness to their lifestyle. I don't do anything like ball work or chiro with them (though I'd do either if I had a reason to suspect they needed it), but they spend a huge amount of time running off leash in varied terrain. They are incredibly fit, well muscled without being bulky, and have phenomenal proprioception that clinicians have commented on. Tearing across the top of wobbly stacked hay bales with gaps between them at a full run; scaling up (and down) near vertical walls of shale on hikes; they are just plain good at placing their feet in the right place without thinking about it. On the very rare occasions I've seen either of my dogs mis-step on, for instance, the dog walk, they barely break stride as they use their body to stay on.

    Do what you are able, of course, to keep Dance as sound as possible, but also try to relax and enjoy the sport!
     

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