I know a lot of my readers are dog owners, and a good number of those dog owners participate in dog sports, including flyball, agility, obedience, and freestyle. So, my question to you is: What, if any, stretches and/or activities make up your warm up routine?
So far, my warm up routine for my dogs includes:
Walk, for 2-5 minutes (doubles as a chance to potty before going in the ring)
Trot, circles around me, both directions, about 30 seconds each direction
Stretch up- Dog puts front legs up on me and stretches (partly on command, partly assisted by me)
Rear leg stretch- I sit down, have the dog stand in front of me, facing away from me, and gently, slowly stretch out first one, then the other, then both back legs, paying attention to any stiffness in the dog, reluctance to stretch, or tightness
That is my normal warm up routine with Pallo, which I try to complete before every race. Sometimes races sneak up on me though. We do at least try to get some walk/trot in before every race, even when time is short.
Our in-the-ring warm up (flyball has a one minute warm up time for the team) is a restrained recall over jumps, making sure Pallo's proper jump height is set (9"). If we have the time, we will sometimes run the full line up of dogs, or do a second warm up recall over jumps, depending both on the team, the time, and what amount/type of warm up the other dogs need.
After a race, I immediately take Pallo outside for a post-race potty walk, which gives him another chance to potty as well as giving his muscles a chance to cool down with a walk before he goes back into his crate to rest and wait for the next race.
Koira hasn't raced in a long time, but I plan to follow the same warm-up routine with her as I do with Pallo. Back when she first raced, it was my first time at a performance event running my own dog, so we never had anything more than a warm-up potty walk with her.
So, I ask again, what is your warm-up and/or cool-down routine? Does it change based on what sport you are doing, flooring, or weather? Do you or did you use a book to learn or remind you of what stretches to do or how to do them best?
Checking on Amazon, I was thinking of ordering one of these books to help learn a better warm up routine for my dogs. First up, The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog: A Physical Therapy Approach. It has decent reviews, but doesn't appear to be geared towards performance dogs. The second book is Stretch Your Dog Healthy: A Hands-On Approach to Natural Canine Care which is supposed to have good pictures, but again, not specifically geared toward canine athletes, and has a review suggesting that some of the stretches in the book may not be safe.
Then there are two more all-purpose books I am interested in getting and reading, which I believe include warm-up and cool-down stretches and routines. Both are written by Christine Zink, Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete and Jumping from A to Z: Teach Your Dog to Soar. Both of these are written specifically for canine athletes, but I don't know how much stretching is in these.
So, anyone read any of these books, and have a recommendation for or against them? Have a different book you think would fit the bill perfectly that you want to recommend?
I was going to attend a seminar about stretching and conditioning canine athletes, but due to lack of interest it was rescheduled for later in the year. I'm hoping I'll still be able to go then, and that it actually gets held this time!