Why all this Conditioning?

10 11 2007

Conditioning is like training, but for the body as well as the brain. I guess its a way to train the body to cope with the activities of the brain. However, conditioning is NOT training in the way of teaching your dog to sit, stay, bring a drink from the fridge…because unlike these behaviors, the condition of your body does not always stay the same. You can get fat, lazy, be injured, too skinny…you get the idea. So conditioning Jet for Flyball isn’t an option, and it has to be consistant.

Think of an olympic runner athlete, and the idea of what they are asking their bodies to do. It is the same for a Flyball dog. And i dont think this is being dramatic. The sport of Flyball asks a dog to go all out and run like hell, and then do it again, immediatly after. Its like asking an olympic marathon runner to run the race, then do it again right after. Not only do they need to be fast, but they need to keep up the same pace the entire sprint. Same for a Flyball dog, except add 4 hurdles and a box to tackle. Either way, the physical demands are the same.

It is not possible for an olympic human to do her best without training for her chosen event, the same goes for the dog athlete. I do not expect Jet to have a fast, four footed box turn in competition if he doesnt have it in practice. Period.

I believe there are several qualities Jet must have before he can be conditioned in a workout:

  1.  Heathly physical condition (No ripped paws, sprained ligaments, strained back, aching joints)
  2. Mentally ready (Everyone has a bad day, or poor physical condition causing stress)
  3. Healthy weight (Can feel ribs easily, with little filler between ribs, definate waist. Too much weight will cause stress and injury to joints and muscles while working.)
  4. Nutrient rich diet with no nonsence (un-needed) ingredients (Why should Jet eat anything his body can’t use?) 

So basically, I provide Jet with the tools needed to workout, then we begin. Conditioning it not always the same every week, and definatly not every day the same thing either. As a rule, a dog being conditioned needs time to rest between workouts, and depending on the activity, may need 48 hours. Activities like endurance should not be worked the same day as speed sprint work.

Here’s an example of a weekly conditioning agenda:

  • Monday:  Sprint work (200 or so feet all out running as fast as Jet can go, restrained recalls with a tug toy, at least 4 times. Works with enabling him to keep his speed over time)
  • Tuesday: Hiking-Endurance work (3 plus hours of his own pace hiking up and down hills and swimming in lakes. This is NON stop, meaning he gets water from the lake if he’s thirsty, and we continue.)
  • Wednesday: Day of Rest
  • Thursday: Biking Off Leash at park-Sprint/Strength (300 plus feet of all out running for about 5 to 10 minutes) Then Restrained recalls with ball and tug work at full speed.
  • Friday: On leash biking Endurance/Strength (Fast trot (Not jog, but not running either) for 20 plus minutes, with sudden bursts of all out running to keep up heart rate and to help build muscle for strength, then back to fast trots)( HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE DAY OF REST, DEPENDING ON PAW CONDITION)
  • Saturday: Flyball Practice, No specific workout
  • Sunday: Day of Rest

Such weeks like this can differ depending on my work days, Jet’s fitness level after said work days, and weather or not he’s ripped his paws up.




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