Functional Warm-Up for a Sportdog

Do you warm up your dog before sport performances? Have you ever stopped to consider why warming up is important and how it would best be done?

Warm-up before sport specific exercise is an important, and for the majority of dog handlers, already a standard practice. On average 20-30 minutes are used for warm-up per training session. On a yearly level this comes to about 35 hours for someone training twice week, even more for those who train more frequently.

35 hours a year: quite a lot of time. How could you optimize it?

The purpose of the warm-up presented on this course is to prepare both the mind and the body of the dog for the coming performance. This warm-up is a variation of a functional warm-up created for human athletes. It is based on research, which showed the routine reduced the risk of injury by half in floorball players when done twice a week (Pasanen, Kati. 2009. Floorball injuries : epidemiology and injury prevention by neuromuscular training).

Purpose of warm-up

The purpose of warm-up is to prepare the body for the upcoming challenge. This includes:

  •  warming up tissues in preparation of the exercise
  • activating the cardiovascular system
  • waking up the neuromuscular system
  • activating the muscles (including smaller stabilizing muscles) needed in the exercise.

When done right, warm-up increases focus and thus also prepares the dog’s arousal level for the coming performance.

The warm-up consists of four phases and begins moderately, the intensity is upped gradually along the way. You should use about 20-30 minutes for warming up depending on the base fitness level of the dog; the purpose isn’t to tire out but to prepare for what’s to come.

The structure of a functional warm-up

On the course, you will learn a four-phase warm-up routine. It begins moderately, and intensity is gradually increased along the way. You should use about 20-30 minutes for warming up. The exact time needed depends on fitness of your dog; the purpose isn’t to tire out but to prepare for what’s to come.

Who is this course for?

The functional warm-up for a sportdog benefits especially those dogs needing speed, power and coordination in their chosen disciplines. However the warm-up routine is also a great gymnastic exercise for all dogs, a proprioception exercise for puppies or an interactive exercise for seniors. With seniors we recommend leaving out the force production enhancement exercises found in phase 4.

Welcome to the course!

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