Conditioning for Canicross
Getting your dog fit for canicross isn’t just about building up endurance.
The better your dog’s trunk and core strength, balance and proprioception the less likely he is to be injured – either through over-use or acute injury. As a bonus he’ll also perform better!
If a dog spends a lot of time doing one activity (be that pulling in harness, flyball, lying on the sofa in a particular way) some of his muscles will be more active than others. Over months and years, this can cause imbalance around the joints which could make him more injury prone and eventually cause stiffness, discomfort or even joint problems.
Conditioning isn’t just for serious canine athletes. We owe it to our little four legged pals to keep them in the best possible shape for the life we choose for them.
Conditioning needn’t be a chore. In it’s simplest form it’s about introducing some fun and varied activities to help ensure that your dog’s body stays strong and balanced. If for example your dog spends a great deal of time pulling in harness then regular games of tuggy will ensure that the opposing muscle groups are getting a workout. Teaching tricks, running/walking on varied terrain, free running, swimming – anything that helps ensure that your dog is moving in lots of different ways will do him good.
Dogs need plenty of downtime too. Cramming their lives full of too much activity can be stressful and lead to injury. We don’t do all of the sports below on a weekly basis. Some are regular activities and others we do just a little every month or so just to keep things varied. As your dog gets older he’ll loose strength and fitness in areas that you don’t specifically work him (a natural part of aging). It becomes very important to avoid the ‘weekend warrior’ syndrome – don’t expect him to chase a lure or run an agility course flat out if it’s an activity you only do once in a while.
Playing with other Dogs
Lure Coursing / Racing
Lure Coursing – Home Spun Version
Trieball (Urban Herding)
Gym Ball Balance Work