Recently Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, (the top ranked team in the open dog sprints) internationally know as one of the top experts on dog training and nutrition was here visiting in northern CA and stayed for a couple of days with us. During one of our many dog discusions, Arleigh mentioned that he talks at many conventions around the country and some of them are bird dog venues. He commented on the amazing level of retrieving skills and overall learning abilities of the breeds. What suprised me was that he also stated that even though they were in condition to do their jobs, many of the dogs were what us mushers would say, are overweight.
At one of the field trials Arleigh observed an excellent looking dog pulled up lame and couldn’t complete the day due his injury. Arleigh asked him about the dog’s overall conditioning program and the trainer basically acknowledged that the conditioning was done while it did his retrieving training. After some encouragment, Arleigh convinced the dog owner to put the dog on a year round conditioning program. A year plus later, he got a call from the dog owner stating that he had cleaned up on the compitition and the dog showed no signs of the injury from the previous season.
The next couple of dog blogs will be about dog conditioning. Some about mistakes that I have made and things that I have found worked for us. Many of the lessons will be of those that I have learned from renound well know mushers with alot more experience than I. I believe that the blogs will help you and your dog reach the goals that you percieve for your canine freind.
- Lesson # 1. Never ask your dog to do something in competition that you haven’t practised before while training.
Stay tuned for more conditioning tips to come. The advise won’t just include the physical end of the training, but also the mental side of fine tuning your canine athelete.