The benefits of a proper warm-up are numerous and indisputable. As canine sports competitors, we understand that we need to warm up our dogs before we ask them to run, jump, twist, turn, pivot, pull, catch, swim, or leap. This applies to dog sports, working dogs, and canine fitness.
While there are many approaches to a warm-up, there are components that are vital to include in a warm up every single time.
We must ask ourselves:
To begin to answer these, we look at what the warm-up is intended to do.
The warm-up should prepare your dog’s body, physiologically, for the work about to be done.
There are physiological changes that occur in the body when your dog is asked to do a physical activity, sport, fitness training, or other work. These changes...
Research shows that human athletes benefit from warming up prior to workouts and competition. The same theory also applies to our dog athletes prior to exercise and training. A warm-up increases several physiological and metabolic factors. This means a good chance of a better performance and a reduction in the probability of injury.
1) Muscle and Body Temperature Increases: This makes the muscles more elastic. Muscles will contract with more force, and relax at a faster rate after a contraction. With warmer muscles, your dog’s strength and speed will be increased. A warmer body and muscle temperature will also lower the risk of a muscle pull or strain by increasing the glide of muscle fibers.
2) Increase in Heart and Respiratory Rates: This increases blood pressure so more oxygen and energy are delivered to the muscles.
3) Dilates Blood Vessels: Warming up causes the blood vessel to dilate which in turn reduces the stress that physical activity places on the heart, and...