A properly warmed up dog is less likely to sustain an injury. When warming your dog up, you should be targeting the muscle groups which are going to be used by actively moving them through all planes of motion to improve blood flow circulation which will reduce the resistance and increase flexibility. Warming up helps to maximize the range of motion of your dog and will focus your dog’s mind to prepare them to work. It will also help the joints move smoothly. Your warm up should take about 10 minutes and gradually increase in intensity and speed. Your warm up is also the perfect time to see if your dog is showing any signs of lameness or discomfort. If you see any signs that your dog is in some way compromised, you should not train or compete until you have had the issue assessed by a veterinarian to prevent making the problem worse.
When cooling down your dog, you should be going at a consistent speed, such as a fast walk or trot. Cooling down your dog gets your dog’s muscles ready for the next training session or event. Cooling down will deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscle fibers which will help with the repair of microtrauma in the muscle fibers that occurred during exercise. It also eases pain perception from the microtrauma or minor injuries by realigning the muscle fibers. The exercises given in this class can be performed at a slower speed than for the warm up during your cool down. A fast walk and stretching is a good way to end your cool down.
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