By Michele Forto
What do you do to get yourself ready physically and mentally ready for the challenges ahead?
When you train for a physical challenge you prepare your body, mind, and spirit. You will put yourself through rigorous training routines preparing for the challenge ahead. When you include Max in your training and challenges be aware that he will need to prepare his body, mind, and spirit as well.
Dog sports are becoming more and more popular as are physical challenges that you can do with your dog. For instance, recently in Anchorage there was a 5k/1k Run/Walk in the park for people and their dogs. Some of the dogs were not prepared for the race and it showed afterwards.
How do I prepare my dog to compete with me?
The same way you prepare yourself after a long winter. You don’t go running out the door and complete a 10-mile run; your dog won’t be able to either. Instead you go out and run two miles and build on that week by week until ten miles feels like two miles. You and your dog will find more enjoyment in training together by taking it slowly than taking on too much too fast.
To reach your peak performance training with your dog is easy, take on shorter distances more often during the week and your dog will be bringing you his leash in no time. The key is to avoid burnout. Your familiar with burnout but did you know your dog can experience burn out as well? He may not show you he’s burned out, but he may get injured during training and that is his body letting him know he cannot go further. Dogs suffer from knee injuries and to avoid them during training it is best to go on shorter runs at first and build the endurance and stamina that both your bodies need to avoid injuries.
Remember to drink lots of water when you train, don’t forget Max here either. Offer Max water but do not let him drink too much too fast. Avoid letting Max drink from lakes, streams, and rivers bring along his own water bottle. Max does not need a snack if you are training hard. This can give Max an upset stomach and can lead to other health issues. It is best to offer Max a treat or snack at least 30 minutes after training.
Training with Max is fun and keeps you going longer. In Alaska there are lots of competitions to do with your dog. Get involved. If you need any assistance or would like to learn a new sport with Max contact us at Alaska Dog Works.