Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Should dogs stretch before agility sessions?

Today Penny did stretching exercises before her agility class. Sometimes we do a mix of agility and tricks but today was all agility. Cindy, our teacher, got us to do some stretches beforehand to get Penny's spine active. She did 'paws up', putting her front legs up onto my forearm and also some bowing to mobilise the spine.

I'm convinced this is a valuable way to start an agility session and I'm going to try to remember to do it before we practise at home. However, I have read some articles in magazines lately throwing doubt on the value of stretches for humans as a start to sport or activity sessions and I read a discussion of this topic on the Net tonight.

An article at Dog Agility Preschool has a discussion of the necessity for warming up (humans AND dogs) that I think is most interesting. There is also a great discussion of warming up and cooling down at the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association, with photos and examples of how to help your dog prepare for activity.


Amber-Mae said...

Oh, I don't do any stretches or warming up before I run. The only warm up my mommy makes me do is bark coz that's when I kind of like wake up & get reeeeaaal excited. It's like, I get all charged up when barking...Woohoo!

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

Anonymous said...

My last comment telling how I am from a long line of German Aristocrats must not have come through(again). My mum says that it is true that humans should do stretching at the end of the exercises(rather than before) but do gentler warm-ups to lead into the session. Damage can be done if stretching is done before the warm-up.
My Mum likes reading your thoughts and in particular all the interesting sites you provide.
love & licks

parlance said...

Amber-mae, I've just been looking at your blog report on the agility and doggy-dancing event. You are certainly a champion. I can see that you do a wonderful job without warming up;

parlance said...

Jabari, that's interesting about humans and exercise. I didn't realise the difference between warming up and stretching. Thanks for the explanation.

Yes, it's obvious that you are an aristocrat. Penny is privileged to know you! Don't forget, though, that she is a princess on one side, even if a commoner on the other.