Cardiovascular Endurance – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Cardiovascular Endurance

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  • Kayla Swanberg says:

    I’m very excited to be joining the VIP program and to get more consistent with conditioning to really benefit from prehab with my 2 GSPs!

    They’re 2 and 3 years old and very active. We are out in our 15 acre pasture 5-6 mornings a week for about 30 minutes where I walk while they do a mix of sprinting, trotting, and sniffing. We also have a pond on the property that they swim in 1-2 evenings a week for 15-20 minutes.

    We do agility training 3-4 days per week, depending on my schedule/trials/etc. and make sure to vary what we focus on so they’re not doing a ton of weave sets and such. We practice dock diving and some swimming once a week as well.

    I have a decent amount of fitness equipment too but have not been consistent about using it…given my girls active lifestyle how often would you recommend adding prehab exercises in? Can they be done on the same day as agility training or dock diving practice? How do you feel about doing fitness work the day before a/o after a weekend of trialing? Looking forward to your thoughts on this, thanks!

    • Coach Leslie says:

      Sounds like you’ve got the cardio covered. I would add the other monthly exercises 3-4 days a week. Through the program you will learn how you can incorporate them into your agility training time. You can definitely do full workouts on the same day as agility but you may have to work up to it. Even though it may not look difficult to us, the exercises are both mentally and physically fatiguing. This can lead to a less than stellar agility practice if you do too much. I always use the motto I learned from Sarah Stremming – “Observe and respond”. If you do a workout and then have a poor agility practice, take that as data and change what you do next time. As the dog’s get stronger, you’ll be able to do more.
      As for fitness the day before and after a trial, it is again, dog dependent. I generally say DON’T do it but some dogs need something and then my rule is make it low intensity fitness.

      • Kayla Swanberg says:

        Awesome thank you! That makes sense, I have been trying to get better at logging their training so that I can accurately track their work and have a better idea when to progress an exercise. Do you have any recommendations on record keeping for agility sessions and fitness sessions? Thanks!

        • Coach Leslie says:

          I like AgiNotes. It’s not perfect but it does include areas to track both Handler Fitness and Dog Fitness. You can include pictures and videos but the videos have to from Youtube or something like that.

  • Barb VE says:

    I have a feeling you aren’t going to like it but I play frisbee and some ball-fetching with my dog. I try to throw the frisbee so that he runs through it to catch it but I’m not a very good throw. I play more ball with my older dogs, since my dog-in-training doesn’t let go. 😉

    • Coach Leslie says:

      It’s cardio! I would still recommend logging it and ranking it. I think the hardest thing with frisbee and fetch is making sure you don’t over do it. You need to be the one to end the game by watching for signs of fatigue and not continuing to push.

  • agilityfanatic57@gmail.com says:

    Hi Love that this is part of the VIP deal!! after rehabing my older BC thru Iliopsas strains, I understand how important conditioning is ! Don’t have a treadmill, but she goes to underwater treadmill once a week, hike and jog for short periods, along with stretching.
    I have a 6 month old puppy and would like to start of on the right foot or paw.. any suggestions for this Cardio section- I take him for short walks in the woods on a long line… and sometimes we trot for a very short time. He plays in the back yard – he is still learning where is back end is and have been working on turning around on a plank… but as far as long involved time or effort i have been reluctant to do that because of his age.

    • Coach Leslie says:

      Welcome!
      I love that you are doing walks in the woods with your young Corgi. That’s a perfect place to start with cardio. You should try to gradually progress the length or difficulty of the walks.
      Other cardio things you can do are recalls, figure 8s around barrels or cones, and/ or some shadow handling/ beginning agility handling without equipment.

  • Verna says:

    I live in Southwest Florida and we are coming into the summer rainy season. It can be brutal with both the heat and humidity! Over the fall/winter/spring I do powerwalking with the dogs, agility practice and general running and roughhousing on our three acres. But my young Miniature American Shepherd is already panting profusely from just being outside early in the day, 6:30–7:00 a.m. Any suggestions for inside cardio? We have a small house with no garage or basement, so setting up an indoor arena is not an option. 😆. I guess the question could be, what do you Northerners do in the coldest part of the winter?

    • Coach Leslie says:

      This is where treadmills come in handy. Do you have a long hallway or a fairly open space? You can do recalls or cavalettis. I play different recall games, like as the dog is running towards me, I’ll toss the treat behind me for them to get and then take off the other direction. Or as they recall to me I turn in so that they now have to circle with me and then toss threat away from me again to restart the loop. I would still try to get outside in the cooler parts of the day as much as possible. Heat acclimation is another component when thinking about competing and doing sport.

  • tgarton@ix.netcom.com says:

    My dogs get most of their aerobic exercise in the yard. I have multiple dogs and a big yard, so lots of chase, wrestling, and group zoomies. Any idea how to log this, and then how to increase it? Also, any way to keep the perfect from being the enemy of the good, with multiple dogs? We do take 2 at a time for walks sometimes, but I have more than that. I will say that I’m currently training just 3 of them. 😉 It’s getting hot now, too, and my Boxers slow down quite a bit in heat, so… am I going to need to buy a pool? HAHA

    • Coach Leslie says:

      I would log it by time. It will be interesting to see if they do more on their own as you work through the exercises. You may have to add a more purposeful cardio component to your week to increase it. One easy way to do that is go out and walk the perimeter of your yard for a certain amount of time with all the dogs out. Usually if you are out there moving around the dogs want to go with you. You could also add some across the yard recalls to work on cardio.
      Tell me more about the perfect being the enemy of good. Do you mean perfection paralysis? Like if you can’t be perfect you don’t feel like you can do it?
      It’s hard when you have multiple dogs and from someone who has 8, I can tell you it was hard getting over trying to give everyone equal time. I do juggle cardio with who has the most needs. So the young dogs get more off leash hiking and they also get more training time. The older dogs might only get some play in the yard and a walk around the neighborhood and that’s okay. There may be some weeks were I can’t put anything down in the cardio log and that’s okay. We do our best.

      • tgarton@ix.netcom.com says:

        They are all in and out through the day. My husband lets them out while I am at work, in addition to the early morning outs I give them, and then of course, out before dinner, out after dinner, out before bed, etc. I also have 8, and they have to go outside in shifts, but they are out several hours a day, depending on the weather. And, of course, they don’t spend _all_ their time outside running. So logging time would be VERY difficult. I have 5 acres, and only part of it is fenced for the dogs. I have separate areas of my property that I use for agility practice, etc etc. They do have more exercise when a squirrel runs up a tree, or when deer pass close by the dog yard (how DARE THEY!!! HAHA). Or, when the cat hangs out in the window that faces the dog yard. HAHA. Lots of jumping!!! By not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, I mean trying to make some ideal program that will interfere with other life things I need to do – including the actual agility training, or otherwise frustrate me to the point I quit it all. I guess I could do a certain number of across yard recalls?

        • Coach Leslie says:

          I would bet they aren’t doing as much cardio as we would like when they are left to their own devices out in the yard. Creatures are inherently ‘lazy’ when it comes to energy expenditure. I recommend adding a short cardio session 3 days a week – long recalls is a great way to start especially if you can recall a group of dogs together. I would start with 5 minutes. It seems short but that’s actually a lot of sprinting. I would also try to work in some longer, easy movement, even if it’s only once a week. This could be even going outside with the dogs on your property and walking 30 minutes. No one needs to be on leash. Just the fact that you or your husband is walking around will encourage them to move as well.

          • alincoln1963@gmail.com says:

            this is good to know. I have my whole property fenced and you are right, if i go they follow. While im not sure its much “cardio” i do keep them moving along. will have to work on recalls with my boy as i want him to gain some stamina, myself as well. Lately its been in the 90’s all week so we are not getting the greatest work outs that i would like.

          • Coach Leslie says:

            Everything is cardio! The biggest difference (which I’m not really going to dive into because I don’t think you need to totally understand energy metabolism to get fit) is whether is anaerobic cardio (sprinting) or aerobic cardio. Aerobic cardio is very important and most people that play sprint sports tend to ignore it. I’d say you are building a great aerobic cardio base and the recalls will help with the anaerobic cardio.

  • klredtail@gmail.com says:

    Would you include agility practice as part of a cardio routine?

  • alincoln1963@gmail.com says:

    So, if we dont have a treadmill, we work 40 hrs a week and dont have time to take a dog on an hour cardio walk, dog doesnt play with toys, what ELSE can we do. I do have 4.5 acres fenced in and try to get him to run as much as i can.

    • leide13@gmail.com says:

      “What’s my call to action for you? Start logging your dog’s cardio. Every 4 weeks try to make it a little more challenging. Add 10 minutes, add a short jog, change the route so you are going up that really hard hill instead of down it.”

      Start by journaling what you already do for cardio. Anything you think might be cardio (it probably is!) write it down and then note your dog’s effort. Was it easy, medium, or hard? After 4 weeks, try to make things a bit more difficult. Our goal is to aim for the level of effort between medium and hard. So, if you are taking your dog for a 10 minute 3 days a week and it seems easy for your dog, try to pick up the pace for 3 minutes of the walk in the middle. After 4 weeks of that, try to find a different route that has a hill in it. These are just some examples. Once you’ve done the journalling/logging of the cardio exercise, it will be easier for me to give you suggestions on how to make it more challenging every 4 weeks.

      • alincoln1963@gmail.com says:

        I suppose i can leash him up and do different things right on the property. I’ll start logging it. Thanks.

        • leide13@gmail.com says:

          He doesn’t have to be leashed. You could track how long he runs around the back yard. You do need to observe that he is actually moving as a lot of dogs find a place to potty and then find a cool spot to lay down.

          • alincoln1963@gmail.com says:

            Thats why it would be better if i leash him. Then i can control what he’s doing. We have a gravel pile i thought i can run him up and down 5 reps to start, things like that.

          • leide13@gmail.com says:

            Perfect!

    • Lynne Bockelman says:

      Maybe a playdate with another dog he would chase around? Or a reliable dog walker who would jog with him?

  • Sandy & Karma says:

    Will you give us more of a “plan” for things like “hill work”, “sprint work”………..in other words, how to incorporate things like this into our hike? The treadmill example of that program was very specific (time/duration/intensity), so how to structure things like hill work and sprint work????

    • leide13@gmail.com says:

      The treadmill plan is very specific because it comes from a study. It does not mean that is the treadmill work every one should do.
      Cardio is probably the most individual part of conditioning. My recommendations was to start by tracking what cardio you are already doing which could include things like walking, hiking, sprinting (fetch), swimming, etc. From there we can look at what can be changed to better improve cardio. Do we need to try and do cardio more often? Do you have a good routine time and frequency wise, so now we need to focus on effort? For example, I know I need to focus on frequency and making sure I get the dogs out for an hour or more 3 times a week. When I hit that goal, I will start to evaluate the dogs’ effort. Does this outing look easy, medium, hard. I want to make sure I spend time between medium and hard effort to get the most out of the exercise.
      You can post want you are doing cardio wise (post your cardio journal) and I can make recommendations from there.

      • Sandy & Karma says:

        Ok, so this is what a typical week looks like for us. EVERY day (twice daily) Karma chases a frisbee (thrown far) and retrieves…..about 10-15 minutes each session.

        Once weekly she swims laps (20 minutes) with only a couple short breaks.

        Once a week we do a private agility lesson (1 hour) so a good amount of running/jumping since she is not sharing time like in a class.

        We pick a day and do some sprint/recall work.

        At least 2 3-mile hikes (we change it up, sometimes jog, sometimes find a location with hills).

        Playtime with my customers dogs (I have a pet sitting business)…..chasing/wrestling.

        Karma has a “rest day” where all we do is short walk or just tool around the yard, nothing vigorous.

        Thoughts???

        • Coach Leslie says:

          This looks like you’ve got cardio covered! The next thing I want you to do is rank these based on effort using easy, medium, hard. As you go through them over the next week, write down if Karma’s effort was easy, medium, hard just based on your judgement of her. Think of easy like she didn’t even break a sweat doing it (yes, I know dog’s don’t sweat, lol). Think of hard as maximum effort. She is going all out, couldn’t give any more. Ideally, it will look something like 75% medium, 15% hard, and 10% easy. Report back on what you get.

          • Sandy & Karma says:

            Ok great, I will work on that. I DO know that the walks/hikes would be MORE effort for her if the person at the other end of the leash was more fit….lol! Maybe the handler fitness course that starts today will help with that endeavor!

          • Coach Leslie says:

            I just did the first session of the handler fitness course and it is awesome!
            Agility is a team sport, so it’s important to work on both parts of the team.

          • Sandy & Karma says:

            Indeed it is……the first session IS awesome, Kert is great!

          • Coach Leslie says:

            He is! I taught him canine fitness many years ago and I’ve worked with him on my fitness in past years. Really great addition to the VIP program.


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