First Energy—What’s Your Chronotype? – Bad Dog Agility Academy

First Energy—What’s Your Chronotype?

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  • says:

    I developed a training that works and am seeing progress as a result. I save 1/2 of the first meal of the day for training treats, usually around 5:30AM and work on 10 minutes of fitness training.
    I have everything set up, ready to go. My dog is used to this routine and runs to his balance disc with a 2o2o waiting for me.

    Similar routine for second meal. I save 1/2 the meal and will then go outside when I get home from work and work on sequences, wraps or contacts. We will then play with a ball toy before going inside to finish the meal.

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      Fantastic. I love the “I have everything set up, ready to go”. Although not dog training, I’m trying to do similar things with the kid’s meals. Prep the night before. Makes a huge difference!

  • says:

    As a non-morning person, I’m a big fan of training right when I get home with their dinner after. They’re already amped for Mom + Dinner, and a nice de-stresser for me after work

  • Ariel says:

    This is so helpful. I am inspired to work to find a good intersection of my first energy and the dogs eagerness to get up and do something. Planning the night before! Great idea! Also, often I get a second wind around 8 or 9 pm and the dogs get a little restless around then too, but I don’t typically plan what we will do and just end up pivoting on platforms or doing tricks they already know. I could be more purposeful and plan more structured fitness work at that time!

  • Sarah Scott says:

    Unfortunately I can’t set up Annie’s course until that morning, because the areas is also a “drive way” for Barn personnel to get back to our horse facility. I wish I could! She won’t eat until after we are done either. We go for a 10 minute walk-jog then do our Agility practice. In AZ in the summer we start very early, because it is so hot!

  • says:

    Nice tips!

  • Gwendolyn says:

    Excellent. I was going to pass over this but glad I did not. Organized thinking.

  • MaryTurcintrio says:

    Reminder for me to get into practice to do some training with his brkfast and before meals.

  • says:

    I agree — I like to train first thing in the morning too. I get to check it off the list and it gives me a lift at the office because I’ve already accomplished something that is personally meaningful. August is tough though because there is a lot of dew on the grass. Trying to practice the travel board is impossible in August mornings because she slides right off because her paws are soaking wet and she is so energetic. 🙂

  • says:

    I love this thought. I definitely need to work around the weather. For the warm months, doing tricks or conditioning exercises inside in air conditioning can be helpful too.

  • says:

    My dog is always most energetic and hungry first thing in the morning but I wondered if it was a bad idea to train @ the same time everyday. Also, many times classes are in the evening and trialing occurs throughout the day so this made me question whether I should be more random with the training time.

  • says:

    Kalani and I are on the same highest energy point We are up all night and sleep all day At about 10PM we are at our peak for training We have dinner at 11PM We are together 24/7 I am retired

  • Kerstin M says:

    Yes, this sounds very good. As I have four dogs, one very young, one quite old (10years, but very full of energy) and two dogs 5 years, and they all get very jealous at one another, if I train just one or two of them, I think it’s very difficult to train just one or two of them. But I will really try to train at various times to see what will happen. But I will not be able to train all four early in the morning.

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      I usually pick the one that has the most need to burn off energy for the early morning shift. Or the one with the most immediate competition goal.

  • Zinnes says:

    I also struggle with early times, whether its a trial at a distance or just a local seminar that begins at 8am. Its not only being foggy-headed at those early hours, its also the aches and pains of age that take time before the muscles and joints are adequately lubricated. CBD oil helps as do NSAIDS but the latter have plenty of downsides.

  • says:

    In addition to my rhythm and my dog’s rhythm, I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs to add a significant factor: weather. Living in a Southern California desert community and needing to practice outdoors leaves only early mornings suitable for practice much of the year. Fortunately, we have a pool, which gets lots of use after agility practice by our four Aussies in the summer.

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      We’ve got essentially the same weather problems here in Houston. Our training goes way down in the summer and we give ourselves permission to train less during the hottest months. So I suppose in addition to chronotype, there is something like a season-type. We can’t let the mild months go by without putting in significant training time.

  • says:

    This is something I really struggle with, as I’ve had difficulty with sleeping and been a real night owl since I was a little kid. On a slightly different, but similar topic, could you guys address different ways of working with your circadian rhythm and techniques to manage when it doesn’t quite match the schedule of trials? I can usually deal with local trials, but I find it really affects me a lot at a big competition, like at Nationals when they are starting at ridiculously early times. My brain just doesn’t work the same that early and combining that with the stress of competition, it’s really hard to feel I can do my best.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Great comment! Fortunately for you, I am the EXACT same way ran into the EXACT same problem at big events. There are three different strategies I have tried (I usually use a combination of these depending on the time zone difference for the big event):

      #1 Using benadryl (unisom) and melatonin and a big dinner with fatty dessert and caffeine/coffee. This should be done only if you have no medical problems with these 3 things. They are all sleep aids available to you without a doctor’s prescription. Unisom is 50 mg of diphenhydramine, the active ingredient that makes you sleepy. I prefer taking benadryl since it comes in 25 mg units, and can also be taken in 12.5 mg. You need to experiment with the dose that makes you NOT groggy in the morning. Same with melatonin–I use gummies and those are in 5 mg, so I eat half or a third. If I eat a whole, I’m groggy. The amount of melatonin, which signals sleep to your body, is LARGE in a gummy, much more than your body normally makes. A big dinner will make you sleepy in general but avoid fatty foods with gall bladder problems or late meals if you have acid reflux.

      #2 Acclimate yourself to the time difference or schedule difference. Give yourself 2 weeks, so I will transition myself gradually but then by the time I hit Friday of a big event, I’m already on that sleep/week schedule of 6 am. I actually shoot for about 630-700 am, which leads to:

      #3 Get EXTRA sleep for the 2-3 days before a big event and then run a deficit for the weekend. This works best for me. I know in advance I won’t sleep as much, and “missed sleep” I move to napping at the event or hotel, often before dinner if I can. Psychologically I am prepared for it. Let’s say I do the #2 strategy and wake up at 7 ok but 5:30 is painful. I normally get up at 9, so I had to work to get to 7, and 5:30 I will just gets lots of sleep and napping the few days before and suck it up, knowing I fall asleep at midnight-1 am at the event, and only sleep 4-5 hours, and nap later. Psychologically you feel bad especially at first, and for me, caffeine/energy drinks causes anxiety/heart racing so I can’t use it. But you can be groggy until your walk through. The walk through I am SHARP. And then sharp again right before run. You don’t need to be sharp all day, it’s ok to be groggy, you just need about 20 minutes for walk and 20 min for your run period. Then I’m napping.

      You have probably tinkered with several of these, if not all of them. The key here is MINDSET. If you’re not willing to adjust your schedule before a big event (keep in mind, my night owl ishness is so extreme that I HAVE to adjust, or simply suck it up), then you must develop the right MINDSET where this is an obstacle that has to be overcome, and CAN be overcome, and it WILL NOT affect you. I think you probably need to look at your overall mental game strategy for big events–the goal there is to build resilience to issues that pop up. This nightowl issue is the best kind of issue to have. Why? Because it’s KNOWN in advance and so it can be addressed, or at least psychologically expected by you.

      Please let me know if you have any follow up questions/comments.

      • says:

        Thank you! That is helpful. I have often intended to try to adjust my schedule beforehand, but never been very successful at it. Sounds simple enough, but I probably didn’t know how to go about it the right way. Your explanation of how to do it makes sense and I will definitely try that. And, the mindset change about deciding it CAN be overcome and will not affect me is something I haven’t thought about. I absolutely need to implement that….and many more mental management strategies. It’s my biggest struggle right now, so I’m really grateful for the resources you have available on here about that. Thank you so much!

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      And if you try benadryl or melatonin, try it at home weeks or months in advance and at local trials first!

      • Tropicalmk says:

        I find I have to take Benedryl when I travel for a trial. I’m so excited to be there and start rehashing my day mentally that I can’t get to sleep. I take the Benedryl early like 6pm so that I’m asleep by 9pm and not still groggy the next morning.
        Videoing my runs has helped me to rehash the day so much. I can look at a particular thing to see what happened or try improve but with the runs on video I know I can look over them after the weekend and send them in for review later. This allows me to live in the moment and also enjoy time with my friends I am there with.

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