Hi all! This post is coming from the Ontario West Regionals. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you have a routine that will allow you to warm up without a jump as well. In a previous post I covered what to do with a warm-up jump and some of the value of it. But sometimes this just isn’t possible. This particular Regionals is indoors on a really good dirt surface. However, because it is indoors there is not available space to have a warm-up jumps. This leaves the warm-up area outside on a different surface. The event staff has gone out of their way to make sure it is as good as can be but initially it wasn’t a good place for dogs to go to. A lot goes into these events so this is just one of those things that can happen! It is best to have a routine in your back pocket that you can rely on if jumps aren’t available.
There are a couple of things I will do. I like to practice my lead-outs. I will lead away from my dog and then release and run away. When he catches me we play tug. Not too hard though. I don’t want to strain any of his muscles before we get to run. When I play this wait exercise I will also have my dog drop from a sit. Go back up into a sit. Or turn to a toy behind him. By doing this I am encouraging the use of his brain. Sometimes dogs get too focused on the release to the play in front of them that they can’t hold a sit wait. By splitting their focus away from forward thinking you can have a more thoughtful dog. Also a dog who is less likely to break a sit stay.
Something else you can do is run your dog through a series of tricks they have been taught. This is good for getting them to connect with you. It is also good for getting them to stretch and use muscles they may use during the course of their run. Some tricks that are good to do or teach your dog to do for this purpose are: Weave between the legs, rollover, sit up and beg, sit up and beg and reach to the left or the right (wave). Anything that stretches their center core or moves the spine would be good to get the dog to do.
It is quite warm here at the Regionals. Try to keep your dog cool. Make sure they have access to water. But most of all, try to limit how much exercise you engage in before your run. And if you find yourself waiting for your run…make sure you get your dog up and moving a couple of dogs before you enter the ring!