Conditioning and fitness is a huge part of my training program with my dogs. When I am working on a skill with my dogs part of the process of teaching that skill is ensuring that my dog is properly conditioned.
I look at the condition of the dog when it comes to an “agility problem” as well. If I have a student who has a contact or weave problem the very first thing I am going to address is whether the dog can perform that obstacle. Are they conditioned properly for the skill that is being asked? In my experience most dogs who have “agility problems” have conditioning problems as well, popping out of weave poles, missing contacts, that all come back to conditioning issues.
Conditioning work is also a huge part of my foundation work, I never look at my fitness training as only fitness training. I can use all of my fitness work to build teamwork skills, foundation skills for my distance work, directional work, and lots more!
I want my dogs to properly conditioned not only so they can perform the agility skills needed safely, but to also prevent injuries.
TotoFit has an amazing blog with great information from beginner to advanced fitness work. Their philosophy and equipment focus on safety and that is one of the many reason I love working with their equipment!
My next post in the Focus on Condtioning series will discuss some of the foundation exercises I do with my dogs.
Amanda Nelson is well known for her distance handling skills, and she has been traveling the country and teaching seminars for 20+ years. She has traveled around the world to Australia, Japan, Netherlands, England, Switzerland and the Philippines teaching all levels of agility, with nearly all dog breeds. Amanda focuses on teaching teamwork as well as how to create a strong connection between dog and handler. She works with all styles of handling, from running with your dog to distance handling. Amanda tailors each training session, large or small, to the dog and handler to help bring out the best in the team. Her training techniques consist of a large amounts of targeting, food rewards, and toy rewards. Creating a fun learning environment for the dog encourages a fast, fun, and motivated dog in the agility ring. Amanda uses a combination of Upper Body Cues, Lower Body Cues, and Verbal Cues. This system was derived from the natural cues that most dogs read and pick up quickly. Handlers are taught how to use all of these cues, together, to create a customized handling system that can be tailored to their unique dog. All of these techniques have resulted in Amanda earning numerous titles with her dogs including the MOD SQUAD award, Purple Achievement Cup, and over 40 NADAC Championship titles. She has won the NADAC Championships multiple times, including winning the Super Stakes and Starter Stakes division. She has also been Top Bonus Dog, Top Purple Dog, and Top Dog of the Year several times in NADAC.
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