Workout Wednesday – Rest and recovery
Each week we bring you training ideas for you and your puppy. We are 100% believers of short and fun training sessions, and we usually train a couple of times a day on foundation skills, with 2 larger sessions a week for Agility and Jumping. As with any sport, it’s also important to know when to rest and recover.
In the past I’ve thought if I don’t train Jaxon every day, he and I will miss out on something. This is not true. What is true is that dogs, just like us, take time to learn and absorb new skills. Just as failure is an important teacher in our training, so is rest and recovery.
Each dog is different, and not all of them are elite athletes. Jaxon loves a good run around, socialising with other dogs, 2 short training sessions a day and a good walk. That pretty much gets him sleeping the rest of the time. It doesn’t sound like much, and he’s a small dog. A larger dog might need 2 long walks, 2 training sessions and a good run around, and lots more!
Twice a week, Jaxon has a solid couple of hours at club, where he’s alert & working, and once a fortnight we spend a whole day at a trial. Just like building up for a running event, you need to build up training for your pup if you’re going to be trialling. Even if you don’t do sports with your dog, rest is an important part of any training regime.
You will generally know when your dog is tired, as they will sleep. What you should also look out for is any soreness in their legs or back when just walking around after a big training session or trial. There are great doggie massage therapists at trials, and you can see one of them for a nice relaxing massage (some do humans & doggies!).
Jaxon is lucky to get a massage at times – especially after club sessions and trials. It’s easy. Gently massage through muscles around the shoulders, down the back, and the rear quarters to help to relieve any tension your pup may be holding in their muscles. An agility dog will also hold some tension in their feet, so giving each foot a gentle rub over the pads is nice for them too.
This is a great way for you to also check for cuts, lumps, scratches, allergic rashes, ticks and etc. Your pup will be relaxed, and you’ll have a good idea of their general wellbeing.
It’s a good thing for your dog to soak up the training they have had during the week. Your dog is learning all the time. So having no formal training session doesn’t mean that you cannot be reinforcing the training that you do during the week.
When we can, we even get to the beach for a recovery session. The water is great, Jaxon has a ball, and we build on reinforcing recalls, walking at heel, and fetch!
Whether it’s on your walks or down the park, these are great places to reinforce and build on training by just having fun.