What sort of things should you remember when taking care of an agility dog? Read these tips from vet and OneMind Dogs Coach Minna Martimo!
To be able to enjoy doing agility with your dog for as long as possible, it's important that you take care of your team mate's physical well-being on both training days and competition days.
Vet Minna’s tips for taking care of an agility dog’s physique
- Make sure you follow appropriate warm up, cool down and hydration procedures for your agility dog depending on the weather. Read more.
- Keep track of how your dog behaves and moves (trots, canters, gallops, sits down, lies down, gets up from lying down, jumps or turns). Examine your dog thoroughly with your hands on a regular basis. This way you can notice problems early on. Trust yourself if you feel something is “off” and seek professional help if necessary.
- Your agility dog needs to be in good physical condition and not obese. Dogs’ primary moving muscles and stabilizer muscles both need to be strong and flexible.
- Take care of your dog’s physical health regularly with treatments such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture and/or massage. It is better to prevent problems from arising by being proactive than letting them pile on and treating them as they become problematic.
- Trim your dog’s nails regularly and have his anal glands checked if necessary.
- Be reasonable with how much you train. Learning shouldn't involve many repetitions when correct methods are used. The handler can also learn a lot without involving the dog.
- Remember that dogs also need days off from ‘work’ (hobbies and intense exercise)!
Minna Martimo is an agility enthusiast and OneMind Dogs coach from Northern Finland, where she also works as a regional vet. Minna started with agility in 2000 and has been working as a vet since 2003 with both companion and farm animals.