Retriever News

April 2015

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38 APRIL 2015 ■ RETRIEVER NEWS to Dog Sports APPLYING PERIODIZED CONDITIONING Y oung dogs and seasoned championship winners alike need conditioned mentally and physically to compete at the top of their game. Start with a timeline that counts back- ward from when you want your dog to peak in performance — maybe it is at the upcoming National Championship — and gradually work up to that level of performance. Dr. Arleigh Reynolds (AR), the reigning World Champion sprint sled-dog musher, provides insights on how to apply periodized conditioning to dog sports. He developed periodized conditioning in his Alaskan sprint racers, borrowing the concept from elite human athletes, and attrib- utes it to his team's success. Retriever Trials: Speed & Intervals Professional retriever trainer Danny Farmer, of Vinwood Kennels in Anderson, Texas, holds the record for winning the most Open retriever stakes. Competing in every National Open since 1981, averaging five dogs qualified per year, Farmer is a member of the Retriever Hall of Fame and winner of three Purina Outstanding Retriever Awards. "Our retriever trials run year-round," Farmer says. "Usually there are three or four series that take place over three days. Day one consists of land marks and a land blind. To make the triple or quad land marks, retrievers run hard from four to 20 minutes. Then, there is a break, which varies depend- ing on the number of dogs. Retrievers sprint up to 400 to 500 yards in five minutes to make the land blind, sometimes it is a double blind. "Water blinds, either one blind or a double, are the second day of the trial. Retrievers swim 150 to 300 yards, usually working eight to 12 minutes. Day three, the final series, consists of water marks, a triple or a quad, in which dogs swim eight to 20 minutes. This is strenu- ous work." AR: Retrievers are highly specialized dogs trained to make 500-yard blind land and water retrieves. Early in the field trial season, it is important to make sure retrievers are as physi- cally fit as they can be. You want to go into the season with a good aerobic base to help reduce the risk of injury and have a stronger perform- ance. Start building that aerobic base in January and February during preparation conditioning. Preparing retrievers for trials requires mixing up their conditioning. They swim hard, and their land sprinting work makes it easy for them to have a so -tissue injury, such as a cranial cruciate ligament rupture. You want to include speed and interval work with condi- tioning to help build muscles and endurance. It is so important to warm up and cool down dogs with everything you do. If you go South for winter, this is when you can emphasize land conditioning. If you go North in the summer to train, use swimming to condition. No matter where you are, if the temperatures are warm, consider doing land training in the morning and swimming dogs in the a ernoon. As the field trial season begins, it's important to continue conditioning dogs one or two days a week. This takes less time than most trainers NFC Trumarc's Dot Come, the 2013 National Open Retriever Champion handled by Danny Farmer.

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