Most of what we do here at FITDOG NATION is the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle for dogs. But there is a large segment of people who also want to achieve world class canine performance. If you’re one of these people then you must read on.
One of the biggest challenges a working or sporting dog will experience in their lifetime is something called ‘Overtraining’
Overtraining is when your dog has ‘done too much’ to the point that they are unable to effectively perform or you see a decline or plateau in their performance. More often than not, overtraining goes un-noticed so here are some signs your dog could be over-trained:
- Loss of appetite
Dogs that consistently perform intense work higher than their threshold with insufficient recovery will eventually experience stress which is higher than what their body can handle. When this occurs, their body will begin to use their vital energy reserves as food instead of eating. This is your dogs way of preserving balance in their body. A sign of this happening is if your dog begins to refuse food or becomes a picky eater. If this continues your dog can experience serious conditions that affect their cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems. That’s why all our 12 Week programs are specifically designed with training systems that make sure your dog does not become overtrained.
- Decline in performance
Another sign of overtraining is when you notice a decrease or plateau in your dogs performance. This could be an obvious decrease in strength during weight pulling sessions, slower agility scores or lack of endurance in treadmill races. That’s why we always recommend tracking your dogs performance levels (at least weekly) so you know what is normal for them.
- Irritability and anxiety.
Overtraining can affect your dog’s stress hormone levels, which can cause them to display abnormal behaviour. This could be an increase in rank aggression in the home or less patience around other dogs or young children.
So what do you do if your dog is showing any of the above signs? Well first of all do not panic. Our advice is to firstly see your veterinary professional to assess their vital signs. The next step would be to put the following in place.
Make sure your dog has access to the opportunity to have good quality rest. This should be in an undistracted place that allows them to sleep and rest with the ability to spread all of their limbs and joints.
Provide your dog with access to water 24/7 and if necessary you may want to offer them an electrolyte solution. Also avoid feeding foods which will dehydrate your dog further such as main stream kibbles and treats.
Ensure your dog is being fed the appropriate macronutrient quantities. Every dog is different based on their breed, age and ability. That’s why our Custom made 12 Week Conditioning program focuses on tailor made nutrition plans. However, we recommend a basic guidelines of 35% Carbohydrates, 40% Fat and 25% Protein for active and working dogs.
Muscle Recovery (Rub down)
Give your dog a rub down daily especially after workouts. This will allow the lactic acid in their muscles to be releaved and will increase blood flow and oxygen to their muscles which improves recovery and prevents overtraining.
All good conditioning programs provide recovery days. A recovery day does not mean a rest day of doing nothing at all. A recovery day will be a day of activity that compliments the more intense days. We believe all dogs should be active every day. That’s why we use a cyclical conditioning systems which plan all your dogs workouts to maximise performance and reduce the risk of overtraining.
It’s important to track your dog’s workouts and performance so that you know how they are progressing and what is normal for them. There are four components you must track; That is the frequency (how many sessions they do) The intensity (How hard they go for example did they do a trot or a sprint?) The time (how long did they sprint for?) and the ‘type’ (was it interval treadmill sprints, drag pull sprints, sprints with a chute? Etc)
If you have any question or concerns feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep them fit,
P.S. Boost your Dogs Power and Endurance with one of our World Class Dog Treadmills