Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chris Zink seminar - day 2

Wow, another full day.

Some of the topics discussed included strength training, endurance training, proprioception training, stretching, and a variety of injuries such as medial shoulder instability, iliopsoas strains, biceps tenosynovitis, and jump down syndrome. The afternoon was spent working dogs over jumping exercises.

Chris strongly recommends teaching dogs to "beg" because of the benefits it has for the dog in terms of developing core strength. I tried teaching this to L&W a while ago but for whatever reason (okay okay I know I'm a pathetic trainer!) had no success whatsoever. She had a few suggestions for some of the problems I've had, and bingo! Both Lucy and Walter are now on their way to learning this basic but valuable trick. I will be very excited to see their progress with this considering I once thought I'd never be able to teach it to them, especially Walter. Once they've got the beg down pat, next will be the difficult but great-for-the-leg-muscles beg > stand on two legs > beg!

Lucy was my working dog for today. She was part of the Level 2 group, working an exercise on bounce jumping. The jumps started far apart and gradually came closer and closer (4 or 5 feet). For a few of the close ones I ran when I should have walked so she was going too fast and had to do some crazy/scary maneouvre by the time she got to the last jump. Sorry Lucy!

So yeah, it was certainly a full weekend. Many topics other than the ones I've mentioned were also discussed. Also it's entirely possible I've misunderstood some things so please take what I wrote with a grain of salt. One last thing I have to comment on is how well the seminar stayed on time. It was really nice to know that when Chris said we'd start up again in 15 minutes, we really would start up again in exactly 15 minutes, whether or not some people hadn't returned from their break yet. Punctuality is a very good thing :)

I would definitely recommend this seminar to anyone else doing agility and would go again if she comes back in a few years, both as a refresher and to see what new material gets added.


Sam said...

I'd love to hear how you're teaching them to beg. I've had no success with that either.

Elf said...

It's great when a light goes on for everyone.

Elayne said...

I'm surprised she said that pacing is never natural. I thought it had to do with structure. Strummer paces all the time.

And yes, you should do a post about training the sit up and beg.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Wow, I'm glad I admited to having failed at teaching the simple beg -- and here I thought I had to be the only one! Heh. Okie dokie then, post coming up.

That's what I thought too, about pacing. If I recall correctly, her theory is partly based on watching lots of footage of wild canines of varying species and noticing that none of them pace, ever. She says it's an unhealthy gait because of the stresses it puts on the body, compared the trot and other natural gaits.

Gussie said...

Great to hear that sit up and beg is good for the dog's core. I always thought it must be; but a friend had always frowned to see Jake do it, saying it would strain his back.

He started begging during one Xmas holiday and I strongly suspect my aunt of luring him. He suddenly started offering the behaviour at every opportunity. So I put it on cue ("meercat").

Elf said...

Oh, I like "meercat" as the cue! Think I'll steal--ahem--borrow it. I never got around to starting to teach my dogs "beg" until recently after a dog injury (and I never liked "beg" or "sit pretty").

My dog was in physical therapy for sore abdominal/thigh muscles (somewhere in that area) and the PT recommended tons of exercises including the sitting up to strengthen the abs. Also squats! And another dog PT said her dog does squats, too! (Pushing up & down from the "beg" position.)

I wonder if it would be the same for a long-backed dog like corgi or dachshund? I'd think it would be, since in humans the best way to protect the back is to strengthen the abs.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Hey Gussie, "meercat" is a good one!

Squats would be very cool. Hopefully we'll get there. There's a video somewhere on You Tube of a border collie who does tons of squats in a row. Must have leg muscles of steel!

Interesting point about long-backed dogs. There weren't any at the seminar and the question never came up but your reasoning makes sense to me.

Gussie said...

I hadn't thought of them as squats, but thinking about it, the stand down down stand routine J does as part of his warm up are just that. Note to self: I need to remember to warm myself up too!