Exercise for Sprint Athletes


It can be a challenge to design a conditioning program for sprint activities that will enhance performance, keep your dog’s chances of injury to a minimum and target the proper muscles groups.  

What does Sprint mean:  To move rapidly or at top speed for a brief period

Sprint athletes rely on anaerobic activities that build on the explosive muscles fibers used for rapid movement.  Long distance runners rely on aerobic activities to maintain activity for long periods of time.  These same theories apply to our canine athletes.   

Just for clarification:  Endurance is to exert and remain active for a long periods of time (such as sled dog, ski joring, running long distances) 

K9 Sports that require sprinting are agility, flyball, lure coursing and treibball just to name a few.   Sprint athletes require different conditioning programs than endurance athletes.  It has been proven that improved strength and weight distribution will improve speed and accuracy in movement.   Using the dog’s own body weight as resistance and designing a program using balance equipment and a dog treadmill can make a very comprehensive anaerobic conditioning plan.  Using balance training to strengthen the core muscle group is important because a dog with a strong core will use less energy, have support for the spine and will move more efficiently.  

Short bursts of very high intensity exercises using a DogTread treadmill is an effective way to target specific muscles groups and challenge your dog's muscles to improve strength.  The video below gives you a quick idea of what can be done with a treadmill made for dogs.

Challenging your dog’s muscles with exercises using FitPAWS balance equipment will improve strength, body awareness and coordination. See photos above and do your research.   Get guidance on exercises and body positions that best suit your dog and the sport you are involved in.     Body position, duration and degree of challenge should be considered. 

Keep in mind that human treadmills are not long enough for most dogs over 30 lbs.  If purchasing a DogTread treadmill made for dogs consider your dog’s leg and stride length when ordering.  I always recommend the longer tread length if there is any question about whether or not the tread is long enough.   Make sure you are looking at the TREAD length or RUN SURFACE not the full length of the machine.  

Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF
Pawsitive Performance