OUTDOORS: August early mornings and late afternoons the ideal times to begin preseason dog training | Sports
Early morning and late afternoon in August are ideal times to start off-season dog training
When it comes to practicing with my bows, I take the heat.
If it comes down to putting up my ladder racks, I’ll be fine.
However, when it comes to preseason field training with my Labrador Retrievers, I make sure it is done when the conditions are most beneficial and comfortable for them. That means that with the arrival of August a week from now, as autumn approaches, it is time to start a training program that will get her on her game in October. The best time for these sessions is mornings and evenings, when the temperatures are less intense.
“Long before autumn comes, serious sports dog enthusiasts have been working on getting their dogs fit,” said Karl Gunzer, Senior Manager of the Purina Sporting Group. “In reality, they never let up in the conditioning / training mode, although the intensity of their daily training may decrease a little in the off-season.
“Pre-season training varies depending on age, experience and individual dog, but experts agree on results when a program focuses on optimal training, condition and nutrition. Regardless of the sport, these components are essential when it comes to developing a dog for hunting or field testing.
“Dogs need to be in good physical shape at the start of the season, which means owners and trainers should focus on getting a dog into top condition weeks before the opening day. Those who build a performance platform that balances training, condition and diet enable a dog to give its best. “
In fact, most dogs know their limits, as evidenced by the 11½-year-old dingus at best making a few passes with its nose in the air to catch the scent of its lifelong adversaries. He now knows when is enough and retreats into his bowl of water and into the shadow of the truck.
While this confuses 3-year-old Doc, he doesn’t let himself be stopped from doing it alone with his nose, which alternately points in the air and sniffs for scents on the floor. Most encouraging is how far he is this year compared to the same period last year, although his last bird hunt was on his own in April at Martz’s Gap View Preserve.
Such behavior is to be expected, said Gunzer. As a professional retriever trainer for 20 years, he understands the strict requirements of the front end that achieve the desired results in the field.
“Training is a process that takes time,” says Gunzer. “A dog needs to become physically and mentally mature for the challenges it is taught.
“Diet supports the dog’s hard work. Feeding a nutrient-rich, high-protein and high-fat performance food helps increase a dog’s stamina. “
However, there are some nutritional no-gos to be aware of, the most important of which is not to feed hardworking dogs before exercise. Since complete digestion takes 20-24 hours, feed a performance dog the night before a trial or hunting trip, as dogs fed six hours or earlier before training will result in the body’s fat-burning enzymes not being optimized resulting in decreased stamina and energy production.
Do not feed a working dog the same amount of food over and over, as this should be increased for the first four to six weeks of conditioning. The amount of food should increase, but then level off and decrease slightly. Every dog is an individual, so the amount of food should be adjusted to maintain ideal body condition.
It is best to give a hardworking dog a performance diet year round, although the amount of food should be reduced if activity levels decline during the off-season. This helps to maximize training and stamina.
Do a daily feeding routine to give a hardworking dog time to fully digest the food. Young dogs or dogs with a high need for care who need a larger amount of food can be fed a slightly smaller portion twice a day in the morning.
Be sure to give working dogs plenty of water as they should be well hydrated as exercise is a heat generating activity and water is needed for heat dissipation. Water is also needed to remove the byproducts of energy metabolism that are essential for endurance and performance.