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Learning from APTB Dogmen?
So I just came back from a mock trial. It was a scorcher, many dogs including my dog tbh quickly lost their animation and got a tad droopy in the heat. This ofcourse lead to less intensity and preformances that could have been better. I was not happy with the product I put out on the field and would be very unhappy if it were a real trial.
I got to thinking that if my dog were in better physical condition and had better endurance and heat tolerance the performance would have likely been better.
For the record my dog lives inside with AC so is not acclimated to the heat the same as if she lived outside. I assume its the same for a lot of the dogs there.
*I will preface this by saying I am not interested in discussing the morals of these "dogmen". Obviously dog fighting is illegal, cruel and immoral. However, the undeniable truth is that money and pride will push human beings to unique feats of innovation. Innovations we can learn from.
SO I was recently on youtube and began taking in some vids on the sporting dog channel from such APTB luminaries as Don Mayfield and Robert Lemm.
Specifically how they conditioned their animals for "shows" code speak for dog fight.
The study and effort they put into conditioning these dogs was herculean for obvious reasons.
There was much discussion on slat mills, supplements, chaining the dog, flirt pole, Jenny work etc.
These guys were doing everything from volume to resistance training with these dogs on a daily basis.
A few things I would like to touch on:
Treadmills, Robert Lemm talks about essentially volume training the dog on the mill. Dog trots for 2 mins goes flat out for 1 min back to a trot for 2 mins...rinse and repeat for 25-30 mins.
The idea is to decrease the rest period over time as the dogs endurance and VO2 max increases.
They did I believe its called Jenny work (the contraption looks complicated to replicate) have seen something similar for horses. Where the dog runs in a wide circle. Again they trot and run the dog. Also the handler sometime holds on to the Jenny for added resistance. The dog is frequently taken off the Jenny hosed down and walked, allowed to recover then put back on it.
They talked about putting the young dogs on a chain from 6 month onwards to increase overall fitness. This is not the virst time I have heard that chaining the dog out increases overall fitness.
I wont get into supplements it was all beyond my ken, both human and dog stuff..lol. They did feed quality kibble for obvious reasons.
Lemm talked about life sustaining fat vs 0% bodyfat and how you need the fat..
Pulling weight on sleds going for walks and more was discussed.
Anyways this has all made me re think how I keep and exercise my dogs. Needless to say a high level of fitness would result in a better performance on field.
Once again dog fighting is wrong, however I think there is something to learn from all ends of the dog game from hunters to yes..even dogmen when it comes to breeding, conditioning, stock selection and training.
So lets not make this about the illegal immoral aspect of what folks do with gamedogs we all agree its bad.
Thoughts and experience on this subject are what I am shooting for.
I think like everything else - this can be taken to the extreme. I would worry about over-conditioning a dog, i.e.: excessive workouts that will long-term cause more harm than good. IPO is already hard on a dog, by adding more physical stressors the dog may be breaking down physically prematurely. The people in those videos may have some great results, but they may not be as concerned about keeping the dog healthy and hale into the senior years.
Talking to a Canadian mulit-national competitor/winner, WUSV multi-competitor about how he conditions his dogs for international level competition he mentioned two things: Weight pulling and swimming. For weight pulling, you'd be surprised, they had a special-made harness and the dog would work 15-20 minutes a day pulling a . . . (are you ready for this?) . . . 5 lb weight. Yes, FIVE pounds! He was amazed at how this developed the dog's muscle mass and strength, without taxing the system.
For swimming, he would take his dog out to a lake and swim her for 30 minutes a day (out in a boat, dog swam for 30 minutes no break) - of course, they worked up to that level slowly.
Bottom line is that these were low-impact exercises that did not put continous, extreme stress on the the joints, or force the dog to the edge of exhaustion. Again, long-term sustainability was the goal. Keep the dog healthy and active into her senior years.
That is fascinating about the weight pulling. Do you know any more about what kind of harness he used and what they used for the weight? Thanks!
I have not seen the weight pulling harness. This was the owner of Dog Sport Gear, Ralph Gilby, and his bitch, Billie. They made the harness in-house, just for Billie, and it had a pouch that they put rocks in, and she would drag the pouch behind her. She was RIPPED! LOL!
Interval training is very common in endurance horses and anytime distance conditioning is needed. I have used this while biking my dogs (would swim more if I had my own pond) having days when we do a slow steady long distance ride and then days where the distance is shorter and we do sprints. My dogs have been in the best shape when I do this. I have also seen the light weight resistance training used by the German handlers though I have not used it.
Some of the other conditioning the game dog people do may not be as beneficial since their activity and IPO are different. Their activity involves one thing. Ours involves many. I look at it like a triathlon athlete Vs. wrestler. Both must be strong and have conditioning, but one involves long steady work while the other requires short bursts of power.
The harnesses I saw were very similar to the ones used by dogs in weight pulling. They just had a different apparatus hooked to the back that held the weights. One of these people just put water bottles in theirs.
consider that it might not be the weather. Have you done mock trials before? How did she look in other weather? Did you have a visible toy in your hand this time? Do you usually? What else was different? How was it a mock trial? The entire routine? Do you usually do a whole routine? Corrections/no corrections? etc.
Dogs can expand their energy quickly in the heat, but more often than not a dog going flat over the course of the routine just means he hasn't been conditioned to hold his drive levels for long (too much of rewards, short intervals between rewards, etc.)
It's very important to teach the dog to continue to push harder for the reward/praise/release/whatever it is the dog is working for when he doesn't get it rather than go flatter.
Not something that can be explained any more than that over an internet forum, but something to talk to your TD and/or other handlers about. I'm sure you guys will be just fine down the road.
Sorry I know this derailing a bit, but for the pulling apparatus, are the things being pulled just dragging on the ground behind the dog, or are they on some sort of trolley?
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