Conditioning your dog for the show ring
Conditioning your dog for the show ring is an important part of preparing your show dog and it has many advantages. Well-conditioned dogs are in better physical shape with well-defined muscles and improved movement. They should be able to extend when they move making their gait look effortless, graceful and flowing as well as having improved co-ordination and power.
A well conditioned dog which has been well exercised and fed correctly will have better mental wellbeing and will appear more alert in the ring. They will also have greater endurance and be able to withstand long days in the show ring.
Exercise and good nutrition are both key to conditioning. When it comes to exercise, there are lots of different ways to get your dog in shape and develop endurance.
Long walks, swimming, running and treadmills are all used to get dogs fit, healthy and well muscled. Harness training, where dogs are trained in harness to pull carts, sleds or other objects, is also used with some large breeds to build muscle and endurance.
Feeding a high quality, balanced diet is a vital element in conditioning a dog and it should include a highly digestible source of animal protein. Protein is an essential part of any diet and performs a wide variety of functions within the body, with fish being an excellent protein source. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are necessary for good health. Some are created by the body but others need to be obtained from food. These ‘essential amino acids’ are found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy and help build muscle; fix tissue in tendons, ligaments and cartilages; and maintain healthy skin and fur – all essential for a successful show dog.
Fish is also a great source of healthy dietary fats that are enriched with essential fatty acids. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid present in fish which helps maintain healthy joints and tendons, essential in keeping a show dog moving freely. Omega 3 is also beneficial in treating arthritis and other joint problems. For dogs with skin conditions, Omega 3 helps reduce any itchiness, rashes or skin irritation keeping them looking and feeling healthy.
By conditioning your dog for the show ring through a well planned exercise regime and excellent nutrition, your dog will both look and feel better, helping boost performance in the show ring.