Why slow training can improve your dog's speed.
In the world of agility and other fast dog sports, speed is key. You often hear people say that a fast elimination is better than a slow clear as the dog then has drive but the problem is that technique, strength and skill should not be trained with speed. So here are 5 reasons why you should slow down some of your dog's training.
- Strength - by doing exercises slowly you will build more strength and power in the muscles. Just try standing from a seated position as slowly as you can and feel how much harder the exercise works your leg muscles when momentum is not used to help. Strength in the muscles is essential to create speed so slow strength building exercises should be used in a fitness programme to help develop the muscles in this way.
- Recovery - If everything your dog does is at speed it's body will never have time to truly recover and it will therefore be at a higher risk of injury. All training programmes should have peaks and troughs of duration and intensity and recovery days are just as important in that schedule as the harder, faster work sessions.
- Skills - You do not teach children to add and subtract against the clock before you teach them mathematics skills without time pressure. Once they understand a skill they will naturally get quicker and cope with the pressure of the clock a lot better. So why teach your dog to do fast skills before just teaching the skill itself? This may create a fast dog but it will also create a stressed dog.
- Stress - Dogs that have not been given the time to learn and understand things will become stressed. They will then start to display signs of displacement such as scratching, yawning, lip licking or running off sniffing. A stressed dog is not a happy dog so treat all dogs individually and let them learn at their own speed. This will allow their confidence to build and will create a much more willing partner.
- Faults - a dog that does not have good strength, technique or understanding of how to use his body will be prone to knocking poles. This is a much more difficult thing to fix than prevent so getting your dog's training right from the start is beneficial. Teach your dog self control and slow exercises from the start, then mix in between speed exercises for the best results of producing a fast competitive happy athlete.