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How to prepare a dog before race - musher individual




We all already know how to behave at the race with our dog. If not, here are some tips. So what about the preparation of the dog before the race? If you're groping here, I'll come up with some tips on what to look out for.

Czech championship canicross 2021, photo: Dominika Kaločai
The article is not a detailed guide on how to prepare, but contains general tips and links to detailed articles.

Many beginner participants go to the race blindly. They bet with a friend, get in the car and go overcome. This is exactly the type of racer you do not want to meet on the track. If you come up with something similar, believe me, it's not a good idea.

Why prepare a dog before the race?

Every race has its own rules, whether written or unwritten, but generally known. No one learned has fallen from heaven, so there is no shame in whistling everything. It is good to prepare the dog in advance for situations that may arise. You will save yourself, as well as other competitors any complications or protests.

What to prepare the dog for - condition

Overcoming yourself is respectable, but remember that you are not alone in it. Your dog is pulling you! He will be less interested of your overcoming than you and your loved ones, so you should be fair and prepare yourself and your dog physically. I don't know a sadder look than when I'm overtaking a team on a gentle slope, where the runner / walker loses consciousness and his dog partner is worse off, because it all has to pull.

How to prepare a dog? Here is a list of articles I have written on this topic

The basic condition of a dog, how to build it The content of the article is an explanation of the concept of basic condition. The need for this type of training is indisputable for a dog. Many problems with motivation for the move often stem from your dog's poor condition.

How to work with temperatures in training. This article delves into the theory of working with temperature in training. This is already bit of science, but if you want your dog to give top performances, you will not avoid this laboratory work, at least at the elementary level.

Overheating and cooling the dog related to a previous article on working with temperatures. Dogs have a specific cooling process and overheating is very problematic and unfortunately common. The tendency is also closely related to the physical condition of the dog.

Interval training for a dog It is one of the methods to conduct dog training. It is applicable to both canicross and other disciplines. Interval training is not the only way to prepare the dog, however it is more demanding on the handler's abilities.

What to prepare the dog for - situation

Seriously, nothing should surprise me in the time I'm racing or running, but the opposite is true. Sometimes a situation arises that I would not invent, so it is good to prepare not much. I dealt with the situations on the track and the liquidation of my own dog in the article below.

Betrayed musher dog describes, among other things, how big a problem is aggression on the track. The article contains a list of everything you can do to "spoil" your dog

What your dog should be able to do?

  • Directional commands - Being able to turn on command is a basic skill that probably doesn't need to be discussed. It is good to teach the dog to run from one side of the road to the other. This requires a bit of practice, but in the final you will appreciate it especially when overtaking.

  • Slow down on command - Wondering why? Canicross runs to the fullest, but sometimes the force of the move is to the detriment. Especially in a situation where you have a heavy and strong dog and a sharp descent appears in front of you. Then you are grateful for the command that will relieve you of suffering.

  • Dog should be obedient -Prepare it for a large number of dogs, for noise and chaos, for possible manipulation (weighing, chip loading, soaking the fur before the start)

  • Serene and confident - Many situations can drive weaker characters into a corner. Manipulation, mental pressure during physical performance and sleep deprivation. It can also be mushing and the dog should be well prepared for it.


What should a dog not do?

  • Attacking other dogs- Any aggression on the track or in the race area is punishable by disqualification.

  • Attacking other people - Aggression against people can also be a reason for disqualification.

Which dog does not belong to the races?

Dogs overweight can be perceived as cute. Dog obesity is often excused as a result of age or castration. Whatever it is caused by, it is a sign of very low dog condition. Give such a dog a few more weeks of preparation until it it loses weight. Weight reduction in a dog is much easier than in humans :-)

  • Sick and injured dogs definitely do not belong to races. Physical performance combined with stress can make things worse. On the other hand, you can infect other dogs and it definitely does not belong to mushing races. Let the dog take care and heal his injuries.

  • Dog ears docking or otherwise an unlawfully modified dog does not belong to any dog ​​competitions. 100% restriction is the only way to prevent similar practices.

What equipment does not belong in the races?

  • Leave the electric collar or barbed / spiked collar at home. All "training" aids that cause pain to the dog do not belong to the race.

  • The dog muzzle, although tolerated by some races, it is forbidden on the track during the race by the race rules. The dog can wear it off the track. The Internet is full of discussion, but the rules are clear. If your dog can overtake without contact, the muzzle is useless. In addition, the muzzle makes it difficult to breathe freely and thus significantly increases the risk of the dog overheating.


To sum it up in a few lines, your dog should be healthy, in good physical and mental condition, obedient and non-aggressive towards dogs and people. Do you have personal experience with any topic in the article? I will be happy for your comments right here on the blog.

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