25 FebRunning A Dog Agility Course Without Passing Out

You envision the upcoming dog agility run in your mind — leading out while your dog waits at the line and then you start! Running from one obstacle to the next, back-crosses, front-crosses, going from one piece of agility equipment to the next until you and your dog leap across the finish line together!

Then you open your eyes and real life comes back — you remind yourself you just want to have fun, that’s the most important thing. And if you can keep from collapsing in a gasping heap in the middle of the course, that’s just icing on the cake.

Okay, not everybody is out of shape — but the “fattening of America” didn’t skip over people who love dog agility (that would have been nice, wouldn’t it?). If you want to run agility without fear of passing out, the obvious answer is to lose weight.

Simple to say, but anyone who’s tried it (over and over and over again) knows it’s not a piece of cake (pun intended).

If you’re just too overweight to keep up with your dog you have a couple options (other than the lose weight one):

1. Train your dog to stay with you on the course. If you can slow down your dog then you can walk, saunter, do a little jog, etc., and get through the course that way.

Two big problems with that is first, it’s not really fair to the dog (they want to FLY and have fun) and second, you’ll have a hard time getting a qualified run if you don’t get a move on.

2. Train your dog to work away from you. With this option your dog can go ahead of you on the course and do the obstacles as you direct them from behind. Of course, for this to work you’re going to need your dog SOLID on going away from you, turning left, and turning right. If you have a “velcro dog” this might not be an option, but a lot of dogs can learn to work away from their handler.

While option 2 is something that will help whether you’re overweight or not, there’s also something else you can do, and that’s to get in “better” shape without actually worrying about losing weight.

Note! As always, check with your doctor before doing any kind of new physical activity.

By better shape, I mean to start working on being able to jog short distances, just 20 feet or so. Even someone who’s very overweight can build up their stamina to handle short bursts. You may not win any world records in speed, but being able to run 20 feet, slowing down for a couple seconds while your dog handles an obstacle, then going another short burst, etc., can give you a much better chance at having fun and finishing the course without passing out.

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