2020 - It's a year like no other. In many ways, we would normally be winding down to the end of the year & getting ready to rest our dogs from a long trial season. Instead, many of us are ramping up to get in a few trials before the end of the shortest season ever. So a high priority for many is getting fit fast, whether that is for the Show Ring, for flyball, or for Agility. Rally O and Obedience are also in full swing, with trials expected to run with a short break over the Summer, here in Australia. In chatting with many of my Clients over the last week, they are looking to get the most out of a short time, and hit the rings with some form before the season closes for the year. So I've put together my 5 top tips to get the most out of your dog's workouts as you head to the rings every weekend up to Christmas!

1. Hone in Make your dog's work out specific to their sport. Focus in on what you know you will need them to perform well and consistently with over the next 6 weeks. For example, if you have an Agility jumping dog, then get specific to strengthening their workout around sprint and strength/flex.

2. Get balanced Make sure you're doing as much Cardio as you are Strength and Flexibility training. If you can balance out your program, then you don't need to worry about lacking in speed or strength.


3. Take a rest Give your dog time to rest and recover.  

I recommend resting the day prior to an event. In addition, an active rest day following the event allows your dog to recover through casual movement. Swimming, walking & just hanging out are great ways to support an active recovery.


4. Drop the drills

If you're focusing on trialling, cut the number of drills you're doing to improve your ability to perform at trial events. Not only will the cognitive rest give your dog's brain a chance to do some fantastic neural pathway development and settle latent learning, the muscles, ligaments and tendons have a chance to recover and rebuild quicker.


5. Stretch it out

In addition to your warm up, stretching out your dog's muscles will continue to support recovery and prevent injury. Check out my last newsletter and blog on the details about stretching for your sports dog.

What next? If you're a member of the DogFit Conditioning & Performance Academy, there's plenty of content to get you started. I recommend the AgilityFit 30 Day Challenge to kick off yours and your dog's fitness. Know how to help your progress: Take one of my foundations courses in the Academy or join my Monday Night Chats -  on the AgilityFit Facebook Page . Skills: take yourself to the next level by booking a 1:1 session with me either in person or online, and see how you can get to the next breakthrough, no matter your sport or activity. Contact me directly at agilityfit@outlook.com for more information.


If you've ever done yoga or pilates, you will know the benefit of having flexibility and stability in balance. This week I spoke about the importance of stretching on my Monday Night Chat. One of my Clients has an older dog who has finished competing agility, but they wanted to go on with other activities like obedience and Rally-O. Sally's dog Chester was doing great to begin with, and over time she noticed that his ability to sit for a period was getting worse, and he more and more averted his behaviour when doing spins and figure 8s. When Sally came to see me with Chester, I noticed that pretty much his only issue was diminishing level of postural strength, and limited flexibility. So we focused on strength, active and passive stretching for Chester. Within a couple of weeks, Sally saw a great pick -up in Chester's ability, and he returned to competing Obedience and Rally-O with confidence. The topping on the cake, though was Sally's feedback to me about Chester's quality of life. She let me know "he's acting like he's 6 again, and so many people have made comments to me about how good he looks." Sally is over the moon that she is able to go on in sport with Chester, and keep that special bond they have going for as long as possible. You know that bond, I'm sure. It's so unique for every team, yet it's the heart of why we play sports with our dogs.


So what is the difference between passive and active stretching, and how can it help your team to do more for longer? Active stretching is when the dog is actively participating in the stretch as you guide them. Passive stretching is when the dog is lying or sitting still and you are guiding the stretch. A couple of musts for both types:

  • Muscles must be warm

  • You must go slow & watch your dog's response

  • Begin with a small range of motion

  • Hold for 3 - 10 secs to start

  • Let your dog move out of position gently

When should you stretch your dog? Stretch at all applicable times. After exercise, after training, after a massage to warm up muscles. In my training, I mostly use Active stretching after training and fitness sessions, and throughout a competition day. Warm up stretches for the competing dog should be active. Passive stretching should be used to get the most out of release and flexibility for your dogs. How old can my dog be to do stretching? You may notice that even puppies will stretch themselves in the morning or during and after play. Stretching for your dog at any age will keep them fit, engage their stabiliser muscles, and enable their movement as they age.

What next?

If you're a member of the DogFit Conditioning & Performance Academy, there's a free module on stretching to get you started.

I also have a new course starting in November all about flexibility & stretching!

DogFit Stretch & Flex will start on November 10, 2020.




No doubt all of us have the priority of our dogs' health top of mind. We put so much into their health, their training, their mental well being, and their overall fitness so that they're happy and we can play as strong and healthy teams. Within the busy-ness of our lives, it's hard to keep up with the constant flow of information coming our way. How do you know what's useful and what's not? When you're first starting out with your dog's fitness, there's a lot to take on board and it's easy to hit a plateau.


Have you ever woken up and thought "Just today I'd love someone to tell me what to do"? Sometimes we need a little inspiration to do something different, and we're not sure where to get that. My Clients certainly enjoy the ability to lean on me for inspiration and help at any time. You could say they have an expert in their hip pocket that helps keep them progressing. While we may aspire to be good at all the things all the time, that ideal isn't always a reality.  Having some handy tools to help us cut through the busy and prioritise what next was high on the list of wants when I asked my Clients what would make a difference in their conditioning sessions, recently. So what are the essential parts of progress in regards to canine conditioning? The way I define a breakthrough depends on the elements that go into that breakthrough. You need the right tools, know how and skills to make that progress happen. When you have good tools (documents, plans, specific programs) and some know how (exercises, understanding of progressions, how to put exercises together), you can progress with the right actions. Likewise when you have some know how and some skills (Clear training communication, dog's skills, foundations) to go with those, you have the ability to get your dog's fitness to the next level. When you have good tools and some skills, you can keep plans moving, and get to the next level.

© Frankie Aston CCFT 2020 – DogFit Conditioning and Performance

When we have all three of these things, breakthroughs can occur. That's where we lift beyond the plateau, and keep progressing.

Ok - "all this sounds like a lot of work, Frankie", I hear you say. And yes, it can be - but I'm here to make it a little easier. Take advantage of my expertise and get progress going for your dog's conditioning.


I have a range of tools and support to get you started.


Tools to help you get started on this journey: I have developed a couple of simple tools that are free to download in the DogFit Conditioning & Performance Academy. You will find a free session planner to take the headache out of your progress. I encourage you to discover this handy tool and try it out in your sessions.

Know how to help your progress: Take one of my foundations courses in the Academy or join my Monday Night Chats -  on the AgilityFit Facebook Page .


Skills: take yourself to the next level by booking a 1:1 session with me either in person or online, and see how you can get to the next breakthrough, no matter your sport or activity. Contact me directly at agilityfit@outlook.com for more information.




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© 2020 AgilityFit 

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