Is your dog a couch potato while you are working your 8 hour day and then the weekend comes and he is expected to jump and climb as fast as he possibly can all while looking to you for direction?
Agility has the word Agile in it. We must be agile and so should our dogs. Athletes have training programs. You and your dog should have a similar program. This program should include diet, exercise, training, stretching and even scheduled rest. You cannot expect to perform to your best ability without paying some attention to these categories.
Diet: Your dog should have the appropriate food and supplements based on their level of activity and size. You as a competitor should plan your meals to eat fresh whole foods to nurture what you are requesting of your body. Drink lots of water.
Exercise: I walk the dogs a light mile walk in the morning on leash and typical evenings include either a hilly hike, swimming or training about 10 minutes each.
Stretching: Warming up muscles of you and your canine partner should take priority. Before running your dog you should develop a warm up routine with light stretches. It is just as important to have a post cool down routine. walk your dog around while your heart rate slows down and remember to stretch post activity too.
Preventative Measures: Me and my dogs see a chiropractor regularly as needed. You should be able to identify when you or your dog is out of alignment and needs an adjustment based on the dogs gait or your own. Are you favoring one side or another? I also like to use massage therapy as a way to keep muscles limber and flexible.
Thinking ahead while preparing you and your dog for competition will not only increase your speed and endurance but also strengthen those muscles needed when running. These steps will also help to eliminate injury.