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Performance Information & Articles

Robert L. Gillette, DVM, MSE

The most important element of canine sports medicine is recognizing the athleticism of the patient

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Performance Information & Articles
To get the best performance out of your dogs, they must be properly conditioned, mentally prepared, and be free of any pain that might affect performance.

Canine Optimum Performance Page Overview

Performance Factors
Body System Interaction
Energy Demands
Sprint/Strength vs Endurance
Training, Conditioning, and Workout Goals
Words of Caution


The best training program addresses the specific needs of your dog.
Training
Exercise
Nutrition
Health Care

 

Performance Factors

Performance is influenced by internal factors and external factors.

Internal Factors
External Factors
Anatomical 
Physiological 
Psychological
Environment 
Dog interaction 
Handler 
Functional Demands 
Design and Boundaries of Event
Once these factors are defined then the training and conditioning program is designed specifically to address these needs.

    The external factors include: dog interaction, environmental climate and location, housing, type of work, and work factors.  The internal factors include: anatomical make-up, physiological function, and psychological influence.  The areas that influence these internal factors are: genetics, health, nutrition, training, and conditioning.  The best performance will come from the dog with the correct anatomical build, that is in peak condition, and is psychologically ready to perform its particular duties.  Any change in performance can then be attributed to an anatomical lameness, a medical illness or imbalance, or a psychological alteration.

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Body System Interaction


    The body systems involved in performance are the muscular, skeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, hormonal, and skin.   Every athletic event includes some form of movement.  Movement is a result of the muscles moving bones according to neuronal stimulation.  The other systems work together to provide or maintain all the components needed to allow this function to occur.  Muscles are used in propulsion and navigation of the body.  The skeleton provides support and structure to the body.  The nervous system provides stimulation, balance and direction.  The cardiovascular system provides energy to the cells and removes the energy by-products.  The respiratory system provides gaseous exchange and thermoregulation.  The gastrointestinal tract produces energy and removes waste.  The renal system provides fluid balance and waste removal.  The hormones act to maintain balanced metabolism.  The skin provides a protective covering from the environment, an outer membrane to the internal organs, and is responsible for optimal hair coat.  Peak performance of the body as a whole is a result of the optimal, balanced output of these systems.


Energy Demands

Energy Demands of Performance

The body needs energy to maintain homeostasis, and additional energy during physical activity.  The body utilizes three systems to provide this energy.  The type of activity defines which of the systems will be used.  The immediate energy source is from the one enzyme system.  It provides energy for the first the first five seconds up to twenty seconds.  This system uses intracellular ATP, Creatine Phosphate (CP), and the ADP/myokinase reaction to provide energy for the increased body activity.  The glycolytic pathway provides energy from five to twenty seconds up to two minutes.  Energy comes from the anaerobic breakdown of glucose.  This is a more complicated form of energy production involving multiple steps and enzymes.  The third energy source is from oxidative metabolism.  It starts approximately two minutes after the start of the physical exercise.  It is the most complicated energy system.  It can use various substrates and is the most efficient system.
 
 

Energy Resources
Metabolic energy is drawn from different resources in the body, similar to energy utilization by a car engine.  When the engine is turned on gas is used immediately at the piston, this is then replaced by gas from the gas tank, which is then replaced by gas from a gas station. 

When the body performs at a level greater than its normal daily routine there is a greater demand for energy.  The systems as a whole must work together to provide energy to the areas of need and at the same time maintain homeostasis.  Therefore, the fuel resources must be at a level to meet this demand and accessible to be used as an energy source. Workout repetition compels the body to adapt itself to meet these demands.  It begins by pooling energy sources at the location of greatest need, i. e. intracellular ATP, CP, and glucose.  Then it increases the production of the specific enzymes required for the most utilized energy systems.  Workout repetition conditions the body to the stresses of competition and minimizes the chance of systemic or cellular injury.

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Anerobic vs Aerobic work

Athletic and Working dogs are defined by the type of work or sports that they produce.

Athletic and working dogs are divided into two performance types.  Dogs that compete in events that require a single burst of supra-maximal energy are called strength events.  Some examples include dog pulls and dog long jumping.  Dogs that compete in events that  last less than one minute are generally referred to as being sprint athletes.  Some example include oval track racing, agility, flyball.  Canine sprint and strength athletes are grouped together because they both utilize the immediate and glycolytic energy systems.   Dogs that compete in events that last longer than four minutes are called endurance athletes.  Most of the energy that they use during their workout comes from aerobic metabolism.  Examples of endurance dogs are the pointing breeds, foxhounds, sled dogs.

Understanding the type of work or competition your dog performs is important when designing the dogs workout program.  Endurance dogs require a different conditioning program than sprint or strength dogs.


Training Goals

Training, Conditioning, and Workout Programs

    Once we have determined the components of competition we can then organize our management program accordingly.  All aspects of the body must be prepared for competition.  The enzymes, proteins, and chemicals must be available for proper cellular function.  The transport systems must be trained and conditioned to meet the demands of competition.  The everyday workout routine and feeding schedule must prepare the body for the competitive schedule that lies ahead.  Once the body is trained for maximal output we must keep the body conditioned for the rigors of competition.  The ideal conditioning program maintains this level and prepares the body for optimal output when needed at competition.  At the same time this conditioning program works to minimize the damage that occurs during an athletic performance.  A poor conditioned dog is very susceptible to tissue injury and cellular damage.  The goal should be for a long productive career not just a good outing.


To get the best performance out of your dogs, they must be properly conditioned, mentally prepared, and be free of any pain that might affect performance.

The best training program addresses the specific needs of your dog:  Training, Exercise, Nutrition, Health Care


Be Careful!!

**Before beginning any form of exercise or conditioning program consult your veterinarian to be certain that your dog is healthy enough to handle the program.**

The information provided on this site is designed for educational purposes only, and is provided with the understanding that Robert L. Gillette is  not rendering veterinary medical or professional medical services or advice.  By accessing my website you agree that you  hold Dr. Robert L, Gillette harmless from any loss, claim or damage arising from your use of any of the information and ideas contained and presented at this site.
 

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