Friday, January 25, 2008


Mum has always been really good about stretching me out before and after my agility runs and practices, but she is stepping it up a notch after I got my pulled muscle a week or so ago.

Now, as part of my care in healing up from my pulled muscle, stretching and exercises have become a three times a day regime for me. And we will keep it up to keep me healthy and fit.

It's really difficult for Mum to take pictures of us doing our stretching routine, but we got busy and put together a little video of part of our daily stretching routine. We apologize that the vid is such low quality...we had an incredible amount of trouble getting the darn thing to work. But you'll get the idea.

There are some other great resources out there and we'll share them with you at the end of our post. But first...

The importance of stretching

Have you ever watched a pup after they get up from a nap? Nearly 99% of the time, they stretch - they bow down and stretch their front legs and back, then lean forward and stretch each back leg. Dogs are very smart, they know the importance of stretching after resting and before any activity. It's innate!

Stretching is vital to any dog, athlete or just a little active, young or old. It prepares the muscles for work, and working the muscles is a part of everyday life. But stretching is most important for the dog athlete, to prevent injuries and enhance performance. And it can also...
  • Relax the body
  • Promote circulation
  • Help with coordination, allowing freer and easier movement
  • Improve range of motion
  • Enhance the dog's body awareness
  • And improve health
Mum does several exercises with me, most notably:
  • Neck stretches - up and down
  • Front and back leg extensions and tucks
  • Cookie stretches - to each side
  • Toe stretches - pulling and rotating
  • Back stretches - creating a cat hump stretch for the back
All of these are designed to get me 'warmed up' for any activity - agility, herding birds, playing with Gracie, fetching, and more; and help me cool down after strenuous activity.

There are some great resources available for more information on massage and stretching. Here are a few of our favs:

Stretching the Performance Dog DVD

Canine Massage

The Agility Advantage

Building the Canine Athlete DVD

For additional resources visit my Squidoo Lens on Canine Athletes! And here are some good resources we found on the Internet:

Stretching for the Canine Athlete From Warm-Up to Cool Down
Canine Massage and Stretching – Improve your dog’s performance

If you have any stretching or conditioning routines that you would like to share, post them! We'd love to hear about them.


  1. Johann's stretching exercises looks a full body massage.

    My dogs aren't agility dogs, but like to run around and play. Do you recommend all of these stretching exercises as a regular routine for all dogs?

    By the way, Johann is a very well behaved dog. I really enjoyed the video.

  2. Hey Colby! I think any dog could benefit from these exercises on a regular basis. Playing and walking and running is hard work, BOL!

    But the reality is that every dog could benefit from stretching and massage, and one of the benefits is that you get to do it with your Mum and that's fun!

    Wanna know why I was so well behaved in the vid? I know when it's time for my stretch and massage, and I just 'give it up' cause I like it so much.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. It must be nice to have your own personal masseuse, Johann! ;)

    Very nice video. You have a wonderful Mum!

  4. i alwiz stretch...not only when i woke up...but the thing is, ms owner never help me with it..

  5. Nice post Johann! I LOVE to stretch. I also love massages. Does your mom give you massages? It feels really good and can help you heal faster too.

  6. Such a wonderful bonding experience. Loved it.

  7. OK, when's my massage?? lol

  8. I am a physical therapist who has a book coming out called Stretch Your Dog for Fitness and Health by Dogwise Publishing in August.

    I wanted to share a couple of things about what makes this book different from all the others currently on the market.

    The premise of the book is that we have been stretching our dogs using techniques developed for humans in the 1970's. There is so much new research available and what my sister, who is a CPDT, and I have done is create a patent-pending technique for stretching dogs that is based on the newer research. The three step technique includes joint stabilization, straight plane movement, and stretching. You can check it out at or send me an e-mail for more information at

    Here's to the dogs we love (I have two of the them!),



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