I learned many years ago that cross training IS important when competing.

When I was racing sled dogs and weight pulling I had dogs that were what "dog people" call "Nothing out of nobody" That means that my dogs were just dogs, they were not bred by folks that worked their dogs, they were not bred by big named breeders, just dogs. Guess what? I did well, really really well with my dogs. The reason? Serious training and cross training.

So if you want an advantage and a winning edge....cross train. Spend time with your dog doing all types of fun things.

Sled dog training and racing is not for only a few breeds, any breed can learn to pull and almost all dogs really enjoy it!

Backpacking can be an afternoon hike or a week end trip. Deron, my husband, and I used to take a few of our sled dogs and take a 5 mile hike. Half way we would stop and cook a meal, maybe bacon and eggs and toast!! The dogs carried all the "fixins" and we shared the good stuff with them. Not only was it fun and kept us all in shape, it was time spent together on the trail learning commands and working together.


Barrel Running dogs need to be limber and fast and think fast. Playing frisbie with them will keep them in shape without over doing the barrel runs. The dog does not have to jump up and get the frisbie, but it is more fun for both the dog and person when they do. It is also great muscle building and tricks can be taught...back flips, no big deal for a frisbie dog.

Frankie Hill Crosstraining Frankie Hill Crosstraining
A nice 2 - 5 mile hike in a hilly area is sooooo good for both handler and dogs. It is a lot of fun and if the dog finds a pond or a creek to swim in, all the better.

This is a photo of Frankie (8/19/08 ) out in a ravine on our property. At this time I did not have a Dog Agility A Frame, but as you can see, I do not think climbing one will be a problem. If you could see just a bit better, this "hill" is just about straight up and down. As we were repairing this fencing in the creek I can not tell you how many times Frankie, as well as our other four dogs that were with us, ran back and forth....but boy did they sleep when we got back. The Fence is about 1/2 mile from the house. Of course being dogs they did not just walk straight out and straight back....look over here, sniff there, swim here, swim there, run, jump and have a great time.

Playing fetch on a regular basis on land or in water or both will build the bond and the bodies of human and dogs!!

Throw a toy or if your dog is really good at fetching, teach it a few tricks. Dogs like to please you. Teach your dog to fetch the newspaper, to find your keys, or to pick up toys, each of these are just fetching games. I have some ideas on our Dog Trick page at .

Frankie Pulling A Wagon
Pulling a cart, wagon, someone on skis, skates, a sled, travios, or the like will surely be a great time for both dogs and humans and will get them both off the couch on the cold days, keeping you in shape for those upcoming warm days of Barrel Racing Competition. The idea is to be active all year, not just when your sport is active.

Frankie Shed Hunting

There is much you can do to stay in shape and work those muscles and build that bond that will give you a winners edge when competition comes around....and will be a great time for both humans and their dogs!!

Be sure to get your dog out around other dogs, not just the other dogs in your own home, and train it to not only get along with the other dogs but also to mind you as you walk or run among them.

It is a great idea to get out with friends with dogs and hike, play fetch, have a picnic or a meal on the trail so that your dog is not distracted when it gets to the competition/class place. It is also a must to teach the Competition Dog to Honor other dogs. Honoring is waiting their turn, behaving while the other dogs are on the equipment and they are waiting their turn. Honoring is on the Dog Tricks page along with many other things to do with your dog that will build a deeper bond between the two of you.


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-- The Barrel Racing Dogs Team
Mon, 04 Oct 2010 16:58:01 -0400

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