In order for our dogs to develop properly, they must be able to run full out, twist and turn until they are tired. Running free in a fenced area is best for puppies. See my Vacation blog written in February.
Now that Melissa is preparing for shows, just how much exercise should she have? I think of our dogs as athletes, we should prepare them for a performance event with conditioning of muscling in mind. Melissa has had months of running in fields, thru snow, thru meadows, and most recently swimming. No forced exercise for a young dog, there is time to road work her in another year or so. Getting a dog into good hard muscle does not happen overnight, nor in a few days. It is developed gradually, preferably starting when they are a pup.
Melissa has had plenty to chase and be chased and be pushed just that little extra by playing with appropriate dog friends. Those friends who race thru the fields with her, playing 'tag' until they come back with their tongues hanging out. It is good for our dogs to push that extra bit....they get tired, it builds and maintains muscle. They stop when they get tired. It is important the dogs are well matched as to size and stamina. The idea is to push that little extra during play to get a good work out while keeping it fun for all dogs involved.
A day or two before any future performance event, whether it be the show ring, obedience or agility, I will let Melissa have moderate exercise. She will go on a hike with some more of her sedate friends. For slow romps, brisk walks, and some swimming. Along with some games of tug and fetch with me in the woods behind the barn, she will maintain condition. I tend to be conservative, and don't want to take the chance of a pulled muscle by having Melissa play extra hard thru the fields a day or two before an event. Granted anything can happen, but like an athlete, the day or two before an event will be more for maintenance then a full work-out.
About a half hour before she enters the show ring I will give her a massage and allow her to move around on lead to loosen up. May is a busy month....details about the shows will be posted soon.