My roster includes a lot of canine athletes. The reason most of them end up with me is because owners want a great diet for their dogs, but the emphasis is on stamina and duration and the right diet is pretty darn good at getting a dog to improve on both.
Some people scoff about it and claim that all you need is a well-balanced diet because all dogs require the same thing. The dogs I’ve worked with have shown dramatic improvement, so I disagree with those statements. Once you understand at which point the dog seems too tired or loses speed, you can tweak the diet and the timing (emphasis on timing) of that diet accordingly.
Even so, there’s only so much you can tweak. I’m not sure that most people really appreciate just how hard these dogs work or what they go through because they think that quick moves and hurdles are natural for dogs. Yes, they’re trained to do specific moves in a specific sequence, but the general expectation is that the dog can and will do it with grace and ease, and sometimes these animals get pushed beyond what we can see clearly. I’ve known about the obvious injuries, but also knew the rest of the story. There just didn’t seem to be a way to show it – until now. A friend of mine found the perfect video and I really want you to see this. We’re just not able to focus on the details when we look at dogs doing their work and I think it’s critical that we take this opportunity to see it for what it is. Some is great fun, and some…not so much. Here’s the video.
What you’ve just seen is the reality of being a dog. Prey drive and a desire to please and be rewarded can make a dog put up with an awful lot. I’m not suggesting that working dogs shouldn’t work. Most dogs love, love, love working! Those that need a job and don’t have one can have a miserable life and make their owner’s life miserable, too – which is why I don’t have a Border Collie despite this being one of my favorite breeds (I can’t provide what they need to have a great life). I’m just saying that once we understand more, we can do more.
If we look only at the videos that show a perfect performance and miss the “out takes”, we’re not seeing what we can do to help our dogs. So, if you’ve doubted my suggestions of feeding Joint Complex, antioxidants (in foods and supplements as necessary) and wild salmon oil (anti-inflammatory properties) and if you haven’t read the Dietary Fuelling of Performance Dogs ebooklet, the video above should help to explain why I hope you’ll consider doing more. I’m passionate about making life as right as possible for our dogs and when we ask them to perform, it’s only fair to give them as much support as we can.