As the competition season here in the north has ended just before winter, it is time to remind all lure coursing owners about the three seasons of a competing athlete. They are the basic condition training season, preparation season and competition season. Some add a fourth (cooling down), but in my mind the transition from competition season can be managed by switching into base training directly.
Base training consists of upkeep of the basic condition: lengthy free movement, long walks and free running. In the darkest of winter days this can be once in a two or three days, because the temperature itself is a challenge to the body. Every degree below room temperature increases the strain to the dogs body and condition. Every degree in the freezing temperatures increases the energy requirements immensely. So every ‘training’ in freezing temperatures is an excessive strain to the dog, especially to it’s metabolism. In addition to that, the freezing temperatures can be difficult for deep chested breeds with huge lung capacity: deep breath in freezing temperatures may cause lung problems and inflammation. So ‘tempering’ comes into play here, too: slowly, gradually getting to know the weather and getting accustomed to the weather. Just like in the hot summer days.
Then again, on a crisp winter day, after a warm up walkie, a free run in chest deep snow is perhaps the best strength and agility training there is. The dog regulates itself in the speed and movement and most of the dogs enjoy fooling around in the snow.
Plus the owner with a camera just loves the dogs pushing through light snow…