Preparing sporting and working dogs


Dogs have worked with humans for millennia. To begin with, they helped with everyday tasks, but gradually they started to take on the role of friends and playmates, so that over the past two hundred years or so they have become fully-fledged leisure companions. Step by step, we humans have become involved in the day-to-day life of our dogs. We have sought to improve their selective breeding, to raise and train them better and to give them the best possible diet so that they can live a richer, fuller life with us. Once simply hunters, guard or draught animals working to their instincts, dogs now take part in field trials, sled pulling, sheepdog trials and other regulated sports. Leisure has become sport and our companions have become athletes. Performance in dog sports is determined by four factors: genetic selection, the psychological relationship between dog and human, training (based on knowledge of the physiological characteristics of effort) and nutrition. Each of them must be given due consideration. Working dogs are athletes, too, of course. As such, they demand proper physical training and preparation.