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Agility with large, lumbering dogs: Danger to health?

Already here I would like to answer the question quite clearly with YES. Agility with large, lumbering dogs is simply unhealthy. It does not correspond to the body condition of e.g. Bernese Mountain Dogs or Newfoundlands to move on the agility course.

Agility with such dogs – does not exist? There is! Because, amazingly, I see them on training grounds all the time. For many dogs it is no problem to master the demanding obstacle course in agility. Many Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, etc. often get into this sport and have great fun with it. Of course, with any dog it is important to check beforehand if the dog is healthy. Or whether conditions such as elbow or hip dysplasia, back disease or other musculoskeletal conditions are present.

Agility means “nimbleness

A dog’s body is extremely challenged in agility. Agility with large, lumbering dogs is no different. It makes little difference whether you do the sport with your dog “only” just for fun, or as a competitive sport. The spine is extremely bent during slalom, the jumps and the A-wall mean massive stress on the front legs. Agility demands high speed, sharp turns, tight turns, short stops. The dog’s body must be extremely elastic, mobile and agile. A lot of demands on a dog’s body. Not every breed can fulfill these requirements by a long shot. This means at the same time that not every dog is suitable for agility without further ado.

With a Newfoundland or Molosser, for example, it’s hard to imagine them being nimble, quick and agile on an agility course, isn’t it? Even if we have a sporty Newfoundland or a Great Dane. The image of a dog gliding light as a feather over the hurdles, or bendy and elastic, darting through the slalom, comes less to mind.

The risk of injuries and joint diseases is particularly high!

Dogs with this type of physique were originally bred for completely different purposes. The skeleton and musculature are designed in their form and functionality for precisely these respective purposes. Therefore, it is not the optimal sport for very large dogs with heavy bodies. In addition, it is extremely difficult to meet the demands that agility places on the dog’s body. If you still intend to do agility with your dog that has this type of build, you are putting him at a high health risk. The risk of serious injury and permanent damage to the joints are then extremely high.

Activity should be directed to the dog’s body – and not vice versa

In my opinion, therefore, for the sake of your dog’s health, it is important that you choose a sport that suits your dog’s physical conditions. Don’t try to fit the sport to your dog’s physique.

Basically, for all sporting dogs, you never go without a warm up and cool down, even in agility. to minimize the risk of injury and prevent damage to the musculoskeletal system.

PS: By the way, here you can find instructions for an optimal warm up with many exercises.

Agility with big dogs Agility with big dogs Agility with big dogs

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