Cool Downs for Dog Sports
The goals of cooling down after exercise are to:
- Allow for gradual recovery to pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure
- Prevent blood pooling and any dizziness that can occur from abruptly stopping exercise
- Bring contracted muscles back to their original length
- Prevent muscular tightness/soreness and joint restrictions
- Aid in recovery
Proper Cool Down Components
A proper cool-down after dog sports/activity should include a gradual intensity decrease, with the following components:
- Light Cardio
Example Cool Down Routine
1. Light Cardio
Active Range of Motion (aROM) refers to flexibility exercises that are controlled by the individual themselves, without any external resistance.
Passive Range of Motion (pROM) refers to flexibility exercises that are performed with the assistance of an external force, such as a person moving their dog’s limb within a possible range of movement.
Passive Range of Motion exercises should only be done under the guidance of a rehabilitation or fitness professional. I do not recommend these types of stretches for most dogs due to the risk of handler error and joint destabilization.
- ~1-2 stretches for the front-end
- ~1-2 stretches for the trunk
- ~1 stretch for the hind-end “hip flexors”
- ~1 stretch for the hind-end “hip extensors”
And doing about ~5 reps each.
Please note that there is overlap on muscles stretched with many AROM exercises.
Stretches by Body Area
- Deep Bow
- Bow to Counter Pose
- Shake a Paw encouraging Limb Extension
- Shake a Paw encouraging Limb Abduction
- Shake a Paw encouraging Limb Adduction
- Lateral Flexion Stretches (in Down)
- Lateral Flexion Stretches (Standing)
- “Cookie Stretches” – Nose to Shoulder, Elbow, Front Paw
- Slow Circles
- Circle around Handler
- Half Turns on Platform
- Full Turns on Platform
- Front Feet Up Stretch
- Cervical Extension
- Front Feet Up + Cervical Extension
- Front Feet Up + Cervical Extension & Lateral Flexion