Beating the Winter Blues

With the colder winter months fast approaching, I am receiving many emails, and messages about continuing the CRT program or resistance training in the winter. It seems like all of the hard work and amounts of training put forth during the spring, summer, and fall will quickly come to a grinding halt, and all of the benefits reaped during training season will just disappear. But, that’s not necessarily true….

I have a few general thoughts and rules of thumb when it comes to training resistance sessions in winter.

  1. If you are living in an area where temperatures reach extremes, hot OR cold, you need to remember how vital it is to not only perform routine warm up sessions prior to the start of your training session, but a cool down/rub down should be mandatory! NO skipping this! You’ll only be doing more harm than good to your dog and no one wants that.

  2. I always say that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. Now, if it’s only 35-40 degrees (Fahrenheit) and your dog has a thick coat, then perhaps you should layer up ;) and get outdoors. Your dog will still enjoy it!  I do think its acceptable to wear a coat/sweater on your dog, as long as it does not impede or limit full range of motion. Of course, this is to be worn under the custom harness.

  3. While the CRT program is focused on building strength through resistance training, don’t forget that it is NOT the only way to train good health and build muscle. Proprioceptive work and core muscle exercises are still ways to generate confidence boosts and provide team bonding exercises.

  4. I advocate for the use of carpet mills, as a way to provide some resistance when getting outdoors is no longer an option. They require a bit of effort to get them moving and are on an incline, so you can imagine that if you have been diligent and committed to your CRT programming—-this will be no problem for your dog! They are inexpensive to purchase in comparison to their cousins (slat mills), and are a perfect fit for indoor resistance training. You will still want to do about 2-3 sessions a week for winter maintenance.

  5. Everyone asks about plastic sleds and snow. My advice on that is first and foremost, make sure you’ve been properly working up to that point in resistance weight. Be mindful about how the snow fall can impact the dog’s mentality and development as they are still learning and growing. The perceived resistance on snow will be drastically different than that on short grass or natural trails, so be mindful.

If you have any specific questions about what to do as the winter approaches, be sure to email and I can help guide you to some resources to facilitate the above mentioned! Now, go do your sessions while you can! ;)

Ashley Sculac