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Conditioning The Agility Handler

by Karen Gloor

We concentrate so much on keeping our Beagles in shape for the sport of agility (not an easy task given their propensity for food!) that we forget about ourselves! There are two entities on your team…you and your dog.If you keep your dog in top, physical condition, then it should go without saying that YOU should do your best to keep yourself in good shape.

Following are some exercises you can do before you train or show your dog in the ring. These exercises are meant to keep you from injuring yourself (pulling muscles, soreness, stiffness), they are not meant to help you lose weight! J

Calf Stretches

Use either a fence or a vehicle or some other stationary object. Stand about 2 feet away from the object you chose. Lean forward and place the palms of your hands on the object. Bend your arms and lean towards the object, leaving your heels on the ground. You should feel a pull in your calves, but not enough to cause severe pain.

Lift the left leg off the ground and repeat with only the right leg. Reverse and do the same with the left leg.


Place your right leg about 2 feet in front of your left leg. Lunge forward, straightening your left leg to it’s full capacity. Reverse the legs and do the same. This stretches your hamstrings, a muscle so easily injured.

Back Stretches

Lay flat on the ground. Bend your right leg and bring your knee to your chest. “Hug” your knee. You should feel a slight pull on your upper leg/lower back. It shouldn’t be painful, rather a slight tug. Reverse the legs and perform the same exercise.


How many times have you come out of the ring, too winded to speak? If you feel that way, imagine how your canine partner feels? This exercise should be developed as a habit for both you and your dog. Since I have 2 dogs in the same height division, it is not uncommon for me to run them back-to-back at smaller shows. If I am not prepared to do this, then I could be in serious trouble. I like to use the treadmill to gain strength and increase my lung capacity. I have found that since I have been very serious about my training, I am not nearly as winded after a run and have no problems picking up the next dog and running again.

Or, if you don’t have access to a treadmill, put on your shoes, grab those leashes, and take your dogs for a jog around the neighborhood.

I have many other activities for you to get in shape and be a team player with your Beagle. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions/suggestions!

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).