Agility Dog Training, an Up Close Look: Part 2

Share Button

FloJo takes a jumpWe had a great response to last week’s post on agility dog training.  This week we present the second part of our interview with Roy and Lilyan Carew, long-time agility dog trainers and competitors in Southern California.


In this part, we hear Lilyan’s philosophies on proper maintenance of the canine athletic body.  Just like with humans, a program incorporating proper warm up, cool down, and maintenance are keys to staying in sport for the long haul.  Knock on wood, but over the course of the past several years, Lilyan‘s dogs have remained essentially injury free despite the rigorous training and competitions.

Some of the techniques that Lilyan incorporates into her training programs include:

Cool down after agility training

Lilyan takes this seriously, both in terms of lowering the intensity at the end of her training and letting her dogs run around under the sprinkler to literally cool their bodies.  Reminds me of what we do after our own hard workouts except we put ice on the worked /sore body parts.


Massage for agility dogs

Massage is a great way to mobilize tissue and break down knots and scar tissue.  Just like with people, regularly scheduled massage treatments can really help an athlete stay in sport.


Stretching for agility dogs

Again, like us humans, elongating the muscles and other soft tissues can do wonders for both performance and injury prevention.  These agility dogs are going full speed and their muscles are forcefully contracted during the course work and their tendons and ligaments are put under tremendous relative loads.  Keeping the soft tissue long and strong is worth the effort.


FloJo on the Course

FloJo Cooling Down

Cooling down, especially in the heat, is also something that the Carew’s take seriously.  Watch how FloJo cools down in the sprinklers after a workout.  What a riot – looks like fun huh?

Frequency of agility training

For those wondering, we asked Lil about the frequency of training.  A normal week will include 4-5 days of agility work and 2-3 days off from the agility specific training.  On the off days, she keeps her dogs active with some “chuck it” (fetch) or yard play. The lower intensity off days keep the body moving and the blood flowing while providing adequate rest for both the body and the mind of her canine athletes.  I suspect Lilyan need the rest as well. 🙂


FitDog Friday


Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

Share Button


  1. I just uploaded a video of Gretel on a piece of agility equipment to our YouTube channel. We just play around though. I don’t have the time to dedicate to properly training her. However, I think I am going to work this year to teach her to do some “agility” while we are hiking,
    Jessica recently posted…Yes, Chester and Gretel Have a MomMy Profile

  2. I’m thinking about sports classes for next year and agility is tempting. It’s a high maintenance sport though (as seen above) which is making me hesitate.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…FitDog Friday #17 – Fat Dog IlustrationMy Profile

  3. In the summer we train in the water on hot days so they can get cooled down and when we do land we have a kitty pool near by so they can go lay down in it.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Follow-Up/FitDog FridayMy Profile

  4. Surprised that although scooter doesn’t ‘catch on’ as quick as others But once he’s got it he’s off! Nice insights & Happy FitDogging
    Paws &Pedals recently posted…“All I want for Xmas is……” – Part 4 (inc what my Dog really wants)My Profile

  5. Sage and I have been taking weekly agility lessons for three years now. She absolutely LOVES it! It would be sooooo nice to have room to set up a small course at home.
    Sage recently posted…In a FogMy Profile

  6. hi, I think agility could be good for me too. Specially the massage part :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog FRIDAY-HOPMy Profile

  7. Great post! As I commented in your last agility post, I am very anxious to learn this stuff as I have never been in agility with any of my dogs, but would love to try it out!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Fridays “Woofs and Growls”My Profile

  8. I did agility with my dog Ace (Lab mix) for fun for about three years. We went to a class once per week, and he loved it! One thing I did wrong was that I didn’t do any type of warmup with him – ever. I guess with dogs, you just don’t think about it and our trainers never suggested it. Anyway, Ace took a couple of good spills off some of the equipment, and he walked away limping more than once. He has since retired from agility, and now he does have some joint problems at times. I’m not sure if the agility caused his problems or not, but I will be much more careful if I do agility with my next dog. It’s such a fun sport. I love it!
    Lindsay recently posted…Aww, husky mix puppy’s first howlMy Profile

    • I’m surprised they wouldn’t have suggested it too. Athletes are athletes whether human or dog and need the same type of regimes. We’ve never done agility, but you are right, it sure does look fun!
      mkob recently posted…Agility Dog Training, an Up Close Look: Part 2My Profile

  9. This isn’t really agility, but Bailie loves the cat tunnel we have and when she was smaller she fit in there and would play in it with cat bro Bert. Now she is too big but she drags it around the house and tries to squeeze in…rumor has it that Santa is bringing her an agility tunnel for Christmas. I’m hoping because I think the two of us and maybe even cat bro Bert will have fun playing race and chase through it.
    emma recently posted…Christmas Preparations | GBGVMy Profile

  10. Hi Y’all!

    Sorry to be so late linkin’ but havin’ lots of computer problems with blogger on this end, Couldn’t get linked to Follow Up Friday so Jodi fixed that for me. Couldn’t link to y’all either. Finally got the generic up. This is not a good time of year for someone who knows nothin’ about computers to be havin’ problems with them.

    Great stuff on agility.

    Y’all come by now!
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…The Countdown Nears Its End!!!My Profile

  11. Great tips. Agility training can be unforgiving for doggies without proper conditioning.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Follow-up Friday 12-20-13My Profile

  12. I love agility, what a great sport to exercise the body and mind of those highly intelligent and active dogs.

    I do a little acupuncture, and love to treat young fit dogs with muscle knots from exercises like agility. Very rewarding, as they tend to recover quickly.

    It certainly is important for dogs to stretch after exercise to help prevent muscle tightness. Same as humans really. Right now I have incredibly sore calves after running longer than usual (had to work off all those extra Christmas biscuits!), so I’m trying to stretch as much as possible. I think sometimes we forget this with our pets.

    Great post. I love watching these amazing athletes!

  13. Very well said. These tips are really amazing. I appreciate it for sharing them.
    Dog Training recently posted…The Art of Balanced TrainingMy Profile

  14. Good catch! Thanks for sharing. Just for an additional info. Training would be easy to handle if you already established your role as a leader. Based on experience as a trainer, everything goes absolutely smooooooth afterwards. 😀
    You can visit me here: see yah! 😀

    • Absolutely smooth huh? Must be doing something wrong…
      mkob recently posted…Resolve to Move Your MuttMy Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.