champions Hayley and Teal, her Shetland Sheepdog, were thrilled with their
success at Crufts 2019! The dynamic duo enjoyed success throughout the weekend,
and even went on to win the
Agility Championship on the Sunday
. Success doesn’t come without
real grit, hard work and a whole lot of dedication. From eating right to yoga, there
are a number of ways that Hayley her canine companion prepare to be at peak
performance for competition. Read on to find out their five prime preparation

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and I both have to be as fit as possible to perform at our best in
competition,” Hayley explains. “This involves a number of factors for both of
us that we work on every single day.” For strength, Hayley’s routine involves
weightlifting and Pilates-style workouts, while Teal uses specialist balance
equipment for dogs, like a FitPAWS K9FITbone balance board* and also wobble
cushions. Treadmill and sprinting drills keep the team fast on their feet,
while Teal does proprioceptive exercises (try saying that five times!) to
improve body awareness. They even work on Yoga exercises together before bed!

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Tailored Training

The pair tailor
their training sessions to match the next event. In the lead up to a big competition,
Hayley and Teal run a full course once a week, making sure their timing is on point
to deliver a high percentage of clear rounds. On other training days they work
on shorter, more specific sequences, and individual skills that may need to be
fine-tuned. It’s not all top tier training. Weekly relationship-building
exercises, like walking and trick training, helps secure their strong bond.
Teal even helps around the house, doing the same tasks that an assistance dog
at Canine Partners would do!

Nurtured Nutrition

Hayley, with
guidance from a nutritional advisor, ensures both her and Teal’s diet plans
match their training routine, helping them perform at their best whether
they’re training or competing. “We make sure we are both fuelled correctly for
running and competing at our very best, and this involves a strict nutrition
plan.” Hayley ensures they both supplement their diets as needed, constantly
assessing what works and what doesn’t on a daily basis. She’s currently working
towards a Canine Nutrition Diploma, ensuring she can give Teal the very best
nutrition for his needs.

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Mental Preparation

preparation is equally as important as physical preparation for the pair. “90%
of my preparation is mental,” says Hayley. “What you think you become.” She
meditates twice a day to work on breathing control, helping control her
excitement during competition. Visualisation is a large part of Hayley’s mental
preparation too. “In the lead up to the event I will visualise the environment
I will be competing in. The sounds, smells, feel – everything!” She visualises
the whole process, from the warm up and starting line, to the run itself.

Setting Goals

achievable goals is key to Hayley and Teal’s success. They don’t simply aim to
win an event. “Lots of smaller, achievable goals put in place consistently will
help you achieve your dreams,” Hayley explains. For Hayley and Teal, this could
mean running a 30 metre sprint in less than five seconds, or gaining a certain
number of clear rounds at an event. For you and your furry friend, training
goals can be as small and achievable as basic commands, and recall training.

It’s clear that
Hayley and Teal’s adventures are achieved through a lot of hard work. If their
training plan has inspired you to start some doggy adventures of your own, then
you may benefit from The Insurance Emporium’s flexible Dog Insurance policies.
These policies can be tailored to suit you and your pet, and include cover for
up to £8,000** in Vet’s Fees. You could even get up to 30% discount too.^ Visit
The Insurance
to find out more!

* This blog is in
no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with FitPAWS.

** Vet’s fees up
to £8,000 available on Lifetime Gold policy.

^ The 30%
discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-pet Discount
(if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12
premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment
on annual policies.

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