A CONDITIONING PROGRAM using the Cycle & Step Ladder Techniqueincorporating Amino Acids, Complex Carbohydrates and Vitamin / Mineral /Trace Elements.

The Cycles:
This program is by no means entirely my own idea, but is one that Ihave used in the past with outstanding results. It consists of 5separate cycles;mayday treadmill

1. The Transition Cycle 1 Week
2. The Load Cycle 3 Weeks
3. The Recovery Cycle 1 Week
4. The Peak Cycle 3 Weeks
5. The Taper Cycle 1 Week

The Step Ladder:

The Step Ladder allows us to work our dogs longer and harder, withoutrest days and without overworking them. This is achieved by allowing yourdog what is termed “active rest”. By this, we mean that the dogis resting but is still doing a light workout. Steadiness is the keyhere, if your dog shows any sign of trouble then stop immediately, letyour dog recover and start again.

Step Ladder Example:

DAY Mon Tues Weds Thur Fri Sat Sun EFFORT 100% 70% 60% 100% 70% 60% 60% Gradually your dog’s 100% effort will increase with fitness. Amino Acids, Complex Carbohydrates, Vitamin / Mineral / TraceElement Supplements, (Nutrient Mix).The use of this nutrient mix plays amajor part in this program. Complex carbohydrates give the dog the energyhe requires while under stress and helps to prevent soreness in themuscles. Amino acids help in muscle development by aiding proteindigestion and conversion. The quality of the food you use is vitally important.It needs to be fully balanced and not just high in proteins. There aremany commercial brands available and some people still prefer to usetheir own ideas. I personally use a dried food called “EukanubaPremium”, which can seem to be an expensive food, but less is usedsimply because of its high digestibility, so in the long run it balancesout. It is a chicken based food with some of the best vitamin and mineralcontent available. This in itself removes the need to add supplements ofthis kind to the nutrient mix.


During this program you will be working and feeding your dog twice aday. In between this, we will be introducing the nutrient mix whichconsists of complex carbohydrates, amino acids and vitamin/mineral/traceelement supplements. (n.b. Too much vitamins, etc. can be just as bad asnot enough – take care). For complex carbohydrates I use”Maxim” powder and for the amino acids “Aminobol”tablets, which I grind to a powder for mixing. All of these productsshould be available at your local Health Store, Chemist, etc.. If you arehaving trouble obtaining supplies your local Gym / Health Club should beable to help. These products are gauged on body weight, so with a bit ofbasic mathematics you should be able to calculate how much to use foryour dog.The nutrient mix should be given to your dog about an hour beforeeach workout and preferably on an empty stomach. So when your dog gets upin the morning to empty out, feed him the mix. Then an hour later workyour dog. After the workout, cool him down with a gentle walk and givehim a good rub down. After this, feed him half of his normal daily foodand put him in his kennel or somewhere quiet where he won’t be disturbed.For the afternoon workout, allow your dog to empty out and feed him thenutrient mix one hour before the start of exercise. Once again, after theworkout cool him down with a gentle walk and give him a rub down. You canthen feed him the second half of his daily food and allow him to settledown for the night. Try not to disturb the dog during these rest periods,as he needs to recover and build up his strength. Although this may seema bit long-winded it becomes clearer as you get used to the routine.Routine and timing are very important and your dog will soon let you knowwhen it is time to play.

The Transition Cycle (1 Week)

This part of the program is aimed at getting your dog use to workingevery day. The mileage you put in will depend on how much time you haveand how capable you are. As long as the Step Ladder approach is used thenthe process should work. Easy walking is the only type of work donehere, along with the nutrient mix and the feeding regime as describedearlier.

The Load Cycle (3 Weeks)

This cycle will be the foundation for the hard building work thatwill come later. The type of work undertaken should be slow, longdistance walking and trotting. There is no sprint work involved at thisstage, as we are aiming to develop deep wind. If you don’t have access toan easy running slat mill (n.b. carpet mills are too hard to pull forthis stage of work, but will be ideal for the Peak Cycle later on), thenlong easy bike rides or jogging will do just as well. The distances youcover are entirely up to you and your dog, though I suspect that you willtire before your dog does.Step Ladder and Feeding stages are to befollowed as discussed. A gradual increase in carbohydrates should be usedin-line with an increase in the dogs workload. Care should be taken notto let your dog run too light, which ultimately comes down to knowingyour dog. The actual time and effort you choose to put in at this stagewill pay dividends later on in the tough Peak Cycle.

Recovery Cycle (1 Week)

For three full days completely rest your dog and stop feedingthe carbohydrates. Allow your dog out, only to empty out and to feed. Forthe rest of the week, walk your dog a little more each time andreintroduce the carbs again.

Peak Cycle (3 Weeks)

In this cycle we use only high impact sprint and walk workouts. Nolong distance is needed, as by now your dog should have good deep wind(from Load Cycle). What you are trying to do now is work on the dogsheart and lungs and their ability to recover after intense work. So onyour bike or mill, have your dog run as fast as they can. As soon as theystart to ease off, slow them down to a walking pace until they recoverand are breathing easily again. Once they are, then off you go again,flat out then walking, flat out then walking. Step Ladder and Feedingregimes as usual during this period.During this cycle, dogs can becomevery bored, as can their owners. Various forms of work can be undertaken,as long as the basic principles of what you’re trying to achieve areadhered to. The “A Frame” can be used for a type of flat outand sprint then walk work. Having the dog chasing a ball up and downhills is another variation. Flirt pole work is a great fun for both you and your dog and the spring pole can be a great strength builder.

Taper Cycle (1 Week)

Now rest your dog for three full days, do no work and feedno carbohydrates. Then for the remaining four days, still no work,but reintroduce the carbs into your dog. If you have been doing thisright, then your dog will be in the best condition that he could be.In finishing, I would just like to say that this program is offeredmerely as a guide. The amount of time you have available will dictatejust how much work you can do with your dog. I do believe however, thatgreater results can be achieved by using this method.


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