How To Prepare Your Performance Dog To Avoid Injuries

Performance Dog Owners will be able learn how to prevent injuries in their dogs at the first ever Sports Medicine Conference happening in November 2018.

Gusto, my American Eskimo, turned a year old on March 16 and when his vet evaluated his spinal alignment, she made many adjustments to his spine.  He had not been showing any signs of pain.  His gait was fine in the conformation ring…but he leaps and twists and turns while playing with his soccer ball in the basement. It’s no wonder he was out of whack even though I was unaware of it.

I have been following Susan Garrett for a while now so when her Live feed came on about a Sports Medicine Conference for Performance Dogs, I tuned in and you can too by watching this 30-minute video.

Who Are the Speakers and What Will They Cover About Performance Dogs?

The speakers include Dr. Sherman Canapp and Dr. Deb Canaap, Dr. Chris Zink and Susan Garrett of Say Yes Dog Training.

Performance Dog

Dr. Sherman Canapp said that they have been teaching veterinarians how to diagnose and treat dogs with sports injuries but now it’s time to teach the owners and handlers of performance dogs to prevent injuries in their dogs.

Dr. Sherman will speak on fore and hind limb conditions in dogs that do agility, flyball, dock diving, field trials and herding. He will dive deep into how to recognize and prevent injuries in these dogs.

Dr. Sherman will discuss the Diagnostics used to identify the injuries and treatment options…some of which can be done at home. He will also discuss how to avoid those injuries.

On Day 2 of this conference, Dr. Sherman will do wellness evaluations to identify early injury.  Twenty dogs will go through the process of gait analysis in order to obtain data of stride lengths and pressure variances.  He will also do head to tail neurologic evaluations using ultrasound to look for signs of tension.

Dr. Sherman emphasizes that knowledge and prevention is huge.  Performance courses are getting faster and tighter so we must step up our game on awareness prevention.


Performance DogsDr. Chris Zink has a library of outstanding videos that show changes if you know what to look for when you watch your dog doing agility.  She will talk about how to take the video and what changes to look for.  She says that she observes 20 – 30 % of the dogs that are running are running injured.


Injuries must be investigated before they become serious. Dr. Zink can help you to design a conditioning program for the shape of your dog.  It will take you no more than 5 minutes a day and improve your dog’s resistance to injury.


On Day 2, Dr. Zink will look at structure in a group of dogs and look at them individually.  Twenty dogs have applied and been selected for the web lab.  There are benefits and disadvantages in dogs that have different sizes and shapes.  She will teach you to use their differences to your advantage in competition.



Performance DogDr. Deb Canapp will talk about rehabilitation of sports injuries and what you have to look forward to as well as what you have in store for your patient.

She will also talk about neutraceuticals and the range for sporting dogs and new products coming to market.  Her second topic will be musculoskeletal ultrasound.

On Day 2, Dr. Deb will be scanning 20 dogs on their shoulders at their stage in their sporting career.  She will point out what can be seen that may turn into injuries.



Performance DogSusan Garrett is well-known for her accomplishments in flyball, obedience and agility.  She has just started nosework with her dogs.

Susan will be talking about the way we raise puppies and why it is important across all sports.  She will discuss what should and shouldn’t be happening with puppies.  Her focus will be on puppies 8 weeks to 14 months old.



Susan will also discuss the importance of warming up and cooling down adult dogs.  It can be as little as a 5-minute warm up.  Susan warms up her dogs for 25 minutes.  Cool downs take a different amount of time depending on the weather conditions.

Susan will discuss Peaking for those performers who want to be at their best for a special event. She will also touch on Periodization insights that she has gathered by interviewing top athletes in different sports.


Valuable Extras

After the Day 1 lectures, there will be a cocktail hour in the Exhibit Hall to mingle with colleagues, talk with sponsors about new or upcoming products and network with the speakers.

This event will be live-streamed and a recording will be available sometime after the event.

Sponsorships are available for this event.

When and Where is This Event For Performance Dog Owners?

You can find out more about the Sports Medicine Conference for Performance Dog Owners here.

Sign up before June 1 for the Early Bird Discount. This event takes place November 17 and 18 at The Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center in Frederick, Maryland.

I certainly plan on attending…how about you?


Come back for more Miracle Living With Gusto!



P. S.  What injuries have your performance dogs had? How have they been treated? Do you feel these injuries could have been prevented?


6 Replies to “How To Prepare Your Performance Dog To Avoid Injuries”

  1. Preventing injuries is something many people don’t think about until after one happens. And yet, so much can be done. Great line-up. I know Dr. Canapp’s work; he’s also very much into regenerative medicine.

  2. People think it’s weird that we “warm up” Monte before one of our big (many hours) hikes. We start with a easy walk, then we massage his little legs a bit to get blood flowing. And then we try to start off easy (slow slow pace) as we start. I am sure that it has helped so much! At 3.5 pounds I try to do this because he takes 7-9 steps for our 1!

  3. My dogs don’t compete in any sports or shows, but it makes sense for them to do some sort of warm-up before running. I’ll have to think about how to make that work since they typically run out the back door and a pretty fast clip trying to catch a squirrel.

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