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Springview Bulldogs Pre Keep

Discussion in 'Conditioning & Training Library' started by solid1kennels, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. This is taken from the Bull Terrier Times.

    Over the years I matched as many dogs as anyone in the history of the game in the British Isles, and have over those years seen all the top conditioners that have competed, some that were well-known and some that were not. In this time I have seen dogs that were conditioned on shots and some that were not. I've seen dogs that were conditioned on mills, bicycles, out of cars, motorcycles, jogging and a hundred other methods. Some were in great shape and others were not. In this time I have put together my own methods of putting a dog in shape for a match and have used these methods with some success, never having had a dog beaten because he was in poor shape. They either quit or were beaten by a better dog.

    Over the time I also matched dogs for other kennels with success. I always felt that the pre-keep was as important, if not more so, than the keep itself and have seen many dogs ruined by inexperienced owners running before it was time to walk. Most dog men seem to think that as soon as a show is made, or forfeits placed, that they have to get as much work into a dog as they can, in a mad rush. When the real key to success is to take it slow and easy. I believe, that a dog should be at, or real close to its show weight when a match is made. This way the pre-keep can be used for its true purpose, of cleaning the dog out. This means that it should be free of all internal and external parasites and more importantly clear of all internal fat, something nearly all dog men fail to do.

    When a dog gets tired during a match and dehydrated, his veins and arteries shrink, and as his heart pumps blood and oxygen around his body it becomes increasingly difficult if the path is blocked with fat. If the dog can't get his oxygen fast enough, then he'll either 'blow up' or quit. The same thing happens in hare-coursing, only they pull up or 'stash', and it happens with working terriers if they are not fit. You end up digging to a dead dog, with the cause of death being put down to suffocation, when the real cause is fat or unhealthy dogs. Before a dog or an athlete can be put in any sort of shape, for any sort of competition, they must first be stripped of all excess fat, both inside and out. In the old days they used to psyche out a dog or purge him, which only showed the lack of understanding of these people.

    It is far easier to start any sort of conditioning with a healthy dog. It is only commonsense that tells you this. But sadly it's something that a lot of dog men don't have. When you feel that your dog is ready to be matched, or that it's ready to compete in a competition of some sort, such as weightpull, flirt-pole, etc. then you'll need to find your dogs best weight. This needs a real experienced eye and I've only ever seen a few that can spot a dogs true weight. Most tend to match them too heavy. Once you have decided on the best weight it would be best to show your dog at, then start to bring him down to this weight slowly. If your dog is a forty pound dog, he should never be above forty-five pounds or perhaps forty-seven at most. If you have sporting dogs they need to be kept in good shape. It's no good having a forty pound dog 'hog fat' at fifty pounds and then expect to get him to his show weight in six weeks. It can't be done in good competition. Once you have the dog down to around his weight, then it's time to start looking for a match and this is where the real conditioning is done.

    I like to put a dog through a pre-keep of at least a month and this is for a dog that may have been hand-walked for several months previously, for up to five or ten miles daily. During this time he would have been wormed every two months and I'd get him at least ten weeks before a show. The first thing that I would do is actually weigh the dog and check out his weight and then worm the dog out, using a multi-wormer such as Ivomec injection or Panicur emulsion. I'd also bathe the dog using an insecticidal shampoo. I worm the dog every two weeks until two weeks before the show. If a dog is on or around its show weight, I give the dog at least two weeks pre-keep, but if I'm working the dog for another party, then I give them a four week pre-keep.

    I start the keep by hand-walking the dog for an hour each day and if possible, like to have the dog running loose, which allows him plenty of exercise. After each day of work I rub the dog down for fifteen minutes and then give him a drink of freshly boiled water. I then crate him up and feed him an hour later. During the pre-keep I feed only fresh minced beef and feed only eight ounces the first week and give a mineral/vitamin supplement. At times a dogs weight may drop below his show weight, but this is not a problem, as it will come back when you change his diet.

    In the second week, I up the walking to one and a half hours and increase the feed to twelve ounces. I always leave water down for the dog and only remove it at night. This way, when I work my dog he's empty of water. If you work your dogs at night, then remove the water at about dinner time or at least six hours before you intend to work the dog.

    The last two weeks I work the dog for two hours daily, just hand-walking and feeding one pound of fresh minced beef. By the end of these last two weeks your dog will be stripped of all excess fat, both outside and inside his system and ready for a full keep. It's far easier to condition a dog that has been kept healthy and exercised regularly and not get 'hog fat' between matches. There's no need to allow a dog to get 'hog fat' and it's unhealthy for your dog to get like this. Remember a gamedog is the ultimate canine athlete and must be treated as such. When did you ever see an athlete put on five stones between races? A pound in weight in a dog is the same as an ounce in a game rooster and a stone in a man. The more weight you have on your dog, the harder it will be to get it off. If you don't remove this body fat before you start working your dog, then it will simply turn hard and though your dog may look in great shape, he most certainly will not be. His heart and other organs will have a layer of fat on them that will weigh a couple of pounds. This gives your opponent a pull in the weights and leaves your dog in the heart attack class, that is if he doesn't 'blow up' or quit first.

    The number of times that I have conditioned dogs for other people and allowed them to make the match and then I've had them put the dog through a proper pre-keep, only for them to ring me and say that their dog is too light, which was never really the case. The dog was simply at his true weight and they hadn't matched him at his true weight. Many times I have been asked to condition a dog that had been matched previously at a certain show weight. But when I've conditioned the dog, say for a match at thirty four pounds, I've found that in my hands he was only a thirty one or thirty two pounds dog tops. One or two pounds in a match can certainly win or lose it for you. When you can put a dog in top shape and in a natural way, it gives you a big edge over the steroid conditioner.

    The key to success in dogs, lies in the feed pan and the conditioning. It also helps if you have a game dog. Far too much emphasis is placed on complete feeds, like Febo, Purina, Iams, etc. and not enough natural feeds are fed. I myself, mix my own feeds for the dogs and feed no complete meals at all. I feed various types of meat with cereals and grain, with plenty of fruit and vegetables and my dogs are just as fit as anyone elses. If your dogs weight falls below its show weight, then increase its feed by a few ounces. I like to take my dog a pound or so below his show weight and then leave him there for a week. In this way, his body uses all the fat that is stored inside his body and then you can start to condition him and build him up to his show weight. When you strip a dog down in this way and then build him back up, he is far stronger and will be far bigger than his opponent when in the ring. You cannot take a fat dog and start working him down to his show weight, without cleaning him out first. If you don't strip them down inside, you will have a dog that is over his true show weight and is at a disadvantage before he's even matched.

    The best pre-keeps last at least six months and if you work a dog this long for a show and keep him lean and fit, when you get him hooked up all your hard work is done. Then you can cut back his feed a little and clean him out and he's ready for some serious work

    Springview Bulldogs

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