DoD Military Working Dog Physical Conditioning Program Overview and Conditioning Protocol
Proponent: DoD MWD Veterinary Service
2 April 2013
Through the application of appropriately designed conditioning programs, we have the most potential to influence performance physiology. Physical conditioning involves three body systems: 1) the musculoskeletal system, 2) the cardiovascular system and 3) the pulmonary system. The musculoskeletal system benefits considerably as the ligamentous and tendonous attachments are strengthened with regular exercise. Joints and cartilage surfaces are strengthened, and muscle mass increases and becomes more metabolically efficient with conditioning. Cardiovascular and respiratory adaptations during exercise ensure delivery of oxygen and nutrients needed for muscular activity and allow for the elimination of metabolic wastes. Endurance conditioning results in a significant increase in heart volume in the dog, which in turn results in ability to maintain a given cardiac output both at rest and exercise with a lower heart rate and increased systolic output, and less myocardial stress.
Numerous factors play a role in achieving peak performance of the canine athlete. Additional information, PowerPoint presentations and videos are provided for Veterinary Corps Officers' use at the following link MWD Physical Conditioning Program (AKO, password protected).