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by Kaos Knls. (Barry)

A CONDITIONING PROGRAM using the Cycle & Step 
Ladder Technique incorporating 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 I have 
used in the past with outstanding results. It consists of 5 separate 

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, without rest 
days and without overworking them. This is achieved by allowing your dog 
what is termed "active rest". By this, we mean that the dog is resting but 
is still doing a light workout. Steadiness is the key here, if your dog 
shows any sign of trouble then stop immediately, let your dog recover and 
start again. Step Ladder Example:

DAY Mon Tues Weds Thur Fri Sat 
EFFORT 100% 70% 60% 100% 70% 60% 60% 

Gradually your dog's 100% effort will increase with fitness.

Amino Acids, Complex Carbohydrates, Vitamin / Mineral / Trace Element 
Supplements, (Nutrient Mix).
The use of this nutrient mix plays a major part in this program. Complex 
carbohydrates give the dog the energy he requires while under stress and 
helps to prevent soreness in the muscles. Amino acids help in muscle 
development by aiding protein digestion 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 are many commercial brands available and some 
people still prefer to use their own ideas. I personally use a dried food 
called "Eukanuba Premium", which can seem to be an expensive food, but 
less is used simply because of its high digestibility, so in the long run 
it balances out. It is a chicken based food with some of the best vitamin 
and mineral content available. This in itself removes the need to add 
supplements of this kind to the nutrient mix.


During this program you will be working and feeding your dog twice a day. 
In between this, we will be introducing the nutrient mix which consists of 
complex carbohydrates, amino acids and vitamin/mineral/trace element 
supplements. (n.b. Too much vitamins, etc. can be just as bad as not 
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 products should be available at your local Health 
Store, Chemist, etc.. If you are having trouble obtaining supplies your 
local Gym / Health Club should be able to help. These products are gauged 
on body weight, so with a bit of basic mathematics you should be able to 
calculate how much to use for your dog.

The nutrient mix should be given to your dog about an hour before each 
workout and preferably on an empty stomach. So when your dog gets up in 
the morning to empty out, feed him the mix. Then an hour later work your 
dog. After the workout, cool him down with a gentle walk and give him a 
good rub down. After this, feed him half of his normal daily food and 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 the nutrient 
mix one hour before the start of exercise. Once again, after the workout 
cool him down with a gentle walk and give him a rub down. You can then 
feed him the second half of his daily food and allow him to settle down 
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 seem a 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 know when it is 
time to play.

The Transition Cycle (1 Week)
This part of the program is aimed at getting your dog use to working every 
day. The mileage you put in will depend on how much time you have and how 
capable you are. As long as the Step Ladder approach is used then the 
process should work. Easy walking is the only type of work done here, 
along with the nutrient mix and the feeding regime as described earlier. 

The Load Cycle (3 Weeks)
This cycle will be the foundation for the hard building work that will 
come later. The type of work undertaken should be slow, long distance 
walking and trotting. There is no sprint work involved at this stage, as 
we are aiming to develop deep wind. If you don't have access to an easy 
running slat mill (n.b. carpet mills are too hard to pull for this stage 
of work, but will be ideal for the Peak Cycle later on), then long easy 
bike rides or jogging will do just as well. The distances you cover are 
entirely up to you and your dog, though I suspect that you will tire 
before your dog does.

Step Ladder and Feeding stages are to be followed as discussed. A gradual 
increase in carbohydrates should be used in-line with an increase in the 
dogs workload. Care should be taken not to let your dog run too light, 
which ultimately comes down to knowing your dog. The actual time and 
effort you choose to put in at this stage will pay dividends later on in 
the tough Peak Cycle.

Recovery Cycle (1 Week)
For three full days completely rest your dog and stop feeding the 
carbohydrates. Allow your dog out, only to empty out and to feed. For the 
rest of the week, walk your dog a little more each time and reintroduce 
the carbs again.

Peak Cycle (3 Weeks)
In this cycle we use only high impact sprint and walk workouts. No long 
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 dogs heart and 
lungs and their ability to recover after intense work. So on your bike or 
mill, have your dog run as fast as they can. As soon as they start to ease 
off, slow them down to a walking pace until they recover and are breathing 
easily again. Once they are, then off you go again, flat out then walking, 
flat out then walking. Step Ladder and Feeding regimes as usual during 
this period.

During this cycle, dogs can become very 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 are adhered to. The "A Frame" can be used 
for a type of flat out and sprint then walk work. Having the dog chasing a 
ball up and down hills 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 

Taper Cycle (1 Week)
Now rest your dog for three full days, do no work and feed no 
carbohydrates. Then for the remaining four days, still no work, but 
reintroduce the carbs into your dog. If you have been doing this right, 
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 offered merely as 
a guide. The amount of time you have available will dictate just how much 
work you can do with your dog. I do believe however, that greater results 
can be achieved by using this method.

by Kaos Knls. (Barry)