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Keeping fit through the Winter. Annelise Enslin

Keeping fit through the Winter. Annelise Enslin


As winter rolls along I’m sure the working dogs are looking forward to a well-deserved rest.  Unfortunately, as for any other athlete, too much of a good thing is not so great.

If they are kept from daily exercise they often become a little heavier and obviously unfit.

This is a reminder to keep working dogs fit during the off season.  Come spring, we usually see an increase in orthopaedic cases at the clinic. Huntaways often more so than Heading dogs (as they would have had a fitness head start during lambing).

Common injuries during this period include:


  • Stifle injury – due to getting tied up in a fence, likely because they are heavier and more fatigued than usual to clear the fence they easily do when fit.
  • Stood on or kicked by cattle beast – slow getting out of the way
  • Bunted by sheep – slow to get out of the way


In some cases the injuries aren’t too serious but in others these dogs suffer major fractures or ligament ruptures that require surgery to fix.

Some practical solutions:

This requires a combination of regular exercise and feed adjustments. Something as simple as running them down to the yards or woolshed rather than just letting them off around the kennels for toileting for a few minutes.

By adjusting the amount they get fed to meet their energy requirements, you’ll be better able to prevent over conditioning. Take into consideration that during winter they require greater amounts of energy to keep warm – this is where insulated kennels, bedding and dog coats play a big role.

Keep money in your pocket by keeping your dog team fit through winter!


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