The SAID Principle

The SAID Principle of Exercise and Why it’s Important in Cross Training

People have been exercising dogs for hundreds of years, and there are many techniques available to keep your dog in shape. But, with all that’s out there, what really helps your dog be the best they can be?

Whenever I start a new exercise program for a dog, I first ask what the dog does in their everyday life. Does he have a job, run agility or herd sheep? Or, does he lie around all day, making occasional sudden bursts out the back door toward a squirrel who inadvertently makes it into his yard? An exercise program should be tailored to compliment the everyday actions that a dog does.

For an exercise to be effective, it should work the dog more than the handler, and it should be targeted to the actions seen in that animal’s daily life. If we are cross-training for a sport, then we should also consider exercise that mimics the actions seen in the sport, but lessen the intensity or speed, while still challenging the athlete so their body can adapt and build strength.

This is where the S.A.I.D. principle of exercise comes in.

SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This basically means that we will get better and stronger at what we practice, but in very specific ways. For example, walking and running in straight lines may be great exercises for general, cardiovascular fitness, but how can we help the agility competitor become stronger in their jumping abilities?

To better target the jumping action, I would pick an exercise that mimics the same ranges of motion seen in jumping, but with less intensity, still providing a challenge for the dog.

Check out the video below of SuperPan jumping over a simple set point jump.

The squat is a great example of mimicking the take off of a jump, but what exercises could help with landing?