Release your dog's potential.
Elisa Deutschmann | Trailrunning with dogs
JEANETTE: Nearly 40,000 people are following the adventures of today’s guest and her husky, Finn. They have traveled to eight countries together, and today she will share her best tips on trail running with her dog. Elisa Deutschmann from Germany, welcome.
ELISA: Thank you, thank you. Nice to be here.
JEANETTE: Yes, we’re very happy to have you here. You are an influencer?
ELISA: Yeah, that’s right.
JEANETTE: You and your dog, Finn. Can you tell us a bit more about yourselves?
ELISA: My name is Elisa, as you already have heard. I’m living together with my husky, Finn, normally in Germany. I think for two years, I started to share all my photos and adventures which I and my dog are doing to Instagram. I uploaded pictures and videos about my life, about all the sports we are doing together, and yeah, it started to get more and more popular, and I think people like it and love to see what we’re doing. That’s why we’re always out and having fun. It’s nice to see that people get motivated about it. I think it’s nice. It’s a little bit more about how everything works with him, because it’s always important to do something together.
JEANETTE: And you really are an outdoor person, and so is your dog. Can you tell us a bit more about Finn?
ELISA: It’s my first dog ever. Before I got him, I knew I need a dog which was really robust so he can do everything I do and I don’t have to bring him warm jackets or so that he’s safe and ready for adventure. So I chose a Siberian husky. I got him when he was 8 weeks old, and now he’s already five and a half. We’ve made a lot of adventures together, and it works really well. So that was the point – that was when I said, okay, I need a Siberian husky. After five and a half years, I really know it was the right decision, and we’re a really good team together. I can’t think of a life without the dog.
JEANETTE: Can you tell us a bit about the adventures you’ve had so far? You’ve visited many countries and you have been on top of mountains, you have been running down mountains together, winter, summer, everything.
ELISA: That’s true. I’m traveling a lot with my dog. To be honest, the first holidays or adventures, I was not that prepared how to do everything with a dog because it was my first dog. The first holidays we made were to some really hot countries like Albania and stuff like that. If I’m thinking right now about it, it was not that nice because it was way too hot. But I think that’s the way you learn and how you can prepare everything better for your next adventures.
After all that experience, I focused my holidays more on like Norway, countries which are colder or whatever, Netherlands, things like that. Right now it works really well. I was before really into the mountain stuff, but through my dog I became more and more into it. As you may know, we started to get into trail running and all that kind of stuff.
Of course, if you have a dog, I think your life changes a little bit. It’s not like you go to the Bahamas and make holidays there. After that, we’re doing a lot of that stuff, but for both, it’s our passion and we love to be in the mountains. It’s insane.
JEANETTE: Do you have any advice if you plan to go to a totally different country with your dog? You don’t know how it is when it comes to temperature, where to go, where the nice trails are. How do you navigate when you do research before your trips?
ELISA: After a while, I really know my dog really well and I know what fits him and what doesn’t. If we’re going to a really warm place because we have to go or something like that, then I know that my dog loves to swim. That’s a really good point, because I always can put him in the water and he can cool a little bit down.
But if it’s maybe too hot, I
Viktor Sinding-Larsen | How to train like a World champion in bikejoring
JEANETTE: If you like biking, you will probably like this episode as well, as today’s guest is the World Champion, European Champions, and Norwegian Champion in bikejoring. He also competes in scooter and Nordic with skijoring, pulka, and 4-dog sled. Viktor Sinding Larsen, welcome.
VIKTOR: Thank you.
JEANETTE: You have achieved some impressive results throughout many years, so of course we want to know: how are you training yourself and your dogs? Now it’s offseason.
VIKTOR: It is. We just finished the winter season. Every year, we give the dogs an 8-week offseason period where we do other things, like not competition-specific training. We try to build up their strength, so we do some power training, a lot of core training. But in general, fewer hours than what we normally do. If some of the dogs come out of the season with small injuries that we do not see, these 2 months normally will heal all kinds of small potential injuries so that when we start again in 2 months, we know that they’re ready for a new year of training and competition.
JEANETTE: How do you build your training throughout the rest of the year?
VIKTOR: When the offseason period is over, we start very, very light. Only short trainings, maybe 1-2 kilometers in the beginning. Then we build up. Normally when the weather gets colder, it’s possible to do longer trainings. We start 1-2 kilometers and we try to end when the dryland competition is getting closer. We build up so that we are on 9-10 kilometer trainings.
Then we prepare for the dryland competitions, and when the dryland competitions are done, we have a lack of time, trying to prepare for the winter season, trying to catch up. All the Nordic guys have been training huge amounts through the fall, so then we have to program the dogs for longer distances, train big amounts in November/December, preparing for competition.
JEANETTE: You divide your training into light, medium, and hard weeks. What’s the difference between these weeks?
VIKTOR: We try to have these light, medium, and hard weeks. In general we do a lot of pulling. In the light week, maybe two or three times of pulling. The main purpose of this week is to recover. The medium week is a bit harder, maybe three to four times a week pulling. Then we end up with the hard week, five to six times pulling, and we also try to combine it with some core training or just free running in the garden.
JEANETTE: You’re living in Oslo, and that’s a city where it could be hard to have your dogs free running, but you solve this by training them in many other different ways.
VIKTOR: Yes, that’s true. We live in Oslo, and it’s a little bit challenging to train as much free running as we might like to do for the capacity of the dogs. But I like swimming a lot. It’s a very good, gentle way of training both capacity and strength. So during summer, we try to swim as much as possible.
JEANETTE: Swimming is also a very gentle way to train the dogs to avoid injuries.
VIKTOR: It is. I always spend quite a lot of energy on avoiding injuries for our dogs. Especially when we got our first greysters, they were really, really good dogs, Siri and Sagan. Because they were such amazing dogs, it was very important for us to get them to the starting line without having any injuries. It was better to compromise a little bit on the capacity training and more focus on having them without any injuries. Therefore, we train a lot of power, core, swimming, and not that much free running as maybe others do.
Of course, we don’t get the same capacity, but a healthy dog normally has good enough capacity for bikejoring anyway. It’s more important that it is without any kind of injuries.
JEANETTE: At the European Championships this winter, you started with seven dogs. Every dog was healthy.
Line Østerhagen | How much should I exercise my puppy? | SEASON FINALE
JEANETTE: I see a lot of questions on social media about what distances a puppy can walk, when they can start pulling or carrying a backpack, or whether they should walk on stairs or not. Today’s guest has worked with physical therapy for 20 years, and she can help find answers to these questions. Line Østerhagen, welcome.
LINE: Thank you.
JEANETTE: Your goal is to make life better for dogs by spreading knowledge about how their bodies are working and how we can take care of them in the best way possible. Therefore, you have been working on a book for the past year.
LINE: Yes, during 20 years of work and contact with dog owners, I found out that many courses and many places where they teach normal dog training, they actually don’t teach training physiology. So there is a lot of myths and wrong information out there, and I wanted to create a book with all the things that I think are missing from all the ordinary courses and all the important knowledge to all the dog owners so they can take good care of the body of their dog.
My book is about training exercise, but also about making a well-balanced program for the dog, how to train strength, endurance, and core muscles, and also how to put all these training methods together. But it’s also about how to train a dog according to their age, because there are certain practices that you need to take care of when maybe you’re training a puppy or training a grown dog. But it’s also a little bit about rehabilitation, harness, and how to actually do an easy physical checkup routine for your own dog and a little bit of stretching and massage. I think my book can help a lot of dog owners out there.
JEANETTE: The beginning of the dog’s life is very important. As a puppy, how do you prepare it for an active life?
LINE: There are so many misunderstandings, so many myths. Many people say that you have to keep the puppy quiet, don’t do any physical activities, be careful about exaggerating their training. But actually, it’s more like if you don’t do any exercises with your puppy, it will not be prepared for the exercise it’s going to do later in life.
In the beginning, when a puppy is born, it is really important that we let the puppy experience a lot of different stuff and a lot of different stimulation to the body because the body will develop to manage the things that we tell it it has to manage. And if you don’t tell it to manage anything, the puppy might easily get injured.
Actually, in the United States, in the military, they start stimulating the puppies when they are 10 weeks old. They have had quite good results with that. I’m not saying that you should exaggerate. You shouldn’t do anything that the puppy doesn’t actually manage to do by itself. But the puppy has to be in activity. You are not going to stop the puppy from any normal activities. For example, walking on stairs. Puppies can easily walk on stairs. It’s actually just if the puppy is so small that it cannot manage the stairs that you might wait a little bit with it. But if you make small stairs, even a small puppy will manage to do that.
So when they’re old enough to manage it all by themselves, they can do anything. You shouldn’t stop the puppy from anything. But I recommend that you don’t have a tired puppy. If you’re walking, for example, in the woods, you should notice if the puppy is tired. Maybe you should take a break. But the puppy should be in activity.
Of course, as it grows, it should be in more and more activity, and you should present to it more and more different kinds of stuff.
JEANETTE: Does this include jumping, different surfaces, and everything?
LINE: Yes. Surfaces are really important to teach the body how to control itself on different surfaces. Also, of course, mentally so that a puppy is not afraid of an
Steve Walsh | Q&A with a dog trainer
JEANETTE: We wanted to involve our listeners in today’s episode, so we’re doing a Q&A with dog trainer Steve Walsh from McCann Dogs. Welcome.
STEVE: Good morning. How are you? Well, good morning over here. I guess good afternoon over there?
JEANETTE: Yeah, it’s afternoon for us. You’ve had dogs for more than 30 years and taught classes for the last 15. Is that right?
STEVE: Yeah, at least. They’ve been a part of my life since I was a little guy. Always something that I’ve had a lot of fun with. Training was always the most important thing to me, and actually, it was the most fun, more so than anything else. [laughs]
JEANETTE: What kind of dogs have you had throughout the years?
STEVE: My first dog when I was a kid was a black standard poodle. She was the worst trained dog ever. [laughs]
JEANETTE: She taught you a lot, I guess.
STEVE: Yeah, she was a dog that when you walked out the front door, you had to try to close the door really fast so she wouldn’t run away. I think that probably started me on this idea of wanting to train dogs. Since then, I’ve had several Irish wolfhounds and whippets and border collies and things. I have two border collies right now and an Irish wolfhound currently in the house.
JEANETTE: You’ve been competing in different kinds of dog sports?
STEVE: Yeah, I’ve done a fair bit of lure coursing with the sighthounds and stuff, and now my main focus is agility. I’ve been lucky enough to represent Canada overseas at the European Open and national events around here as well. I’m very, very lucky to be able to do that.
JEANETTE: That’s good. So you have a lot of experience.
STEVE: Well, there’s always things to learn. [laughs] That’s the one thing I’ve learned. I never know enough, so I’m always trying to learn more.
JEANETTE: That’s good. Our listeners seem to be eager to learn more as well. We asked everyone on Instagram to send us their questions, and we got a lot, actually. There seems to be a lot of excited dogs out there because there were a bunch of questions similar to this first one “Do you have any tips on how to train your dog to not get too crazy and excited before a training or a race?”
STEVE: Dogs that are stimulated and excited, especially when it comes to training, are things that I love because I want a dog that’s eager and I want a dog that’s motivated to do the things that we want to do, whether it be agility or just some retrieving or some field trials or any of the sledding sports, things like that.
I will say before any of the sport stuff starts, though, I spend a lot of time with my younger dogs just near the environment. The reason I say near is if they’re right in it, we all know the events, especially the trials and events and races and things, are very high energy. If I can start to spend a little bit of time getting them comfortable in the area, doing basic things – having them sit, having them lie down, having them walk with me before I ever get to trialing, that can really help down the road.
Now, that doesn’t mean that older dogs can’t do that. We spend a lot of time trying to simulate a trial environment and trying to simulate that energy level because it is so different, and teach our dogs to listen. The more they can do that, the easier that becomes.
One thing I don’t want to ever do is try and get rid of that interest and excitement from the dogs. I really like it, but I really want to make sure that they can focus on listening to me in spite of that excitement. That’s a bit of a challenge to do, but like anything else, if I do it in a manner that my dog can be successful, that can help in those situations. That’s for sure. It’s a challenging thing to do, but it’s definitely worthwhile focusing on.
JEANETTE: Do you start when th
Ben Robinson | How to train like the fastest canicross duo on Earth
JEANETTE: Today’s guest is actually the fastest 5k runner in the whole world. Assisted by his dog Blake, Ben Robinson from the UK beat the world record with the time at 12 minutes, 24 seconds. I met him at the World Championships in Canicross in Sweden some months ago to find out how he is training. After they won, he was already more than 30 seconds ahead of #2. How is that possible?
BEN: It’s a combination of factors. I just had really good preparation. We started preparing for this race in the spring. Throughout the summer, I did whatever I could with Blake in terms of heat acclimatization, and obviously in the end we actually had slightly warmer temperatures than expected, but Blake was able to deal with those. Obviously I’m very lucky that Blake’s an exceptional dog. And just massive athletic preparation myself as well, away from canicross, and then just put the two together, and the result was pretty good for us.
JEANETTE: There’s a lot of good runners out there, but you seem to be one step ahead all the time. How are you training?
BEN: I train in athletics and canicross, obviously with the dog. A lot of my training will be on my own, but at the same time I place a great importance on working with Blake. I think we’ve seen in the past some really strong athletes, but then maybe don’t have the bond with the dog. So all the time, even when I’m training say an average week where I’ll train most of the time myself, I’m with Blake, walking him, whether that’s on lead, whether it’s off lead, scooter training, free running. I’m always with him. He lives at home with the family as well.
So I think it’s a combination of my athletic ability, obviously his incredible ability as a sport sled dog, and then still keeping that bond and importance on that bond.
JEANETTE: How does a normal week look for the two of you?
BEN: An average week, I would run most days. Maybe the odd rest day, so one day off. Probably two interval sessions for myself, one hills-based session and then one long run, and then the rest of the run is just made up of a little bit of recovery work. For Blake, in season, probably between three and four harness-specific sessions, which would mostly be scooter with just the occasional bike session as a speed and maybe the occasional canicross just to get my legs used to it, certainly in season.
And then hit up a couple of free runs with the rest of the team dogs. They all free run as a group, so they run hard together, and then a couple of days where he’ll walk on harness. I use obviously the half harness, the shoulder harness, but he will pull. I always let him pull on the walk, so that’s like a high resistance session for him.
And then I always give the dogs at least one rest day. Sometimes two if I feel they need it, but a complete rest day where they’re only at home, only in the garden, nothing at all, no walk, no run. I think there’s a lot of importance on the recovery for the dog as well.
JEANETTE: Do you have any breaks throughout the year, like a week or a month or something like this with alternative training?
BEN: Yeah, I always try and find a couple of stages across a calendar year where we have a few weeks of no structured training. We just do what we feel like, just enjoy time together, just the free run and the walk, but nothing else. It will depend a little bit where that fits on the seasons. That’s quite a hard thing to manage.
Obviously, I manage my own training around an athletic season and cross-country and road running, and then obviously for Blake, there’s the domestic season at home and then there’s an international season, and they don’t always agree, so a lot of the time it’s dictated to by that a little bit. But we’ll always try and find some time to rest too.
JEANETTE: How is it for you two to rest?
BEN: We’re quite active, still. B
Ole Einar Bjørndalen | Mental training secrets of an Olympic athlete
JEANETTE: These days are putting our mental strength to the test. We need some motivation and inspiration. Today’s guest might be able to help with that.
Through 25 years at the top of his sport, the “King of Biathlon” has impressed the world with his abilities to handle challenges and pressure. Ole Einar Bjørndalen won 13 medals in the Olympics, 45 medals in World Championships, and had 95 individual World Cup wins before he retired a couple of years ago.
One incident in particular at the very start of his career set a standard.
OLE EINAR: That was quite many years ago. It was in 1998 in Japan, in Nagano. I was very well-prepared for this competition. It was a 10 kilometer sprint. The race went really well. Around 2 kilometers before the finish, they cancelled this race because it was too much wind and too much bad weather, so they felt it was not a fair competition.
I was in the lead. I got a message from my staff people. They said I was 15 seconds in front, so that was my first gold medal, I thought. But as you remember, directly before I finished, they cancelled the race.
I got really angry up in the mountain there and smashed my skis and poles on the track, for sure. But then I understood that this race was not finished after a few minutes. I needed to come back to the stadium. So I skied slowly down to the stadium again, and then I saw a lot of media and journalists and I knew exactly what they would ask me about.
I thought, “Why should I speak to them? This race is not finished. I used 4 years for this competition; I don’t want to miss this competition again.” So I went straight forward, didn’t speak with anyone, no media, nothing, because I had no reason because the race was not finished. I would make this race finished before I spoke with anyone.
Then I went into my wax cabin, and in my wax cabin, my waxer was sitting in a corner there and he was more sad than me. He was sitting and crying because he lost also one gold medal. I remember the words I said to him. “I have fantastic skis these days,” and I said, “Thank you for the skis. Make the skis the same tomorrow, because it was really great.”
Then I took the bus down to the hotel. I needed to think about the next day. For sure I was feeling a bit sad, but I went to the hotel, took some food, and then I called my mental coach. This mental coach, Øyvind Hammer, I’d worked with him since two years before. We went through this competition the day before this race, and for sure I had to call him and explain what had happened.
He took the phone and he was a little bit different coach than others, because he was not interested in biathlons. He was more interested in what I am doing. I’m not sure if he was looking at this competition because he had a big business and he worked like hell, so I’m not sure if he looked at this on TV.
His first question was, “How was the race?” I explained it. “Skiing was fantastic. First round was also good. I shot four, and on the last shot I missed one and I put my rifle – but still I went in front because I was fast skier this time. Shot clean standing, so everything was good.” Then I explained they stopped the race.
Then it was quiet a little bit from him, and he said to me, “You’re quite lucky that you have a chance to make this race again, because we had an agreement yesterday” – because he prepared every race an agreement. I prepared on the paper, I wrote everything down what I had to do, and I signed it. When you sign the paper, then you need to hold what you write on the paper.
This time I didn’t hold my prone shooting. I was not on the place. I had the rifle on my back before I shot the last shot, almost. So he said to me, “We’ll do exactly the same preparation for the next race the day after, and you should do a single shot, prone, single shot standing, and don’t l
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