In the world of dog competition, Inde is another amazing canine athlete! She is a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, owned and loved by her handler, Michon Mills. Michon owns and loves a total of four Belgian Malinois dogs: Inde, almost 2-yr-old Venice, 3-yr-old Ironic, and 16-week-old Zing. She also owns a 1-yr-old Bengal cat named Ghraidh (pronounced graw) and a 15-week-old Bengal cat named Dhlieas (pronounced dill-ee-us). They like to think they are performance dogs, too. Both have quite the personalities and are learning to be athletes, too.
Her dogs compete in dock diving, agility, disc, and Ringsport (mondioring, a protection sport). And they have also participated in a K9 Gladiator event as a team. This event included running and obstacles.
Different Dog Competition Requires Different Preparation
As far as knowledge and ability to perform in specific sports, different activities require different preparation. The dog must be proficient in the activity it is participating in. But as far as conditioning, all sports and activities require that a dog be in prime, physical shape to be successful and to minimize injury.
The world of dog competition includes these different sports:
- Dock Diving/Jumping
- Fly Ball
- K9 Gladiator
What Matters Most in Dog Competition
For your dog to perform well in the competitive world, first and foremost, there must be a relationship built with your dog. Secondly, you must be proficient in your engagement with your dog. You must have solid obedience and control as their handler.
Before Dog Competition
Your dog should eat a proper diet, rest, condition, and stretch on a daily basis. But on the day of competition and before an event, your dog should:
- Maintain their fuel level by eating a balanced diet throughout the day
- Rest (mentally and physically)
- Maintain their physical condition
- Stretch minimally and warm up
Inde eats a balanced, high protein diet and also uses MVP K9 Muscle Builder.
After Dog Competition
Every handler helps their dog recover after an event with stretching, cooling down, and refueling with food and supplements.
But Michon also uses the Spectra Therapy Canine Wearable LASERwrap® before and after activities.
Inde wears the Spectra Therapy Canine Wearable LASERwrap® for an hour before and after events. (Michon has also used the wrap on her own back to minimize her back pain).
When Inde uses the Spectra Therapy Canine Wearable LASERwrap®, she jumps to her potential. She has proper form when jumping, too. Michon attributes this success to the LASERwrap® because Inde is rested and pain-free with minimal inflammation.
Are You Interested in the Benefits of the Spectra Therapy Canine LASERwrap® for Your Dog?
If you’re interested in the benefits of the Spectra Therapy Canine Wearable LASERwrap® for your canine athlete before or after dog competition, contact Michon Mills. She is a distributor for this beneficial tool and will gladly answer your questions about it or how it benefits her dog Inde.
Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you have any immediate needs or questions, call us at (248) 524-6300 today and let the healing begin!
– Click Here to Read Michon Mills' Bio
Michon Mills' Bio:
Michon Mills is a national/world competitor with her canine athletes, and she is a part-time dog trainer.
As a retired K9 handler, Michon feels that many of the skills she learned while working with police dogs has transferred nicely to training dogs and competing with dogs. She follows the Michael Ellis methods, using balanced training methods for behavior modification, as well as training complex behaviors and activities. She thrives on the challenge of coming up with creative new ways to train dogs and puts tools in her toolbox from every situation she encounters. Michon feels that it is important to train the dog in front of her and realizes that not all dogs can be trained using a cookie-cutter method. Every dog she works with teaches her more about training, patience and, most importantly, how to be a better trainer by developing a proper relationship with the dog.
Michon feels that it is important to help the dog be successful with what the dog is good at and can excel at, not just what she would like to achieve personally.
Making sure that her dogs enjoy a positive experience with all activities that they participate in is important to her.
Because she believes a relationship and working as a team is crucial with her canine athletes, Michon is very successful in dog competition. Some of her success can be seen on Facebook at https://www.facebook.comIndiaduloupsdusoleil/
Click Here to Read Inde’s Story
One of the most important things to have when living with a canine athlete is to have a relationship with your dog. They are not machines, but a living being that will do just about anything that we ask of them. Most dogs are incapable of self-regulation or self-preservation. Speaking from experience, a Belgian Malinois, which is what I own, will go until they drop. It is our job, as their owners, to take care of them and do what is absolutely best for them, including keeping them safe, even if that means making a hard decision to not compete. When you have a good relationship with your dog, you will know what is normal for them mentally and physically, making it easy to make the best decisions for you and your dog. You are a team!
Off-season rest is very important. Dogs, like people, can burn out and get tired. I feel that it is important to give your canine athlete rest and time to “just be a dog.” Like I said, they are not machines. Although they love to work, they need rest and breaks once in a while. As competition season gets closer, pre-season conditioning must take place.
Just as football players and baseball players don’t play their perspective sports to stay in shape, other forms of activity must take place with our canine athletes to build muscle and stay in shape. Nutrition is also very important. Feeding a healthy, balanced, high-protein diet is essential. Canine athletes burn a lot of calories and need the proper fuel to maintain performance prior to, during, and after a competition. Besides eating a well-balanced diet, we also use MVP K9 Muscle Builder and Performance.
Most of the sports that my dogs compete in require jumping and running. They participate in Mondioring, Dock Diving, Disc, and Agility.
My most successful Mondioring and Dock Dog is Inde. She is a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois. She made the 2014 US Mondioring World Team and traveled to Italy to compete in the Mondioring World Championships. That same year, she was the 2014 Splash Dogs National Champion, 2014 Super Retriever Series National Champion and the Regional and National Champion for the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge, setting the current world record jumping 33’10”. She also held the World Record with Ultimate Air Dogs with a 30’2” jump and Xtreme Air Dogs with a 29’ jump.
How did she become so successful? Part of it is genetics. She is from Loups du Soleil Belgian Malinois, known for being fabulous athletes that jump very well.
The other part is being prepared and properly conditioned both mentally and physically. Her success didn’t just happen. We spent endless hours and thousands of dollars, practicing, training, preparing, conditioning, traveling and obtaining training equipment.
Being successful not only requires a good athlete, but it also requires sound obedience, control, and environmental stability, and most importantly, a perfect relationship.
The first year and a half of Inde’s life was spent working on and perfecting her obedience, properly exposing her to all kinds of people, places, things, and all kinds of environments including all types of weather, learning to trust one another, and building that perfect relationship.
Proper physical conditioning must include all areas of the body, not leaving out any muscle group. Your dog must be in prime physical condition to be successful and to help minimize injuries.
We use FitPaws for strengthening and stretching activities. FitPaws helps with core and trunk strength, helps stabilize weak areas, improves balance and body position awareness.
We also do a variety of walking/running exercises which includes sprinting exercises and endurance running, jogging and walking, uphill, downhill and on flat surfaces. These exercises build muscle, increase endurance and stamina, and improve speed. For some of these exercises, we use the XDOG Vest and Accessories, which includes a weighted vest, a parachute and weighted drag bag for resistance training. We train a variety of jumps, including a hurdle jump, a broad jump, and a palisade jump. Having a properly conditioned core is of utmost importance when doing jumping exercises and events. The core is what supports the spine. Jumping also helps build leg muscle and creates rear end awareness.
Her conditioning and training program also includes protection work. Being able to run, bite and wrestle, using her whole body, is another beneficial way to work various muscle groups. She is able to tug and pull, which has increased her front end muscle groups. This also builds endurance and stamina.
Prior to and after competitions, we use the Spectra Therapy Canine Wearable LASERwrap®. We’ve used a hand-held laser in the past, which, although beneficial, was difficult to use as Inde would not stand still and didn’t like the laser touching her. The LASERwrap® alleviated all those problems. She is totally relaxed and calm while wearing the wrap, usually falling asleep in her bed shortly after it is put on. The LASERwrap® helps maintain her energy levels and assists with shortening recovery time after events.
What motivates her is simple: her tug. A funny little fact about Inde, she doesn’t like water. She will not swim on her own just to swim. She despises the rain. But her tug will make her do anything. We are so blessed that K9 Tactical Gear made the “Inde” tug. Not only is it used by Inde, it is also used by many, many Dock Diving dogs, including multiple National Champions.
Even with all the preparation and conditioning, Inde hasn’t totally avoided injury. She has had two back injuries in the last few years. She tore her iliopsoas muscle at the origination area under the lumbar spine and recently had two discs affected with low volume, high-velocity traumatic extrusion of the normal nucleus pulposus. I am so very thankful that even with these two very serious injuries, Inde has healed and will not have any lasting effects of these injuries. We are grateful that we have the Spectra Therapy CanineWearable LASERwrap® and other accessories to assist in the healing and maintenance process. The Spectra Therapy products increase circulation which reduces inflammation and pain and helps relax and calm Inde. Chasing her around with a handheld device was a little counterproductive when trying to administer laser therapy to her spine area.
I also now have a ¾ sister to Inde that is 1 ½ years old. Her name is Venice. She has big shoes to fill to catch up to Inde’s accomplishments, but she is surely capable. Using what I have learned over the last 5 years will help me be successful with Venice, too. We have a huge toolbox of knowledge and lots of equipment that will help with our success. For now, we are building that much-needed relationship and just getting started.
When I got Inde, I had no idea what I was going to do with her. She has exceeded all my expectations. We have traveled to other countries and all over the United States met and developed so many friendships with amazing people. It’s been an amazing journey.
It’s hard to fathom how much we have accomplished in so little time. She is only 22” tall and weighs 45 pounds. Inde is a small dog with a huge heart. They say it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. She is the whole package.
The best thing about this amazing journey with Inde is our relationship. We are a team. We work together, win together, and lose together. But most importantly we have each other.
Win, lose or draw, I take home the most important prize possible, Inde.