Australian dogs have the opportunity to participate in a unique exercise that measures their strength and stamina. The Endurance Test, also known as E.T., is an activity that an owner can participate in with his or her pet. The primary purpose of the test is to measure the vitality and endurance of a dog. It is also a fitness test that will determine whether or not a dog fatigues more easily than it should.
There are several qualifications a dog must meet in order to participate in the Endurance Test. It must be between 2 and 7 years old, which is important since it ensures that the animal has reached full growth but does not yet have health conditions typically reserved for older dogs. The dog must also be registered with DOGS Victoria, an organisation that promotes the well-being of dogs and reputable breeding. It is also required that the dog has a complete veterinary exam in the days leading up to the Endurance Test.
The Endurance Test, completed in one day, consists of three legs that the dog must complete in order to pass the overall test. The first leg is 8 kilometres in length, the second is 6 kilometres, and the third leg is another 6 kilometres for a total of 20 kilometres. The owner or handler of each dog completes the test as well, either on foot or by bicycle. After the first 8 km are completed, the animals are given a 15 minute break. The second leg is followed by a 15 minute rest. During this time the dogs are given a chance to rest and drink water. Endurance Tests may have different distances and intervals depending on the dog’s size. Smaller dogs may not be required to complete a full 20 km and the test may be conducted at a slower pace than tests completed by larger dogs.
Throughout the process, dogs move at a pace set by test officials and they are required to maintain that speed throughout the test. Dogs and their owners or handlers traverse through different types of terrain, including grass, roads and dirt.
From beginning to end, the Endurance Test is completed within a period of 2 hours and 35 minutes. Participating dogs are also checked by a veterinarian before, during and after each leg in order to make sure they remain healthy and able to participate. If a dog does not appear in perfect health or displays behavioural problems, it will not be permitted to complete the test. During breaks between each leg, dogs are looked over from head to toe to make sure they are in good enough condition to proceed. Great care is taken to ensure that the safety of the dogs is the primary concern. The test, which is scheduled for various dates throughout the year, must be completed when the weather is not too warm or cool.
Training to complete an Endurance Test should begin several months prior to the event. A dog and its owner should practice running at a steady pace at graduated distances. The pair should also practice running with a leash, as dogs are required to wear a collar and leash during the test. Frequent water breaks and positive reinforcement will help encourage the dog to continue, though care should be taken to ensure that the dog is healthy enough for training.
Upon successful completion of the Endurance Test, the owner or handler will receive a certificate that highlights the dog’s accomplishments. Done properly and in the right conditions, the Endurance Test is a wonderful way to test a dog’s endurance and stamina while also helping to foster a great relationship between a dog and its owner.