The Endurance Test Trial (ET) is a fun and enjoyable, one-off trial held in winter, with the purpose of demonstrating a dogís stamina and willingness to work with its handler.
HOW THE TRIAL WORKS:
The handler either runs or cycles, with the dog on a loose two metre lead on the handlerís left side, together covering a 20km course which is split in three sections: 8kms, then 6kms and 6kms, and is of mixed surfaces. There are breaks in between each section: 15 minutes between 1st and 2nd, and 20 minutes between 2nd and 3rd.
The dogís fitness and condition are monitored by a team of vets who examine each dog during the breaks, while the whole trial is carefully watched over by a Judge.
Prior to entering the ET trial, both handler and dog are required to be registered with Dogs Victoria.
Then once entered into the ET, the handler must supply on trial day a certificate obtained from their vet during the preceding week, confirming their dogís fitness to take part. The dogís ability to continue during the trial will be constantly monitored with four vet checks taking place throughout the trialís duration.
Before the trial commences, a team of vets will check each dog and compare the data with its current condition as listed on the supplied vet certificate. If all is okay the Judge will then give the handler and dog a very simple obedience test to check the dogís willingness to obey.
Each dogís fitness and condition will continue to be checked during both breaks and again 15 minutes after the end of the final run. After the final vet check there will be a repeat of the simple obedience test to prove the dog is just as willing to obey as it was before the ET began.
The running and/or cycling part of the ET is carried out at a speed of 10kms per hour or one kilometre every six minutes. This is a gentle jog for the dogs, with most developing an easy gait at this speed. The whole test including the breaks takes two hours and 35 minutes.
Once the test has been successfully finished, the handler will be presented with a qualifying certificate signed by the Judge.
On application to DOGS Victoria, the dog will be awarded the Endurance Test Title and the letters ET will be added after its registered name.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIAL:
Ideally, this should start at a minimum of three months prior to the trial. Most dogs will have to be trained to run alongside either the handler or the bike, neither pulling nor lagging behind, at a nice rhythm by the handlerís side. The best way to build up a dogís fitness and stamina is gradually, starting off with frequent short runs and building up slowly over time to longer runs, ultimately to around 8kms (which is the longest of the three ET sections). Rest days are important and should be incorporated into any training program.
It is also of benefit for dogs to be comfortable with being examined, having their paws checked, and more particularly, their temperature taken. If the later is of concern, then a talk to your vet about learning to take your dogís temperature yourself to help get them use to the procedure.
For further details please see any instructor at Club on Sunday mornings, or more information and advice on preparing your dog for the trial, please click on the links below.