Assuming your dog is properly conditioned for the task at hand (if your dog isn’t physically fit, the warm-up alone could even be too much), we need to properly warm up our and our dogs muscles so that we are ready to propel into action.
Research has repeatedly shown that warm up and cool down sessions improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of physical injury. A warm up revs up the cardiovascular system by raising the bodys temperature and increasing blood flow to muscles, and uniformly fires the motor neurons that control your muscles. We don't want our dogs to overindulge in activity that they aren't physically ready to perform.
Warm up routines should vary according to the level of exertion expected of your dog/s, and will also depend on the age of your dog and their orthopedic history.
You may wish to warm up by doing five to ten minutes of walking or slow jogging which you can gradually increase in pace once your dog has had a chance to sniff around and get any toilet stops out of the way. This will mean fewer stops and fewer injuries for your both later on.
If you have a calm and tolerant dog, integrating some stretching of their hip and shoulder flexors, back and chest into their warm up routine is a great way to get them prepared for the task ahead. Alternatively, you can try:
Tug of war - Excellent active-stretching whole-body muscle warm-up
Position changes - Combinations of sits, downs and stands in a row
Figure 8's - Lure your dog around an object (i.e. cones) or with a toy in a figure 8 pattern. Vary which direction the dogs start. I.e. sometimes left through the center of the 8 and sometimes right through the center of the 8. The closer your dog is to the object/cones, the more your dog will work spinal flexibility.