Dog sports are a great way to continue to build the relationship between you and your pup. It’s especially great for over active dogs because it gives them a constructive way to be challenged both mentally and physically. It’s also good for dogs with fear issues because it helps them build self confidence and trust. Plus it’s a ton of fun for both you and your canine companion!
Not sure what sport fits you best? Here is a list of some of the dog sports you can take up as a hobby, and you may eventually even decide you want to compete!
Agility is my personal favorite dog sport. The handler works with the dog to direct it through a series of obstacles. These obstacles typically include jumps, a-frames, tunnels, dog walks, weave poles, chutes (or collapsed tunnels), teeter-totters, and tires.
In competition each organization has it’s own way of scoring but it is usually based on time, points, and faults.
Overall, agility is just a ton of fun! Your dog learns to overcome new obstacles and builds confidence. It builds handler/dog relationship because your dog has to learn to take it’s cues from you. You begin to learn just how tuned into you your dog really is!
Rally is an obedience sport. You take your dog through a course that consists of 10 to 20 signs and you must complete the task on the card.
All signs are numbered and placed to the right side of the handler. The dog and handler team must complete each exercise. (In AKC there are 50 different exercises that can be present on a course!)
For those who love obedience work, this a fun outlet to keep you and your dog sharp!
Sample AKC Rally signs can be found a printed here: https://images.akc.org/pdf/events/rally/signs_2012.pdf
Maybe the idea of competing in front of people doesn’t sound like fun to you. Or perhaps you just love dancing! In canine freestyle you add heel work, tricks, and behaviors to music to create your own choreography. It’s dancing with the dogs!
This is a creative sport where you can decide your own choreography. It is also a sport that can be great for even a shy dog who doesn’t like performing in a ring. Video submissions can be a valid entry for competition in most venues.
Do you have a dog that loves to use it’s nose? Tracking can be a great way to allow your dog to utilize it’s natural instincts to follow a scent on a hunt.
If you have interest in basic scent work, let me know! We can arrange some training to begin to create fun games where your dog can use it’s nose in a constructive way around the house.
Here’s a video of Maggie finding and fetching my wallet:
There are many other dog sports that are available for you and your pup! The point is to get out there and have fun with your dog. Finding new ways to spend time together will only increase your bond!
For all of the dog sports listed above, there are non-competitive venues to enjoy them without the stress of competing. If you have any questions about training or opportunities in the area, feel free to e-mail me!