Dog sports can bring a lot of joy to you and your pet, especially when you train with respect. You will not only discover just how fast and smart your fur buddy is, you’ll actually learn how much they value their connection with you.
There are a number of sports options to choose from and your choice should be based on your dog’s breed, age, and size, not to mention their energy level.
Agility is a sport that involves a handler directing their pup through a tough obstacle course, in a race for both accuracy and time. A dog will run off a leash with no toys or food as incentives, and the handler will not touch the obstacles or your pet.
The handler will use their voice, movement and different types of body signals. This type of sport will take quite a bit of training for both you and your four-leg buddy. In a competition, the handler will assess a course and determine the appropriate strategies to use and direct the dog through the course using speed and precision.
Agility is probably the most popular canine sport worldwide, and for a good reason. If this sounds like a fun way to bond with your dog, you can sign up for agility training classes where both you and your pet can learn the ropes.
Rally, also called rally obedience is a type of sport that is based on obedience, where the handler and dog will proceed around a course of stations. At each station, the handler will find a sign that instructs the team on what they need to do, such as jumps or heeling moves. Unlike traditional obedience, the handler will be allowed to interact with their pet verbally.
Barn hunting is a type of sport that’s based on the age-old practice of using dogs to rid farms, barns, and homes of vermin. For this type of sport, it will search for and locate live rats that are hiding in ventilated, strong PVC tubes on a course that consists of bales of hay.
In the first level, your pet will only need to locate one rat in a certain amount of time. The complexity of the course and the number of rats the fur baby must locate will increase as your pet's skill level progresses.
This is a fun sport that’s based on instinct, but at the higher skill levels, some dog handling skills are needed. This is the perfect sport for all breeds, especially Rat Terriers.
A relay race that consists of teams of four dogs is known as dog flyball. They will race against another team over a course filled with low jumps and to a spring loaded box that will release a tennis ball when a it hits it with its paw.
The dog must then catch the ball and run back to his handler. Every dog on a team will have to make it over the starting line and return the ball before the dogs on the opposing team finishes. If a ball is dropped or the next relay dog is released too early, penalties will be applied.
The first dog team to finish the relay is the winner. This is an intense, high-paced sport that’s perfect for high-energy dogs.
Tracking is a fun sport that will encourage a dog to make full use of their instincts and senses. The dog's goal will be to locate the track layer at the finish line.
On the day of the competition, the track layer will follow a determined path and leave behind articles of clothing or other items on the trail that carry their scent. The track will then sit for a certain period of time before the competition. Then the handler and the dog are directed to scent out the track.
Generally, the dog must work without any help from the handler and be able to keep the scent all the way to the secret finish line in order to get a passing score. Usually, this sport is timed, so the dog with the best tracking time is the winner.
Obedience competitions will allow you and your dog to perform together, completing a variety of obedience exercises, such as heel, stay, come, down, and sit. At an advanced level, retrieving, jumping, following hand signals, and scent work is included.
The performance will then be evaluated by the judges. The handler can choose to train for advanced degrees of accuracy in order to receive a higher score. This type of competition provides you with the perfect opportunity to work as a team with your pet, but it also takes several hours of training for you and your canine friend.
Frisbee competitions are not only fun to watch, they’re actually pretty fun to compete in. The dog will be judged based on the distance the disc was caught or thrown, or on the creativity of the routine in which your pet will be encouraged to perform some pretty impressive tricks while catching the disc. This is another popular spectator sport and it’s perfect for all breeds.
This question is a common one, and it really depends on the breed, their age, and their size, not to mention their temperament.
Certain sports, such as agility training, is best left to the puppies and should be started only after your pet has completed basic obedience training. Other sports, such as tracking is okay for older pet and is more of a test of their scenting capabilities than speed or strength.
For many types of obedience competitions, it will be important that you get your pet with a good, friendly, easy-going temperament. Dog sports and dog diet with stubborn breeds, such as bulldogs, even basic obedience training can be very difficult.
It’s also important to train your pet for these types of competitions at a young age, starting off with obedience training at around six to eight months of age and advancing to the next level as they complete each program.