A walk a day can help alleviate boredom for your dog, but a simple walk lacks so much that you and your pup could be doing together. Dog sports are activities you can do with your dog that will increase his physical health, keep his intellect challenged and grow your bond even deeper. These sports can be done in your own back yard just for fun or you can compete locally, regionally and even nationally for titles, ribbons and other prizes.
Possibly the most popular sporting acitivity for our canine companions is Agility. This sport consists of an obsticle course that you guide your pup through. Each obsticle must be trained individually before you can chain them together into a course. Hurdles, teeter, weave poles, tunnels and more make up the course you will run. The handler and dog who runs the course fastest with least amount of penalties wins. If you’re not a competitive person, that’s okay, too. You can purchase or make your own obsticles to play with in your back yard for some doggy fun!
While Agility is a well known and fun dog sport, it is important to keep in mind your dog’s physical abilities. Dogs under 2 years of age, in which growth plates have not yet closed, should not participate in excessive jumping or hard running. Keeping this in mind, a young puppy can be introduced to Agility weave poles, tunnels, the A frame and others that are not physically taxing when walked on leash.
Flyball is another popular dog sport and is based on speed and accuracy. Instead of working as a dog and handler only, you can compete with a team. A lane is set up with hurdles with a ball box at the end. The dog must run and clean each hurdle, reach the box and press on it to retrieve a ball then carry the ball back over all the hurdles to his handler. Team work with the other handlers and dogs is of great importance if you want to compete in Flyball.
Flyball is a great fit for any breed and most ages of dogs. Like with Agility, do not ask your puppy to jump hurdles before his growth plates close to prevent injury down the road. Until he’s of age, you can introduce him to the love of tennis balls and the box that holds it.
Carting is a lesser known dog sport better suited to larger breeds. The dog is attached to a special harness and can pull a cart, either holding items or even one to transport people! Bernese Mountain Dogs, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands and even bully breeds excell in carting. It is easy to train and these dogs really thrive with this kind of work. Seek a local trainer in your area that has experience in carting to get your pup started!
These three sports are only the tip of the ice berg. There is far more to explore in the world of canine activities for you and your pooch. Search online, visit a kennel club or talk with other pet parents to find out what one is best for you.
Here is the training tips for other dog sports;