Fun activities with your dog! There is so much choice these days, every breed and every size of dog can be catered for and it’s always a lot of fun to try something new, for dog and owner alike. Dogs enjoy having an outlet for their energy, a dog sport you and your dog can enjoy together can help to further the bond your share and teach your dog new sills! You can join various clubs, enjoy fun days out doing your chosen sport, and make lots of new likeminded friends along with way.
A lot of sports are competitive, but you don’t necessarily have to compete, lots of activities can be purely about the fun. Unless you have a competitive nature of course!
So, what are the most common dog sports?
Agility – a hugely popular dog sport, meaning you will likely find an agility training class somewhere near where you live. Dogs are directed over/through/around certain obstacles in a specific order, with the fastest winning. This is a fast paced sport, and you don’t need to have a specific breed to take part! Any breed, any cross breed, many different dogs can excel at agility. This is a great sport to consider if you want to keep your dog happy and fit, and yourself fit too! You will have to bear in mind the age of your dog, young dogs don’t usually start using agility equipment until around one year old, due to the fragility of growing joints. Find a local agility group, go and have a look, and see where this amazing sport takes you and your dog.
Canicross – relatively new in comparison to sports such as agility, however gaining increasing popularity. Canicross is an energetic and fun new discipline which involves you, the owner, wearing a waist-belt with a 2 metre bungee-line attached to your dog. Your dog runs out in front of you and you race other people and their dogs. Yes, it’s all about the running! You don’t need a specific level of fitness to take part in canicross, as you will see improvements all the time as you progress. All dogs can take part in canicross, however if you are to compete there will be tighter rules in place.
Field trials – these are designed to test the working ability of gundogs. A trial will be similar to a days shooting, with dogs working with all game. Breeds which typically compete in field trials will be your traditional gundogs, the breeds which were bred to help us in hunting ie. Labradors (retrieved game), Spaniels (flushed and retrieved) and Pointers/Setters (seek out birds/rabbits). So, if you are a lover of the countryside and own a gundog, maybe this is something for you.
Flyball – competitive team sport, where two teams of dogs compete at the same time, using a racing line. Each dog in turn runs down the line, clearing jumps along the way, when at the end will ‘push’ on a flyball box, which triggers a ball to ping out. The dog retrieves the ball and runs back down the line. This is a loud, competitive and highly energetic sport.
Obedience – obedience is tested under certain levels of criteria and conditions. The Kennel Club have a ‘Good Citizen Dog Scheme’ which has different levels of obedience tests, however you can further this and start to compete at obedience at different competitions throughout the UK. Any breed can be obedient and compete!
Rally – this involves you and your dog going around a course, completing different exercises at different points, which are marked by numbered signs. It’s a bit like an obstacle course of obedience! You work your way through the course, without direction from a judge, and as briskly as possible. This is really fun and any breed can take part, however to compete professionally your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club on either the Breed or Activity Register.
There are MANY more activities you can have a go at with your dog! Remember, a puppy will NOT be able to jump over obstacles or take part in anything physically strenuous, however you can still join clubs, go and watch, see what’s involved and meet other owners who do now compete in various sports. Find out what it’s all about and get your pup used to the environment from an early age.
For more information about anything I’ve discussed just get in touch!