The world of dog sports has really taken off in the last ten years and there’s a sport for just about every type of dog. Training for one of the dog sports is a fabulous way to bond with your dog and its great exercise – for you and your dog!

There are over 50 recognized dog sports active in the US. A few of the more popular and unique ones are described below.

Agility – an obstacle course for dogs where a handler directs the dog through tunnels, over hurdles, and across teeter totters.  Each course is different and the team is judged on speed and accuracy.

Disc dog – humans throw Frisbee-like discs for the dogs to catch.  Various events, such as longest catch and freestyle allow dogs to grow in the sport.

Dock Diving – dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water.  Handlers throw a toy into the water to get the dog to jump for it.

Flyball – basically a relay race with four dogs on a team.  Dogs race over hurdles to a tennis ball launcher, catch the ball and return to their owner with the ball.  Then the next dog on the team goes.

Freestyle – creative obedience and dance moves set to music with the dog and handler competing as a team.  Dancing with dogs!

Herding Trials – dogs, directed by their handlers, move sheep around a field, fences, and gates.

Lure coursing – dogs chase a mechanical lure across a field.  The course mimics that of a prey animal with sudden turns and unanticipated moves.  This sport is great for site hounds.

Rally  – The dog and human team follow a course consisting of 10-20 signs that instruct the team what to do.  Handlers are allowed to encourage their dog during the trial.

Treibball – the dog must gather and drive eight large exercise balls into a soccer goal.  He is directed by a handler who can only use whistles, verbal or hand signals to direct his dog.

Participating with your dog in a sport is one of the best ways to keep your dog challenged mentally and physically while making the most of his natural instincts.  It’s also a great way to meet other people who enjoy spending time with their dogs.  For more information on dog sports, an internet search can help you find a local club.