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.
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.