Is your dog in need of some additional exercise to keep your dog in shape or even beat the bulge? Wanting some inspiration? Look no further; Nadia Crighton takes a look at the top dog sports across the country.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have discovered dog sports while our dogs were pups, the sheer excitement and joy of participating is easy. For those who are yet to discover the sheer adrenaline and addictive nature of these amazing sports, now is the time to enroll your dog, or pop along to a club for a sneaky look. The benefits of enrolling your dog in a sport is huge:
- It keeps up with training, while being lots of fun.
- It enriches the bond between you and your dog.
- Great for socialisation.
- Helps keep your dog in shape (and sometimes even you!).
- Help fulfill your dog’s natural abilities and instincts.
- Makes your dog happy.
The most popular and well-known sport is agility. This is a wonderful dog sport that will have your dog complete a series of obstacles while being directed by a handler (AKA you). The dog is then scored on accuracy and speed. Working together, off-lead will strengthen your bond, as you watch and marvel at your dog bounding and weaving through the set obstacles. These can include:
- A-Frame consisting of two ramps in the shape of an A.
- Dog Walk – two ramps with a flat ramp in the middle.
- Teeter-Trotter – like a child’s seesaw
- Collapsed tunnel
- Weave Poles
- And much more depending on the club
Dogs can be trained at all ages but it is advisable to be cautious with very young dogs whose joints are still developing. This is one of the most popular dog sports and you can even purchase equipment to train your hound at home. Pop along to your local agility club for more information on how you and your dog can get involved.
Does your dog love to run? Flyball might be just the sport you have been looking for. This sport will have your dog running through a course containing hurdles. At the end of the run the dog will hit the flybox with their paws causing a tennis ball to be launched through the air. The participating dog needs to collect the ball and race back through the course to the finish line. It’s the perfect sport for those dogs that have huge amounts of energy and in need of some serious fun! Flyball is a brilliant sport to watch and even more entertaining to participate. You’ll be in sheer delight at how incredible these dogs are. Benefits include:
- Great for exercise
- Exerts lots of pent-up energy
- Improves the bond between handler and dog
- Great for ball obsessed dogs
- Super fun!
This sport is gaining in mainstream popularity due to featuring on many talent television shows in recent years. Officially known as; Musical Canine Freestyle, it consists of dogs and handlers learning to move in sync while preforming to music. It is a great way to creatively interact with your dog and suits many dogs of all sizes and abilities. Dogs are trained to work on both sides of the handler’s body in a series of heel’s and obedience tricks and talents. There are two techniques:
- Freestyle Heeling – this is when the dog must remain close to their hander during the musical routine. The dog must remain close to the handler and look as they are almost on lead. Dogs are not allowed to jump or weave, or to do anything that isn’t a ‘heel’ during the routine.
- Musical Freestyle – This is when the creativity muscles can really flex. Dogs are able to fully express themselves with many obedience tricks and moves including weaving, rolling, jumping and passing through the legs.
There are so many additional dog sports than those mentioned above. No dog is ever too old to learn new tricks and you’ll be simply astonished at how much fun you both have. A fantastic way to improve your dogs training in a fun and interesting environment.