When choosing a working dog sport, it’s important to consider your dog’s personality and energy level. Some dog sports for working dogs, such as agility or rally obedience, are better suited for dogs who are active and enjoy learning new things. Other sports, such as dock diving or carting, may be more suitable for dogs who are strong and have a lot of energy.
From hunting and racing to herding and agility, dogs can participate in many different sports. Here are 11 of the most popular dog sports out there today.
Table of Contents
What Is Dog Agility? Dog agility is the art of training dogs to do tricks and perform stunts through obedience, agility, and working skills. The dog is taught to work within a given space, usually a gym, on a specific task. Dogs are tested to see if they can perform the task required in a certain amount of time. In general, agility trials require that the dog learn a series of movements that take place over time. The dog must learn to move forward, turn, stop, and jump over obstacles.
The sport of canicross is a dog sport that combines both agility and cross-country racing. Canicross is a game of endurance and speed. In the past, the rules required the dog to stay within a fixed distance of the handler, but today there is a lot more leeway in the sport. Now, handlers can take their dogs off leash and let them roam around and explore as they wish. They can also run alongside the handler and help guide their dog through the course.
3. Canine Cross Training
We all know dogs love to work out. Now we can harness that motivation into a fun workout for them. The basic premise behind canine cross training is that if you can train your dog to exercise with you, you can do your own workouts too. But it doesn’t have to be a case of a human running after a dog. You can simply walk with your dog while he or she trots ahead and turns around at intervals. When you reach your destination, he or she comes back to you and is rewarded with a tasty treat.
The key difference between a dog and a sport is that dogs don’t really care who wins or loses, while sports do. To put it another way, dogs want to play, but sports want to win. For earthdog, the ultimate goal was to become the leading provider of environmentally safe pet products in the United States. Earthdog’s customers loved the company. It offered a unique product line that appealed to pet lovers. But it needed to find its way to market in order to gain more visibility.
Earthdog’s founders, who wanted to start a company focused on innovation, built a dog-training program based on the principles of play, exploration, and discovery. The training involves having the dog run through a tunnel, with its handler following behind. When the dog returns to the handler, the handler then gives the dog a treat. Because the dog gets a reward for doing something it enjoys, Earthdog’s dog-training sessions are more successful than traditional obedience training. The dog is motivated by the prospect of getting a reward, not because it is being punished for doing something wrong.
5. Field Trials
Field trials are a series of timed events in which dogs compete for points. Each dog is judged on the basis of its behavior in a variety of tasks: running a gauntlet, retrieving, pointing, attacking prey, and tracking. Judges award points based on their impressions of the dogs’ performance in each category. The winner of each trial is determined by the point total accumulated by the dogs in all categories.
Field trials are held across the country for all kinds of breeds and sizes of dogs. They are competitions for dogs in obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, and lure coursing, and for show dogs, conformation trials, obedience trials, and working trial classes. There are also specialty classes such as search and rescue, therapy, and search. There are also some specialized classes for different dog breeds and ages, including senior, junior, puppy, and puppy training, which is perfect for training your puppies and helping them learn more about the world.
Flyball is a dog sport played on a 20-foot rubberized field (about the length of a regulation baseball field) with a 5-pound ball. Players take turns throwing the ball over a tall fence and into a net. The object is to keep the ball within the goal of the net and keep it there by kicking it back with the hind legs. The handler runs after the ball with the dog, retrieving it if it falls out of bounds.
7. Frisbee® Disc Dogging
Frisbee® Disc Dogging is a new sport in which dog owners throw a frisbee into a lake, river, pond or ocean, and the dogs catch the frisbee in mid-air. This new sport combines the fun of frisbee catching with the agility and athleticism of dog sports such as obedience, lure coursing, and flyball. Frisbee disc dogs are a perfect activity for people who love dogs, especially larger ones like Great Danes, Malamutes, and Mastiffs. They are a great way for big dogs to burn off some extra energy.
Herding sports for dogs is done by teaching your dog to perform a specific behavior. An example would be: the dog is trained to herd cattle or sheep. The dog learns to keep its head up and move forward, but without barking. By repeating the behavior and rewarding the behavior, the dog learns to do the action consistently. The dog is also taught to respond to commands like “heel” or “come.”
There are many types of herding sports, but all follow the same basic pattern of running dogs through a crowd of obstacles. Some types of herding sports are more challenging than others, depending on how fast the dogs run through the obstacles, how close they must get to them, and how far away from them they are supposed to return. Some of the most popular herding sports include herding trials, sheepherding, sheepdog trials, herding games, and herding agility.
9. Schutzhund (IGP)
Schutzhund training is a dog obedience competition, but one that takes place on the sport’s highest level: Schutzhund trials. The sport is highly competitive and the judges are among the country’s top authorities in obedience and agility training. The competitions involve dogs who are ranked for three categories: Junior, Medium, and Senior. The Junior category is open to dogs as young as six months old. The Junior class is typically the lowest of the three and consists of dogs that have been trained for only the past year.
In the world of dogs, treibball is like basketball for cats. It’s played on a large wooden box or a flat, smooth surface like cement. The object of the game is to jump over a string stretched between two poles. You might have seen this game played in dog parks around the country. It’s also commonly used as a training exercise, and as a fun way to introduce a new dog to its new family. It takes a little bit of time to learn, but it can become a favorite activity in no time.
11. Weight Pulling
Weight Pulling is a physical activity that requires strength and agility in both the dog and owner. There are many weight pulling exercises you can do to strengthen the muscle groups of your dog. The idea is to have your dog pull a small ball attached to a leash to you. Once the ball reaches you, have your dog sit while you toss the ball back. Repeat this process three times for each exercise.
But while it may be effective in the short term, weight pulling will almost certainly lead to heart problems and even death in the long term. So don’t let your dog pull too much weight—especially if he or she is young. A 10-pound tug is a lot for a young dog to handle, and even a 20-pound pull can be hard on a dog’s heart and lungs. Instead, use the gentle tugging techniques recommended above, especially for puppies.
In conclusion, dog sports for working dogs are fun and entertaining activities for both dogs and their owners. Whatever type of dog sport you decide to try, it’s important to start slowly and build up your dog’s confidence. Dog sports vary in rules, regulations and objectives, but all have one thing in common: they’re fun. The good news is, you don’t need to join the expensive dog sport leagues, you can start right away with dog sports for fun! So, which of these 11 different types of dog sports would you try?