If you think your dog is in need of physical exercise or if you think your healthy dog has the potential to excel in dog sports, we have ideas for you. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to stay fit and happy, and dog sports are the perfect way to achieve this. Not only are they a great bonding experience for the two of you, they’ll keep both of you healthy too.
Although it can take a little time to find the sport that suits your Fido well (it has a lot to do with their size and energy levels), you won’t regret the search once you do. For example, you may think dock diving is cool, but if your pup isn’t a good swimmer, they may excel in flyball.
Make sure your dog has a thorough veterinary examination prior to starting any of these dog sports. Once your vet gives clearance, it’s time to get on your feet and enjoy these dog sports with your best friend.
Top Dog Sports to Enjoy with Your Furry Best Friend
Is your dog into running and chasing after balls? If they are, flyball could be the ideal sport for your best friend. It’s a relay for teams of four pooches to test their speed and catching abilities. The dogs in the team have to jump over hurdles to get a tennis ball released from a box. Your dog will have to step on a pad in order to retrieve the tennis ball. Then once your dog has the tennis ball, they’ll have to run back to the starting gate and the next dog takes their turn.
Flyball is suitable for all dogs, making it one of the best sports to do with your dog. It is most popular among breeds like whippets, border collies, and Jack Russell terriers.
Agility training involves an obstacle course and a timer. Your dog will be required to accomplish every task asked from them in every obstacle, such as making jumps, traveling through tunnels, and navigating various walkways. The obstacles include weave poles, teeter totters, hurdles, tunnels, and pyramids. You can only guide your dog through the obstacle course by your voice and with the use of hand signals. Every step of the way, your dog will be judged and watched for accuracy in a competition.
Any breed can take part in this sport, but the speed and precision of border collies seem to make them a favourite for this dog sport.
If you’re more inclined to the arts, canine freestyle is a choreographed performance for dogs. It’s essentially just dancing with them to the beat of the music being played. Dance routines typically involve the dog performing twists and turns, jumping, weaving through the handler’s legs, walking backward, and moving in sync with the handler. The sport, which originated around 1989, showcases a dog’s obedience and athleticism while also building teamwork between dog and handler.
Also called dock jumping, dock diving is the dog equivalent of the human long jump or high jump, except that this dog sport involves water. In this sport, dogs jump from a dock into a body of water in an attempt to achieve the greatest jump height. Dock diving is a great summer sport. The best dogs for this sport are high-energy dogs that love water, like Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers.
Sometimes a ball or toy is thrown into the pool with the dog jumping in after it. This is called distance jumping or Ultimate Air, and distance is measured at the place where the tail base meets the water. The newer Ultimate Vertical is closer to the human high jump. A bumper is placed at a predetermined height. As competing dogs reach it, the height is recorded and the bumper is moved up. The winner is the only dog that can reach the bumper at its highest position.
In lure coursing your dog will be chasing a mechanical lure, and the distance can be anywhere up to 1,000 yards. The lure has been designed so that it simulates a live prey, for instance, a hare. There will be one or two groups, and usually they are separated by breed. Sometimes the race involves obstacles. The course would have a minimum number of turns in order to simulate prey (the jackrabbit or hare) changing direction in a chase.
Although this dog sport is traditionally limited to sighthounds such as greyhounds, whippets, and Rhodesian ridgebacks, all-breed lure coursing groups are becoming more common.
Throwing and catching a Frisbee-type flying disc is a great way to let your pet run around and get some exercise. Started in the 1970s, disc dog continues to be one of the best and simplest sports a dog parent can enjoy with their dog. To many people, though, it’s also a competitive event. During disc dog competitions, dog-handler teams are judged in disc-throwing events like distance or accuracy catching and freestyle routines. To become a successful disc dog team, the handler must be able to properly throw a disc, controlling the distance and direction. The dog can then be trained to chase and catch the disc.
High-energy dogs like Australian shepherds, border collies, and Presa Canarios make excellent disc dogs.