Looking for a fun way to entertain your high-energy pooch? Or maybe your shy dog needs a confidence booster? Just like humans, our canine friends need exercise and enrichment, and dog sports are a fulfilling way to get both!
Dog sports are structured activities that harness your pup’s natural abilities into a task or series of tasks. You as the handler work on training her to complete these tasks and help to guide her through the course. Just like human sports, these activities can be part of a formal competition, recreational league, or just fun to do on your own!
With a variety of dog sports available to choose from, you’re bound to find one to suit your tastes. Our friends at Purina Pro Plan have this overview of a few of the more popular choices. Check it out to see which ones might be a fit for you and your best bud!
- Rally: Also known as Rally-O (short for Rally Obedience), Rally involves a team moving through a course of 10-20 stations. Each station has a sign providing instructions on a skill to be performed for the event judges. Good communication between dog and handler is crucial in Rally, and is an ideal activity for those new to dog sports, as it was designed with traditional pet owners in mind.
- Agility: One of the fastest-growing dog sports, agility in its simplest form consists of a handler guiding his or her dog through a course with a number of different obstacles, including jumps, see-saws, and tunnels, just to name a few. Scoring is based on a team’s ability to get through the course as quickly and accurately as possible.
- Flyball: Fiercely competitive but also fun, flyball is a fast-paced canine team sport. This activity builds team camaraderie and enriches team members’ bonds with their dogs. Flyball teams consist of four dogs and their handlers. The dogs race down a 102-foot relay course with four jumps to retrieve a ball from a spring-loaded box, while their handlers cheer them on. Teams are scored based on their cumulative timing.
If any of these interest you, search online to find leagues or organizations in your area. If you do get started in the world of dog sports, be sure to check out the Pro Plan website for tips on hydration, training, and nutrition!