Dog Sports: Why You Should Get Involved
Why should you get involved in dog sports?
A way to spend lots of money? Noooooo
A reason to buy lots of new things? Nooooooo
A reason to own more dogs? Nooooooo
Enrichment? Yes Yes Yes
Enrichment for who? Both you AND your dog!
Dog sports inherently bring some training goals! So often, we hear, “I trained the basics. Now I don’t know what else to work on.” When that happens, you stop training the basics and don’t spend time learning with your dog. Training means that you and your dog are rewarding each other, enriching each other, and ultimately spending unforgettable moments together.
Let’s look at some dog sports that are easy to begin. You don’t have to get the bug to compete! Just have some fun, enrichment, and quality time with your dog. Personally, I LOVE agility, Precision Obedience, Canine Freestyle, and Dock Diving.
In the simplest form, dogs learn to handle obstacles. Jump over things, walk narrow planks and A-frames, run through tunnels, run over a teeter, and more. It builds confidence, fitness, and speed. Agility is a tremendous opportunity for you and your dog to connect while enjoying a dog sport. You direct the dog to the obstacles in a predetermined order. The dog hears your commands and reads YOUR body language while staying connected with you. This connection fosters incredible focus and engagement that transfers to other activities, including simple walks and hikes. Training agility is super fun! There is always something new to learn, which means there’s always something new to do. And while there is equipment that you need to practice, there is also a lot of flatwork that you can do without equipment. Often we hear “I can’t run,” but you don’t have to! The dog runs; you direct!
You don’t have to compete! But teaching precision obedience skills is a blast! The perfect Heel, the perfect sit, the amazing sphynx down, position changes, distance behaviors, sending your dog out, retrieving, etc. There is always something new to teach and always new criteria to achieve. There are many different competition obedience options: AKC, CDSP, Rally Obedience, and others. Competition obedience behaviors are also helpful outside of the classroom. Your dog learns to love working with you, and that attention transfers to other scenarios! That beautiful, perfect Heel is useful everywhere!
Canine Freestyle is a super fun sport. No, you don’t have to dress up! Essentially you and your dog learn to move together while playing music. Who doesn’t like music? Some folks do skits; some teach their dog amazing tricks, and some move in the heel position to a beat. ANYONE can teach Canine Freestyle, and there can be something new to work on every day! Canine Freestyle is good for Focus & Attention, fitness, confidence building, engagement, and all-around fun with your dog. You don’t even have to take a class if you don’t want to — teach a bunch of tricks and play music!
How to get started
Getting involved in Dog Sports is a great way to meet like-minded people, collaborate and learn new techniques. We enjoy lots of laughter and training ideas in our dog sports classes.
There are many sports to explore: Flyball, Nosework, Lure Coursing, Dock Diving, Barn Hunt, Rally-O, Rally FrEe, Obedience, Agility, Canine Freestyle, Heelwork to Music, the list is long!
Explore them! Remember that dog sports is an excellent way to get ideas for together time with your best canine friend.
Have a wonderful time training and teaching and learning with your dog!