Dog Sports

These days there are nearly endless options for activities that you can do with your dog.  Certainly the classics like walking or running with your dog, playing fetch, or taking a basic manners/obedience class may be great things to do with your dog, but don’t feel like you have to stop there.  While not every activity is a good fit for every dog or owner, here are some quick and fun videos highlighting a variety of dog spots/activities to get you excited about getting out and active with your pup!

Flyball is a relay sport in which a team of 4 dogs (with the help of their handlers) race against another team.  The dogs must jump a set of 4 low hurdles, push a button on a box to release a tennis ball, then return over the jumps and across the start/finish line.  As one dog finishes the next dog on the team starts and the first team to have all four dogs finish wins.  Flyball is a fast, high intensity sport!

Agility is a hugely popular dog/handler team sport.  This sport involves a dog being guided through a course of obstacles (jumps, tunnels, weave poles, teeter-toter, hoops, A-Frame, etc.) by a handler and performance is ranked based on how quickly you complete the course with as few errors as possible.  There are many different competition classes (some that involve handling your dog at a distance, others that only use jumps and weaves, for example), and several large regulatory organizations that each have their own unique set of rules/guidelines.  While the many acronyms (AKC, UKC, NADAC, etc.) and rule differences might be intimidating at first, they allow for a wonderful variety of options, giving you great flexibility to find goals that are a good fit for you and your dog.
Crufts 2012 highlights (a fancy pants high-end dog show)

One woman and her dog – highlights from a year of training:

And think again if agility is just for dogs:…
Cat doing Agility

Mouse Agility

There are a number of different sports in which a dog (or group of dogs) in special harnesses pulls a handler. Dog sledding is certainly the first thing we may think of – but running, skiing, biking, skateboarding, and scooting with some assistance from a dog are gaining popularity. Many of these sports can be done with just one dog – but certainly get medical clearance and proper equipment to make sure everything is safe for both you and your dog.

Lure Coursing:
Lure Coursing is often thought of as only for the sight hound breeds (Greyhounds, Salukis, Afgan Hounds, etc). Many dogs, however, get thrilled about the chance to chase a fake rabbit around at top speed. In this sport the dog does much of the work independent of the handler, but there is something about watching and supporting your dog using his or her natural abilities that seems to make our bonds grow even stronger.
Learning to run:

Single dog example: