There’s a wide-open field for different types of dog sports. Purebreds and mixed breeds compete against each other for a prize or national title. Other times they do it just for fun. Whether your dog performs flawlessly to the applause of hundreds or stumbles on the course, he must be obedience trained to compete. Many earn a Canine Good Citizen certificate. Unless a dog obeys his owner, he will never succeed in sports.
Before starting your canine friend in any dog sport, have him examined by a veterinarian first. Pre-existing conditions should be ruled out. Vaccinations must be current. Encourage your dog, but never force him to perform if he is fatigued, injured, or just not interested.
Recognize your dog’s physical limits. Also, always take weather into consideration for outside activities. If it is too hot or cold for you, think about your dog – the weather is not suitable for him either.
Dog sports are not just about winning. They are about having fun and bonding with your dog and other owners. They are also about building friendships, both human and canine.
Here’s two quite popular dog sport:
Flying disc contests started more than 30 years ago. There are many contests held across the United States, Canada, and Europe, although no one organization sanctions flying disc contests. There are various levels of competition from novice to skilled.
Dog owners everywhere toss flying discs to their dogs in parks, at the beach, or in their own yards. Very few dogs build up the skill and precision needed to win competitions. Most do it for fun or exercise. Watching the experts compete, however, can be breathtaking.
Dogs perform acrobatic stunts as they leap and fly to grab those flying discs. Their stunts can be thrilling and seemingly impossible to perform. The sport is open to all dogs, regardless of breed, sex, age, or disability.
To get started, enroll your dog in basic obedience. He must listen to your commands to excel in this tough competitive sport. Then see whether there’s a flying disc group near you. Sure, you can practice in your own back yard, but working with a team builds camaraderie. You learn from sharing experiences too. You can ask a dog trainer or shelter in your area for more information. There are groups all around the United States.
Canine freestyle is sometimes called doggy dancing, but the sport is sophisticated, refined, and stylish. It is not just a bunch of owners hanging out with their dogs doing the boogie woogie. The handler and dog perform obedience commands to music. No breed restrictions apply, and dogs must be six months old to compete.
As with other dog sports, dogs must be in shape and in trim and be masters at obedience. Owners must be dedicated and be willing to devote sufficient training time to the sport. If you are interested in canine freestyle, start by enrolling your dog in a basic obedience class. Then look for a dog trainer with an interest in canine freestyle who offers either a class or group/individual lessons. You can also purchase DVDs about canine freestyle to train at home.
Seeing owners perform with their dogs is beautiful, almost like attending a ballet. In fluid motion, dogs follow their owners across the floor, performing acrobatic feats like turning and spinning. The sport is really starting to attract a following, albeit slowly. it probably won’t be long before it has major sponsors, with competitions appearing regularly on television.
Obedience is called a sport, but participants are so well trained that they might as well be part of a military drill team. During competition they are drilled on commands such as sit, stay, and heel as well as in scent discrimination and retrieving. To earn points, they must perform with precision. Owners are not allowed to interact with their dogs. It is as if the dog reads the owner’s mind and knows exactly what to do. And they do it very well.
Besides individual judging, each class of obedience competes against each other. With the handler absent, dogs cannot get up and walk away, nor can they interact with each other. points are deducted if they do.
This sport can be exhausting. To succeed, obedience training must start with the puppy. Both the dog and his owner spend considerable time in training classes. Owners usually join a local obedience club, although some people train on their own. Expenses include training, equipment rental, travel to shows, and entry fees.
Obedience trials and competitions sponsored by the AKC permit only purebreds, while the Mixed Breed Dog Club of America (MBDA) welcomes any dog.
Below you can watch an outstanding performance between a dog and his owner at a flying disc contest.