Dog Sports for an Active Life

dog-sportsWhen it comes to dog sports, the choices are almost endless. These sports can help to keep dogs active both mentally and physically. Every dog needs exercise and many will thrive with the extra stimulation they’ll receive through organized activities. Dogs that are very active will be the best candidates for high-performance options such as agility training. Prior to enrolling your dog in a sport, make sure you consult your veterinarian in order to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to participate, considering how challenging these activities can be.

Getting your Dog on the Field

Agility training is a very competitive sport that takes place within an obstacle course. A dog will be trained to run through tunnels, make jumps and navigate a variety of walkways, and all in a specific order. Every step of the way a dog will be guided by their owner.

This type of sport is a great form of mental stimulation and exercise, which is what makes it ideal for high energy breeds. However, almost any dog can participate in this type of training. The difficulty and intensity of the course can be changed in order to accommodate a pet with special needs.

Does your dog love catching the Frisbee? If so, then disc competitions may be right up their alley. Disc competitions allow your pet to participate in freestyle routines, or distance and accuracy competitions. Both the owner and pet will need to work closely together as a team to perfect their game.

Dock diving is a type of dog competition where a dog will jump from a dock into the water in order to reach a certain height or distance. This sport is much like the human version of the long jump, but it takes place in water.

Ultimate air, also known as distance jumping involves a handler throwing toys off a dock to encourage a dog to jump at a certain height. The distance is measured based on where the base of the dog’s tail meets the water.

High-Performance Sports for Dogs

Flyball is a type of relay race that is made up of a total of four dogs. One dog will run down the course and jump hurdles, heading towards a flyball box. The dog must step on a panel in order to trigger the box to release a ball. The dog must then fetch the ball and bring it back to their handler. Once the dog has finished a course, the next dog on their team will head out and repeat the process. The first team to finish the course will win. This game is a great way for a dog to enjoy socializing and teamwork with other animals.

sports for dogsIf your dog has that herding instinct, then herding trials just might be their sport. Most dogs that are considered herding dogs, such as border collies, will have a natural instinct for herding. However, even some breeds without the herding instinct will display this behavior. Because many dogs live in suburban or urban areas instead of farms and do not have the opportunity to enjoy herding these competitions were created to satisfy a dog’s herding instinct while stimulating them mentally and physically.  Many dogs that possess this instinct love these competitions. Trials and training can be the perfect way to allow them to act on their instinct and have an amazing time. A trial will involve a dog and a herd of sheep, judges, and handlers. The handler will give the command and watch as their dog works their magic.

A fast-paced chase sport called lure coursing was created as an alternative to chasing live animals. A dog will chase an artificial lure across a field and race for the best time. This type of activity allows a dog to act on their chasing instinct in a humane, safe way.

For most dog’s, their sense of smell is their most dominant sense. Many dogs enjoy following their noses. Tracking competitions will require a dog to follow a scent trail. This type of activity will assess a dog’s willingness and natural ability to follow a trail that’s been left by humans. Handlers and their dogs usually enjoy this type of event and it also helps to build a dog’s confidence and allows them to burn off any built-up energy.

Obedience trials are a great way to give your pet a refresher course on basic obedience commands. These competitions can be a fun way to teach your dog new tricks and a wider range of commands in order to earn points and even a trophy.

Training Your Dog to be a Champion

If you’ve decided you want your dog to be more active and lead a healthier lifestyle, making certain changes to their diet and routine can go a long way in terms of noticeable differences in their behavior and overall health.

If you’re working with your dog in competitions and want to get them show ready, start by making the switch to the raw food diet for dogs. This diet consists mainly of raw meat bones, supplements, and veggies, and it’s a sure way to add some muscle mass and improve your pet’s energy level, coat and health.

Another option is advanced training courses. These training programs can ultimately give you an advantage in competitions such as dock diving or agility courses and will provide you with more control over your pet at home and in loud distracting environments.

Working out with your dog is another way to whip them into shape. Your workout routine should be based on the dog’s breed, their age, overall health and your fitness goals for both you and your pet.  Jogging, running or plain old walking are all great ways to exercise your pet.

Running short distances can also help your pet to build muscle and endurance, just be sure you choose a good running harness, such as the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart dog harness, which won’t cause sores or rashes due to friction.

Dog Sports will not only improve your dog’s health, but it will also provide them with much-needed mental stimulation, which in turn can help to minimize certain behavioral problems such as digging, chewing, escaping and even separation anxiety.