January 2012 – Training Talk: Dog Sports and Fun Activities You Can Do With Your Dog
December 27, 2011
Most of us think that dog training means teaching your dog sit, down, and stay. We all want our dogs to walk nicely without pulling on a leash and to stop eating things off the kitchen table. However, there is so much more to training with lots of choices for you and your dog that fit your lifestyle.
Let’s start with the popular sport of Agility.
This is a course of obstacles that you teach your dog to run through, over, and around. It can be done in your back yard or at a local training facility, and you can compete in agility or participate just for fun. Most local training facilities do require your dog to know the basic commands before starting the agility classes, which is where our basic classes help out.
Here’s a short YouTube video about agility, check out the variety of dog breeds that participate.
Next we have Tracking; this is where your dog picks up a scent put on the ground and follows it till the end to find the article. The interesting thing about tracking is that it is the dog doing all the work, and it is amazing to see the talented noses that our pets have. Tracking is both a Shutzhund (the German protection sport) and AKC sport. In our neck of the woods there are lots of fields and places where you can teach your dog to track.
Rally is our next dog sport for the enthusiastic dog owner.
Rally is an obedience event which uses a course set up with signs giving instructions for activities. It incorporates obedience such as heeling, pivots, fronts, and stays, but you are able to communicate with your dog and, in some venues, even treat them in-between activities. Rally is offered through various clubs, and the classes are fun to take. If you feel up to it there are plenty of opportunities to compete in the area.
For our active herding breeds, the “sport” of herding is also becoming quite popular.
There are a few trainers in this area who give private herding lessons. It is quite fun to participate in herding, but you do need to get used to being around sheep, since you are on the course with your dog, and the sheep tend to congregate to the person. It can get quite cozy in the beginning while you are learning how to train your dog.
Another short YouTube click demonstrating sheep herding.
There are new events becoming popular as well – one is called Nose Work.
This is similar to tracking, but you don’t need a field to practice in. Nose Work incorporates the dog finding different scents in various situations. Classes are starting to appear more and more, and once again, it is amazing to see what natural talents our pups possess.
Musical Freestyle is where you put basic obedience steps to music and create a dance for you and your dog to perform. It is a fun way of showing off all of your skills, and many dogs also find it quite entertaining.
A very popular YouTube video showing a golden retriever, Rookie, thoroughly enjoying dancing with his trainer
Dock Diving is yet another popular event getting more and more attention in our area as well.
This involves tossing your dog’s water bumper out into the pond and your dog sprinting off the end of the dock. The winner is the dog who jumps the farthest. You will see all breeds in this competition; they just need to enjoy swimming and retrieving.
Fun dog events are quite popular around the nation; you can find Frisbee contests, tricks contests, and lots of dog walks and events which the average dog owner can participate in. Go out, get some fresh air and have some fun with your pups.
At Care First Animal Hospital we teach all ages of dogs, from puppies on up!
All of our trainers are involved in various venues with our own dogs, and you can ask any of us for information about these events and where to participate in them.
Until next time,