If you own an active dog that springs into action and bounces off the walls the moment you come in the door, you may be looking for productive ways to get rid of his pent-up energy. A walk around the block or a game of fetch may not cut it with some of these active fellows. Fortunately, many doggy sports have been crafted with these types of dogs in mind. You may already be familiar with some of these dog sports, but some of them are being re-discovered today and some of them are fairly new.
Earth Dog Trials
Musical Canine Freestyle
Does your dog go bonkers for catching Frisbees? If so, you should introduce him to the sport of disc dog. Discovered in the early 1970’s, this sport became popular when a 19-year old student performed with his disc-catching dog named Ashley Whippet entertaining the crowds at a baseball game. In this sport, dog and handler work together as a team. Points are awarded when the dog successfully catches the disc at varying distances. Alternatively, some events are choreographed with music where teams are judged based on canine athleticism, difficulty, showmanship and so forth.
If you own a herding breed, he’ll likely fall in love with the sport of treiball. This sport originated in Germany in 2003 as a substitute for herding for dogs that do not have access to cattle or sheep. The goal of this sport is gathering large exercise balls into a confined space within a set time. The handler is allowed to give directions under the form of whistles, hand signals or verbal instructions.
Resources: American Treibball Association
If your dog loves water, this doggy sport is for him. In this sport dogs compete in jumping from a dock into water. This sport first appeared in 1197 at Purina’s Incredible Dog Challenge event. Dogs in this sport compete over height or distance of the jump. Today, there are various organizations that organize dock jumping.
In many dogs the desire to run and pull is innate. If you own a husky, malamute or a Samoyed, he’ll most likely enjoy this winter sport. This sport is popular in places where there is snow on the ground in the winter. It consists of a cross-country skier using skis and poles connected by a rope to a dog that runs and pulls.
Resources: New England Skijoring
The sport of agility is among the most popular dog sports. It originated in the late 1970’s as a demo at a Cruft’s Dog Show event. Agility is set up like an obstacle course for horses with various jumps of different heights and styles, but unlike an obstacle course for horses, it also features tunnels, A-frames, dog walks, teeter-totters and weave poles. The handler directs the dog who is off leash towards the obstacle and points are awarded based on time and accuracy.
If you find obedience training boring, Rally obedience can awaken in you a passion for this sport. It’s basically obedience training with a twist since you and your will be navigating a course in heel position with several stations scattered around. Each station consists of signs which instruct the dog and handler team what to do. The team starts with points which are deducted if the team makes mistakes. After qualifying in three legs, the dog earns a title.
Owning a sight hound can bring challenges at times: these dogs just love to chase anything that moves! If you own a sight hound, your dog will be extra happy when you actually allow him to chase a mechanically-operated lure in the sport of lure coursing. The best part of all is that sight hounds rarely need any training as the chasing instinct is deeply ingrained into these dog’s genes.
Inspired by detection dog training, this is a fun sport for dogs that enjoy sniffing. Surprisingly, this sport can be quite tiring. At first, toys or food rewards are hidden in one of several boxes and the dog is allowed to search. Afterward, once the dog gains confidence, target odors are introduced and finding them becomes more challenging.
Many of the smaller terrier breeds and dachshund dogs have been selectively bred to hunt vermin that lived in underground dens. If you own these dogs you may be aware of their strong prey drive and desire to chase little critters. In an earth dog trial, dogs are allowed to navigate man-made tunnels to reach the quarry. This allows these dogs an outlet for excessive energy and instinctive drives.
Is your dog willing to do anything when it comes to chasing balls? If so, you should enroll your ball-obsessed dog in the sport of flyball. This game, which originated from the late 1960’s, is full of adrenaline and consists of two teams of dogs who race against each other over a line of hurdles up to a box that releases a ball which must be carried all the way back to the handlers. The first team to finish up with all 4 dogs through the finish line with no errors wins.
If you like to dance and think your dog has what it takes to be your dancing partner, the sport of Musical Canine Freestyle is for you. This sport is a mix of tricks, dance moves and obedience training. This sport was crafted in 1989 and nowadays continues to thrive with several organizations scheduling events.