Have you ever wondered what activities there are for dogs and owners to do together? Maybe you’ve got a high-energy pooch that needs a lot of mental stimulation or simply just want to enjoy more than a walk in the park together. Whatever the reason, looking into dog sports is an excellent way to spend time with your pooch. You don’t need to have the Energizer Bunny for a pet, even older, less active dogs can enjoy some special training. The options are essentially unlimited, all you need to find is a good training class and head on over with your dog. Before you know it, you might even find yourself turning into one of those “crazy dog people!”
#1 – Agility
Agility is one of the most popular dog sports in existence and for good reason – it’s very fun for both handlers and dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. You can start training agility at any age and the only requirement is that your dog enjoys the game. Any dog that loves exercise and training is a prime candidate for agility. You don’t have to be the fastest runner or have the most trained dog – these will come as you both grow together. Agility will allow your dog to burn mental and physical energy as they learn new things and even overcome some fears they might have about the equipment. Remember, it’s a sport, so even if you don’t have the top agility dog out there, you can still have the most fun!
#2 – Obedience/Rally
All dogs benefit from a little basic obedience training. This just means house manners like not jumping on guests, eating food of the table or pulling on the leash. While sit and down are useful, they aren’t always taught. Competitive obedience, though, is whole different ball game. You and your dog will learn all sorts of new and complex behaviors. Rally is another form of obedience competition that’s done in a timed race with stations using signs. Whatever you choose (if you don’t choose both, like most do), you’ll find yourself having all sorts of fun teaching your dog the tricks and exercises needed to compete in shows. Besides, all of this training for treats and toys is going to make obedience your dog’s new favorite thing!
#3 – Dock Diving
For dogs that love water, dock diving is certainly one of the best sports to try. Your dog will learn to jump off of a dock into a pool for a toy – and what could be more fun than that to a water-loving pooch? Dock diving is a very fun way to let your dog just be a dog in a controlled setting where you don’t have to worry about upsetting anyone or breaking any leash laws. Plus, you know you won’t be disturbing any wildlife or letting your dog swim in dirty or potentially hazardous water.
#4 – Nose Work
All dogs have an incredible sense of smell. You’ve probably noticed how much your pup uses their nose every time you go out on a walk or bring something new inside your home. Nose work turns your dog’s scenting ability into a really fun game. Based off of detection dogs, Nose Work teaches your pup to discriminate and locate different scents throughout a room or course. For example, you might test your dog by searching a bunch of vehicles in a parking lot for the designated odor. Whatever the test is, the training is the most fun. Your dog gets to learn how to use their nose, you get to watch them perform a natural task in person, and they get treats and toys as a reward!
#5 – Flyball
Flyball takes your dog’s love of running, jumping and playing fetch and turns it into a fun team sport. Basically, your dog runs down a lane, jumps over hurdles in the lane, and reaches the end of it where a box spits out a tennis ball. When your dog gets the ball, they run and jump their way right back to you so the next dog on the team can go. Think of it like a relay race, in a way. It’s extremely fun for dogs to do, allows them to run and play without too much restriction and gives them much-needed mental and physical stimulation. Flyball is certainly something dogs of any age can enjoy.