Watching endless episodes of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is about to pay off. Canine Freestyle is a dog and handler dance competition. Any and all moves are legal, as long as no one is in danger of injury. To learn more go to the Canine Freestyle Federation. Then get to stepping!
One of the most popular of canine sports, Agility is for all sizes and breeds of dog. Running up and down planks of wood, zig-zagging around poles, standing still on teetering tables—these dogs happily oblige their handlers, for the love of the game. To find the nearest Agility trials, peruse the United States Dog Agility Association.
Considered one of the most difficult canine sports, Mondioring was once dominated by the Belgian Malinois breed. While there certainly is no breed restriction to the competition, it does take a certain personality to get through the training process. A combination of obedience, agility and protection, these dogs and handlers are committed to the training process. It is not for the faint of heart. Check out the United States Mondioring Association to determine if Mondioring is a good fit.
Who would have thought a dog race involving tennis balls and hurdles would become such a popular canine sport. All sizes and breeds have excelled at this relay race since its introduction in the 1970’s. Find a competition nearby, or get involved; look at the North American Flyball Association page.
Devoted to dogs who love to swim, Dock Diving is jumping for height or distance into a body of water. There are no breed restrictions, only a love of flying and getting wet. Explore the numerous variations of Dock Diving available throughout the United States and around the world by going to the Dock Dogs page.
These “competitions” were developed for those breeds that were designed to track and capture vermin, such as terriers and Dachshunds. The dogs are taught to hunt over land and through tunnels to catch their prey. Have a terrier or Dachshund with an obsessive sniffer? Check out the AKC Earthdog Page to learn more
Some dogs are compelled to chase and capture flying objects such as Frisbees. Why not train competitively for it? The Skyhoundz site has a ton of useful information regarding various competitions, communities, resources and training.
Dogs have a keen sense of smell. Certain breeds, mostly in the hound group, have an overdeveloped olfactory system. Tracking trials, open to all breeds, take a dog’s gift of smell and put it to use by having dogs track certain odors. If the dog has a nose, it’s eligible to compete. To learn more go to the AKC Tracking Event Page.
Certain breeds have a natural instinct to corral things like wayward children, stuffed animals, or even the family cat. The dog who nips at his owner’s heels to get a move on is an ideal candidate for herding trials. As a champion herder, a dog can corral what it was meant to round up, livestock. To find out if this is a good fit go to Herding on the Web. This page offers information on herding events, organizations and programs around the world.
Beginning as an alternative to Earthdog Trials for all other breeds, Barn Hunt LLC is now a sanctioned sporting event. Allowing dogs with high prey drive to seek out and remove vermin from buildings and tunnels (18” wide and 22” high) non-terrier breeds may join in the fun, with varying levels of competition to choose from. Go to the Barn Hunt Association page to learn more.