Nowadays the list of inquisitive canine specific sports and activities is getting longer and longer. As both a dog trainer and dog mom I think that’s fabulous! It’s wonderful to have so many options that both dogs and humans can choose from. Seems there’s something that fits preferences, lifestyle and fitness level – for everyone. Keep in mind though that dogs usually have their preferences as to which sport they’d choose. Are they a sniffer? A fetcher? A swimmer? A catcher? Puller or pusher? The following list of a few of the more popular sports for inquisitive canines – maybe you’ll find one or two of interest to you and your own dog:
- K9 Nose-work – for inquisitive canines who keep their nose to the grindstone, are scent driven and enjoy the “hunt.” I think it’s safe to say, this is Poncho’s number one sport!
- Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs their dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Consists of jumps, tunnels, climbing frames, walking/balance beams and targeting. Can be adapted for dogs of all skill levels, ages and sizes.
- (Musical) Canine Freestyle is a contemporary dog sport that is a combination of obedience, tricks and dancing! It allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners while building the bond in a fun artistic way. (This would be my number one activity because I enjoy dancing and I know Poncho would be a willing partner!)
- Flyball is a sport where teams of four dogs race against each other from a start/finish line over hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught after the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball. Good for dogs who are scent and prey driven.
- Rally Obedience (Rally-O) Dog and handler teams navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform such as Sit-Down-Sit, Straight Figure 8, Send Over Jump, Recall Over Jump.
- Treibball is a dog sport that is similar to sheep herding, but the dog must herd and drive large exercise balls into a soccer goal. Great for inquisitive canines who enjoy herding, playing games, and spending time learning with their pet partner.
- K-9 weight pull is a competitive sport available to any breed of inquisitive canine who enjoys pulling! Similar to sledding, dogs pull carts, sleds and/or wagons.
- Dock jumping/dock diving is a sport for inquisitive canines in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water. Great for water loving pooches!
Having so many choices it should be easy to find something that sounds appealing. Whether you choose to continue to practice the basics, or engage in an alternate activity, getting involved with your dog can help provide physical and mental enrichment (for you both), as well as strengthen your bond. Plus it’s just fun! Happy learning!