As we were curled up on our couch watching the 2022 Commonwealth games, I looked down at my fur baby happily lounging beside us. There’s honestly nothing better than snuggling on the couch in winter.
Then I looked at all the amazing athletes on the telly and noted how they’re proudly representing our country, performing at their best level.
It made me think about the weather slowly warming up (only one more month of winter!) and how great it is to be outside exercising with my dog and those of my clients. My mind wandered off to all the fun dog sports we can get into with our pets.
So, this month, let’s explore some of the best dog sports you and your fur baby can get out and enjoy.
Dog sports add a whole new dimension to the activity time you spend with your dog
As a dog owner, you’d know they need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Daily walking is highly recommended for most breeds and ages of dogs.
But there’s so much more you can do with your dog besides popping out for a walk.
Dog sports are one of the best ways to form a deeper bond with your fur baby. AND you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun playing sports with your dog.
Most dog sports are open to any breed (even old dogs can learn new tricks!), and you can choose to compete competitively or train for fun. If you’re not into public dog sports (or don’t have as much time to commit to it), you can always set up some dog sports in your backyard.
If you do decide to compete competitively, there are some gorgeous ribbons and trophies you can win – just like the athletes at the Commonwealth games!
Can all breeds of dogs compete in dog sports?
They sure can! However, some dog breeds will naturally be better at performing than others. For example, Retrievers and Hounds will be outstanding at hunting type sports. Border Collies and the like will be naturally brilliant at herding, obedience and agility.
But ultimately, it comes down to you, the time you put into training your dog, and how they respond to your training. They will likely be amazing at dog sports if they have a fun-loving nature and enjoy learning new things to please you.
So, give it a go!
The top 10 dog sports you can enjoy with your fur baby (in Australia)
1. Agility Training
An excellent sport for fitness where you train your dog to go through a series of obstacles off-leash. You run alongside your dog, giving them instructions to go through several obstacles, including A-frames, dog walks, seesaws, tunnels, hurdles, tire hoops, long jumps and weave poles.
2. Competition Obedience
This is a brilliant way to train your dog on all basic instructions such as sit, heel, down, come and stay. When you enter competition obedience, you and your dog are judged on how well you’ve trained your dog (and how well your dog responds to your instructions).
3. Dances with dogs
This fun sport combines obedience, tricks and dance with music. A dance routine involves your dog performing twists and turns, weaving through your legs, walking backwards, jumping and moving in sync with you. It’s challenging yet rewarding as a dancing dog is always an incredible sight to see.
4. Frisbee (or Disc dog)
Dogs love frisbee, so why not get into it professionally and win some awards? All it takes is you throwing a frisbee with your dog gracefully retrieving it. You can compete in some different areas, like distance catching and choreographed freestyle catching. Take your game of frisbee to the next level!
If your dog seems to have endless energy, endurance may be your perfect dog sport. You and your dog will need to be able to run 20km (broken up into 3 parts) over 2 hours and 35 minutes. A judge will assess your dog’s fitness and condition at each section, and a vet checks your dog during your breaks. If you both successfully finish the test, you receive an award.
Flyball is the fast and furious of dog sports! It’s a relay race between 2 teams of 4 dogs each (so a great one to get your mates into too). The dogs jump over 4 hurdles, retrieve a tennis ball by triggering a ‘flyball’ box pedal and jump back over the hurdles before the next dog starts. The fastest team who completes the race correctly wins.
As the name suggests, this dog sport involves dogs herding animals! Dogs herd around fields, through fences and gates and into enclosures. It allows dogs to perform farm work, so it’s perfect for border collies and the like. Trials are conducted over different courses to assess their skills.
8. Nose Work
Perfect for virtually any dog, nose work involves a dog locating a hidden target scent or odour. It’s often used to train companion dogs, border patrol or service dogs as a fun way to learn how to pick up scents and find hidden objects. Dogs with physical limitations, lack of obedience or fear issues are perfectly suited for nose work.
Sled dog racing has been around for many years and is played on most continents. As we don’t often have snow in Australia, dog sledding events are usually held in bushland on dirt tracks with one or two dog teams pulling scooters. Huskies are the most common dog to take part in sledding.
Like nose work, tracking demonstrates your dog’s natural ability to recognise and follow a scent. You deliberately lose a personal item along a track, and it’s up to your dog to use its nose to locate your item. Your dog will be on a 10m lead depending on the track's terrain and judged on their ability (and speed) to locate your lost item.
Need a hand with your daily dog walking or a dog sitter?
Daily walking is a great way to be active with your dog and enjoy time together. If you can’t make it every day, let's chat about scheduling time for me to take your dog on a walkie! And if you’ve any questions about what dog sports would suit you and your dog, let me know.
Also, if you’re planning a getaway and need a dog sitter or someone to pop in during the day to keep your dog company, here’s a reminder of my services.
I will be away from 23rd October to 13 November for a break.
And finally, if you’ve got any stories about your dog sports, we’d love to hear them. Please drop them in the comments below.
Until next time, pat your fur babies for me.