I wanted to talk about sports you can participate in with your dog. I’ll do my best to explain those I’m familiar with, and post links to all of them in case you are interested in finding out more. I’m a big fan of doing things with this breed that gets them into the public eye in a favorable light. Obviously, all of these sports require a healthy dog that has some standard obedience. Please talk to your vet before beginning any training program for your dog.
- Agility – This is a confidence-building sport for your dog. In it, your dog learns to go over, under, through, around and between obstacles. It is easy to make cheap obstacles out of PVC pipe to practice/play in your own backyard if you can’t afford to take actual classes. Lots of fun!
- Flyball – Flyball is a fantastically fast-paced sport. It is essentially a relay race with two teams of four dogs each. Each dog has to race over four hurdles, grab a ball from the special box, and race back over the four hurdles. It is chaotic and not good for reactive dogs, but if you have a die-hard ball-loving dog this is something to check out.
- Weight pull – Have a dog that pulls like a Mack truck on leash? Contemplate training him/her in weight pull. Dogs wear a custom-made harness (Inara’s is from The Working Canine) and pull weights on variable surfaces, pulling a sled or wheeled cart. Pit bulls are amazingly good at this, often pulling thousands of pounds.
- Dock Dogs – There are a couple sub-sets of this sport, both involving your dog leaping into a pool of water. In one, the dog jumps out as far as possible, chasing after a toy and aiming to get distance. In the other, the dog jumps high, trying to grab a bumper suspended above him/her, landing in the water. I’d love to try this but Inara can’t swim. It looks like a blast!
- Disc Dogs – Can you throw a flying disc like a pro? Then check out disc dog competitions. It’s amazing watching some of the dogs do flips while catching, leaping over their handlers, etc. I highly recommend you check out Wallace the Pit Bull’s web page – he’s a national champion and there are several videos on his website so you can see the sport.
- Search and Rescue – Not just for bloodhounds, you can teach your dog to follow a scent and help find lost people. Highly rewarding, but a great deal of training required.
These are just a few of the activities available to do with your fuzzy friends. If I missed any that you love (and I’m sure I did!) feel free to post them in the comments section!