There are many activities and sports that you can do with your dog, from agility to dock diving and even dry land mushing with a cart. You may have even seen dogs competing in some these sports on TV or doing demos at a festival.
There are several important benefits that both you and your canine friend can get from participating in sports together.
Like most sports, dog sports are wonderful exercise for your dog and, in some cases, the owner as well. Sports like bike joring, agility, and cani-cross require both the dog and human to be active. Some sports, like mushing and agility, will take more physical energy than a sport like nosework, which requires a dog to sniff out a certain smell and alert the handler when the item is found. Canine sports are a wonderful way for you and your furry best friend to get active and exercise together, no matter your energy level!
2. Building a Stronger Bond
Dog sports don’t just require you to be physically active, but they also require you and your dog to work as a team. This team work creates a special bond between you and your dog beyond just the normal dog and owner relationship. You have to learn to be in constant communication with each other while participating in sports, which helps to create this bond that lasts beyond just the sport. You will have a deeper understanding of each other and, as a result, a stronger bond.
Along side of creating a stronger bond between you and your dog, dog sports help to teach your dog more reliable obedience. Many sports require your dog to know commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” very well and use these commands on a regular basis. Because they will be using them so often, your dog will become more reliable at knowing and following these commands and any other that they use in the dog sport.
Many people choose to participate in dog sports casually for the benefits mentioned above, however some people choose to participate competitively. If you and your dog enjoy the sport and do well at it, competing can be a lot of fun. Your dog can also earn titles and awards from dog sports through several different registries. It may take a lot of work to get to the point where you are winning titles, but it can be very rewarding!
The most important benefit to dog sports is that both you and your dog enjoy it! If you try to participate in a sport and either you or your dog do not enjoy it, it might not be the right sport for you. Do not be disappointed if your dog does not enjoy the first sport that you try together. There are options for dogs of every size and energy level. If one sport does not work out, that does not mean that you and your dog won’t enjoy something else!
Many dog training facilities also offer classes in some kind of dog sport in addition to obedience training. Check with trainers near you to see if they offer introductory classes in any sports for you and your dog to try out! As I mentioned above, many sports require your dog to already know basic obedience, however some introductory classes will teach basic obedience along side introducing the foundations of the dog sport to you and your dog. If you are looking for a fun activity to do with your dog or just want a way to get off the couch, try a sport with your dog!