Do you want to try something new with your dog? Try joining sports events! Having a sport gives them more ways to stay physically and mentally healthy. Aside from training, they have another way to exert their pent-up energy. When you give your dog a chance to learn a sport and compete, you can form a deeper bond with them, they can learn better behaviours and form new friendships with other canines, and it means a healthier lifestyle for both of you!
Dogs love sports, and some can be more competitive than others. Nowadays, there are a lot of dog activities available that are challenging enough to keep your dog intellectually and physically active.
Here are some of the types of sports your dog can participate in, and the things you should do before you buckle your and your dog’s seat belt and drive to the dog sports events near you.
The Different Types of Dog Sports
In dock diving, dogs compete by jumping from a dock into a body of water for a certain length of time or height. Dock diving is basically you throwing a toy into the water and your dog jumping off a dock to get it while trying to land as far as possible. Some also measure how high a dog can jump, or how fast they can retrieve the toy.
All dogs are welcome to join in the fun, regardless of breed, size, or form. If your dog enjoys fetching and getting into water, this is their perfect sport.
Flyball is a relay race in which two teams of four dogs compete. Each dog on the team must clear four hurdles, collect a ball by pushing a flyball box pedal at the opposite end of the lane, and then leap back over the hurdles before the next dog on the team takes their turn.
Like dock diving, all dogs can join Flyball regardless of breed, size or shape.
Agility is one of the most challenging–and therefore most gratifying–dog sports. Getting medals here is a big deal you can be proud of!
Agility tests your dog's agility by having them run through a challenging obstacle course. The only ways you can help your dog is guiding them through vocal and hand gestures.
Agility is a fast-paced, thrilling dog sport that can help both you and your dogs establish a very strong bond as you train for it, not just during the event itself. Dogs are required to complete as many obstacles as they can including jumps, tables, see-saws, dog walks, tunnels, and weaving poles.
You and your dog can choose to attend training for fun, but if you want to push through and join competitions, it's advised that your dog can join at the age of 18 months.
Also known as Frisbee dog, a Frisbee or disc is thrown into the air during the and the dog catches it. You and your dog may compete in flying disc events like distance catching and choreographed freestyle catching.
It is a sport open to all family members, young and old, and is perfect for anybody who wants to spend time with their pet dog. Dogs of various sizes, purebred or mixed breeds, are welcome to participate in the sport.
Rally obedience, sometimes referred to as Rally or Rally-O, is an obedience-based dog sport. It’s a quick-paced and exciting activity for both dogs and their owners, and a mix of obedience and agility training.
When your dog participates in Rally-O, they must demonstrate perfect obedience to commands and prompts. Rally Obedience training does not promote speed, in contrast to agility training.
Rally is an excellent way to get into dog sports since it has a much more laid-back atmosphere than other dog sports. Again, all dogs are welcome to participate.
The goal of tracking is to demonstrate a dog's ability to locate people lost in either paddocks or bushy areas.
In tracking, your dog must follow a ground smell trail and discover any clothing that has been left behind. They have to wear a tracking harness and stand at the end of a lead that is at least 10 metres long but may be shortened if the terrain requires it.
All dog breeds may learn to track by using their innate scenting senses, which they find gratifying and fun to accomplish.Tracking allows dogs to use their highly developed ability to detect odours, which satisfies their basic urge for hunting.
All dogs have an innate instinct of chasing. You can train your dog to help them improve this instinct. Lured coursing is a fast-paced activity that is a fine substitute for hare coursing.
In a large field, the dogs hunt fake bait rather than a real thing. In a competition, the dog who completed the course in the shortest amount of time wins. You may add some physical obstacles to the exercise to make it a little more difficult for your dog.
Sled dog racing first began in countries in the northern hemisphere with snowy winters. Their primary mode of travel for any distance was sled dogs. This form of transportation eventually developed into a sport currently played on most continents.
Sled sports include more than just traditional mushing, in which dogs pull a sled, usually across snow, to its destination. Under the ANKC, weight pull, backpacking/hiking, and sled racing are all considered to be types of sled sports in Australia.
In Australia, the racing season begins in May and lasts until August or September, depending on the weather and humidity. The events are often held on private estates as well as in State Forest trail systems. These are areas with moderate temperatures where dogs, automobiles, and camping are permitted.
How to Get Involved
Now that you’re familiar with the most common sports your dog can begin with, here are some tips on how to get involved and join your first sports event!
First, know the important terms
The first step you can do is to know important terms are used in dog sports that often confuse newcomers. Some of these terms are:
- Trial means “competition”
- Dog shows are officially called "conformation".
- Competitors are called “exhibitors”.
Research other important terms to get more familiar with the industry.
Attend an event and observe
If you've never attended a dog sporting event, start going and become familiar with what goes on in the ring and to experience the thrill, fun, and camaraderie.
You may want to bring your dog with you so they can have a background check too.
Reach out to your local clubs
If you’ve finally decided to let your dog participate in sporting events, reach out to your local clubs. You can start by checking your Dogs Australia affiliated state body member’s website and check the entry deadlines from their shows and trials calendars.
If this is your time to join a conformation, seek advice from Dogs Australia affiliated club or the person whom you bought your dog.
Assess your dog and choose the right sport
Before you participate, it’s important to know first what sports suit your dog. Assess their appearance, energy level, overall health, and personality. If you personally assessed your dog before adopting them, then this will be easy.
And while almost all sports events encourage all types of dogs to participate, you may want to assess in which one your dog will excel and enjoy the most!
Register with the correct details
After picking the event you want your dog to participate, decide whether you'll register online or by mail. Dog Australia listed what information you should include, as shown on the current Pedigree Certificate of your dog:
- Your dog’s Registered Name including all titles and suffixes (CH., IMP, IID etc)
- Your Dog’s Registration Number
- The name of the Registered Owner/s
- The Owner Number shown on the Certificate to the right of the Owner’s name
- Details of Date of Birth, Sex, Breeder, Sire and Dam
Other information needed are the class being entered, the exhibitor contact details and a signed or acknowledged Exhibitor Declaration.
Prepare things you’ll need for the show
Dog Australia also listed the following things you’ll need in the show:
- Your exhibit number cards
- An appropriate lead no longer than 1.8 metres for each dog
- Grooming items to make your dog presentable to the judges
- Trolley or crate to secure your dog when you’re away
- Food and water for you and your dog
- Chairs you can sit on
- Appropriate shade for both you and your dogs to protect you from the elements
- Your Dogs Australia affiliated state body Membership Card (digital or hard copy) for each person who will handle your dog/s at any stage of the show. (The only exception is for a Child 7 years to Under 12 years under specified conditions.)
Show up with your dog!
And when the day of the event comes, get your gears ready, and don’t forget to bring your dog! Come prepared and on time. And while the competition might get heated and you want your dog to win so badly, don’t put pressure on them and on yourself.
Always remember, it’s not always about the wins. You and your dog joined to have fun, gain experience, and spend time with other dogs and dog lovers.