Getting your dog involved in dog sports requires preparation and knowledge. What you need to do beforehand is get familiar with the type of breed you have, his physical capabilities, and his interests.
Once you have figured out the three factors stated above, you’ll have an easier time deciding on the best sport to choose for your dog. The sport should be something that you also enjoy, since both you and your dog are going to be in this together. If you have the time, go to different sporting or activity events and just watch the other dogs and owners perform. This is a good way to get a feel for what each sport entails.
If you are lucky then there will be dog sporting events in your area. If the sport of your choice is three hours away from where you live, you may be better off participating in one that is just two blocks down the street. You can always look for other sports or activities later. Many dog owners engage their dogs in more than one activity.
Below is a list of two of the popular sports for dogs and their owners:
Agility: A very popular dog sport that gained recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). In this activity, the handler or owner has a limited amount of time to direct his dog through an obstacle course that consists of ramps, tunnels, climbs, jumps, and other challenges.
Agility is a fun sport where dogs and owners go through the challenge together as a team. The dog’s performance is determined by his speed and accuracy as he performs through the course. Obedience training and the ability to follow instructions is a must, since this activity requires the dog to be off the leash and only relies on the owner’s body signals and verbal commands to guide him through the course.
Obedience Trials: In this sport, the dog must demonstrate his role as a civilized human companion by accurately performing a predefined set of actions as directed by his owner or handler.
Obedience trials provide a great opportunity for the dog and his owner to work as a team. Dogs and owners are evaluated on precision, accuracy, the owner’s movement, and the dog’s willingness to cooperate and follow directions.
The American Kennel Club obedience competitions have three levels. Beginner’s level is referred to as Novice, intermediate level is referred to as Open, and advanced level is called Utility. The dog needs to complete the requirements for each level before advancing to the next. Examples of exercises are: Recall (Come), Drop on Recall, Heel, and Sit.