Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Doggy Sports Galore!

(by Ana Grimh, CPDT-KA)

What is an excellent way to get doggy energy out? By learning a new doggy sport! There are many sports to choose from, so here is a brief list of some of our favorites:

1. Canine Freestyle – This sport is all about DANCE! Dancing with your dog is fun and flexible, and when taking a class, you also strengthen attention skills. Freestyle can be a great option for an older dog that cannot jump as much, or for a younger dog that is a “go, go, go” type! Song choice and musical style depends on you and your dog’s energy – and you can be very creative! Check out for more information on freestylin’.

2. Agility – Agility is a dog and handler negotiating an obstacle course. Obstacles may include jumps, weave poles, A-frame, teeters, tunnels, and more! It is a timed event, and dogs and handlers must complete the course as assigned. It showcases teamwork, concentration, and conditioning. If you are not interested in competition, there are options for a more casual class – Teacher’s Pet offers a “Backyard Agility” course! This class will give you ideas on building your own agility equipment (for a low cost!), as well as getting you and your dog moving and having fun! Check out for more.

3. Rally-Obedience – This sport is also known as ‘Rally-O’ or ‘Rally.’ Participants navigate a course, but they complete 10-20 exercises such as recall/send over jumps, sit-down-sit (puppy pushups), etc. The course is completed at a quick pace, and without the direction of a judge. Check out for more details on this growing doggy sport!

4. Flyball – Flyball is a team doggy sport. It is a relay race with 4 dogs on a team. The course has four hurdles and a box. Each dog jumps the hurdles, steps on a box that shoots a tennis ball, catches the ball, and jumps the hurdles to return to the finish line. The next dog leaves when one returns, and the team with fewest errors wins the heat. This is a very fast-paced, exhilarating sport, so if you have a quick, energetic dog, this might be a fabulous sport to try! Check out for history, details, etc.

This is a very short list of the options available to you and your dog in the sports world. All of these have competition and recreational tracks, too, so if you want to just have a good time, find a local training company that offers a class! Doggy sports are a marvelous outlet for our dogs, and it is fun for you, too! Sign up to enjoy and strengthen your bond with your dog!