There are an increasing number of sports or activities being invented and improved upon that are specifically designed for your dog and you. Some of these activities are made for particular breeds or rather the natural tendencies of some breeds. Most are available to any breeds pure or mixed and almost all require you, the handler to be involved. Just like a married couple doing things together these dog sports bring you and your dog closer.
Why Do Dog Sports?
If you are to bring a dog in your home you should do what you can to make them an active part of the family. There is nothing worse than having a family pet that is exiled to the fenced-in back yard while the rest of the family has fun. The experts say that boredom is one of the major causes of bad behaviors in dogs. Dogs absolutely, need daily exercise and mental stimulus and dog sports provide both of these among many other benefits.
Even if you just want a dog that will hang out with you, you will, at least, want a dog that listens to you. At the bare minimum you want to train you dog in basic obedience so they will be good around adults, children and other dogs. A ‘Canine Good Citizen’ title from the AKC may even have a positive effect on you home owner’s insurance cost.
Having many dogs in my life so far I can, with some expertise, state that I cannot learn how to train a dog from just a book or video. Dogs are highly complex individuals just like us. They each have their own personalities and like us have their own eccentricities as well. To learn to train it is very important to get the help of an expert. Your timing on rewards or corrections must be spot on or you may very well train a behavior that is not intended.
Benefits of Dog Sports
The benefits of dog sports or activities are many. You and your dog will begin to work together as a team. There is physical benefit, through exercise, for both you and your dog. I honestly cannot think of one overweight person that trains at the local club. Confidence for both of you in your chosen activity and life in general. Your dog will love you for it!
Wikipedia lists about 45 dog sports or activities that you and your hound can get involved with. Most do not need any particular type of equipment but some do, such as agility.
We will explore how to get involved with dog sports but most major cities have obedience clubs that are chock full of experts and high level enthusiasts that are well qualified to help. Although the classes may cost a little, for maintaining the club (space, equipment etc.) the trainers are volunteers. Dog people are some of the friendliest bunch I have ever met and are always willing to help someone new. Another good reason to join a club is they normally provide the equipment needed to try these sports so you do not have to shell out money for jumps, tunnels, etc.
Specific Dog Sports
Let’s take a look at some of these dog sports individually in more detail with some information on how you can get started. First a warning, be careful you will get hooked and when you do you will become a Crazy Dog Person like the rest of us.