Bond over sports

Judging by which group(s) your dog falls in, you can distinguish what kind of sport he would most enjoy and potentially be good at. However, there are many exceptions to the "norm," so definitely try whichever sport sounds the most fun for you. Sports help to build the bond between human and canine, so it's a good idea to get involved.

Some of the sports I didn't list are modeled to simply reenact the former duty of a specific breed. For example, Earthdog trials teach terriers to find rodents underground, a practice they were commonly bred for years ago. A complete list of sports can be found here.

Check out a few examples of doggie sports detailed below.


Agility

Agility requires an athletic, motivated dog with great listening skills. Trainers guide their dogs through a course where the dog must perform a task. Common obstacles include pole weaving and jumping hurdles. The event is timed and judged for accuracy. Handlers and their dogs win if they complete the course in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of mistakes. Penalties can be given for sloppy mistakes. The sport is complicated to teach to a dog, but once mastered, it can be a lot of fun. It teaches the dog to watch the handler for directions and to pay attention to the handler for signals. For more information and an agility facility near you, visit www.usdaa.com


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Obedience

Obedience showcases the usefulness of a dog to his owner, in which dog is asked to perform several tasks while abiding by the rules, regulations and judges' expectations of the sport. In order to excel at this sport, the handler and canine must master accuracy and precision. Though this sounds easy, it is nearly impossible to do without a dog that is willing to perform for its master. There are different levels and titles given to dogs of different skill masteries. Obedience reinforces the bond between human and dog and allows each party to get a better understanding of each other. For more information and a teaching facility near you, visit here.


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Flyball

Flyball is a new, fast-paced and extremely fun sport. Although dogs can participate individually, it is most common for owners to form a team of dogs and have a relay race against other teams. The sport is fueled by an apparatus that tosses a tennis ball in the air when the dogs reach the finish line. The dogs race side-by-side over a 51 foot long course. The dogs are expected to run to the apparatus, jumping over several hurdles (size depending on the size of the smallest dog), trigger the box, retrieve the ball and run back for the next dog to race. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without an error wins. The sport is fun to play and fun to watch! For more information and to find teams in your area, visit the North American Flyball Association.


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Disc Dog

Also called Frisbee Dog, Disc Dog is a sport that accentuates the talents of all disc-fetching canines. Competitors may opt to perform a distance event or a choreographed freestyle event. The rules are as simple as that. The dog that can jump the highest, do the coolest stunts and turn in the tightest degree will win the hearts of the judges and of the crowd. Disc dogs' skill levels are determined by the level of difficulty, their showmanship and athleticism. This is the kind of sport that some breeds excel at more than others. Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are both champions at Disc Dog. For more information and a Disc Dog facility near you, visit here.


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Dock Jumping

Dock jumping is fairly self explanatory. Dogs jump off an artificial dock and into the water to measure the length or height of their jump. Any dog can participate if they are over 6 months old. Handlers usually use a toy or any other kind of "chase object" to coerce the dog into the water. The pool of water the dog is jumping in has a large ruler on its sides. The point of the dog's landing is measured not at the tip of his nose but at the base of his tail. The sport requires an athletic individual that can muster enough speed to jump far into the pool. Retrievers normally excel at this sport, but other breeds such as pointers and shepherds have also won on various occasions. For more information and a competition near you, go to American Sport Dog.


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