An enthusiastic and fun-loving dog will keep you engaged all the time. They will not let you have a dull moment in your life. However, you need to reciprocate the same love and energy back to them so that they can remain healthy and active for the rest of their lives. So how can you do that?
Some breeds are more active than others and they require both a wholesome balanced safe diet and regular physical and mental exercise. The good news is that there are many sports for dogs that can provide them with mental stimulation and improve their health.
Dog sports can help you bring out their hidden talents or enhance their athletic abilities. So, if you are thinking of indulging your dog in dog sports, you need to look for a suitable sport that’s best for them.
Determining The Right Sport For Your Dog
Some sports are made specifically for certain dog breeds. Moreover, it is not a simple task to choose the right type of sport for your dog. For instance, you can’t force your English bulldog to participate in a lure coursing event.
The ancestors of dogs have spent years solving problems, socializing, searching, protecting, and hunting. Thus, the dog breeds have natural instincts. Some other characteristics such as barking at squirrels, unshakable loyalty, addiction to fetch, behavioral issues, and love for water are inherited from the parent lineage.
So, you need to understand both the natural tendencies and your dog’s breed to find the right sport for them.
Popular Events And Sports For Dogs
Below are the popular sports for dogs you can try as per the activity level of your canine. These sports will also improve your pup’s health. Along with the explanation, you will learn which sport is best for which dog breed.
Have you played Frisbee with your friends? If yes, then flying disc is just another name for Frisbee for dogs. The sport is both rewarding and challenging for the canine and its handler. The handler will throw the disc and the dog will run to fetch it.
Although it sounds simple, the game test your canine’s freestyle, zoning, time, distance, and accuracy in competition. The events allow the dogs and owners to spend time together and strengthen their bond.
Besides, you can turn the park or even your backyard into a playful place to play a flying disc.
Avoid the sport for: Toy breeds who aren’t as active and tend to lose interest quickly.
Best for: Jumpers, highly energetic, and involved dogs.
Agility is the best dog sport for both mixed breeds and purebred dogs. The training comprises of instructing your pooch to pass through the hurdles in a given amount of time. It requires your dog to condition, focus, and train. Plus, it strengthens your bond with each other.
The hurdles or obstacles would generally include teeterboard, tire jump, tunnel, pause table, dog walk, and weave pole. You can modify the sport according to the size, age, and athletic ability of your dog.
You can also use some equipment to make the game more interesting and challenging. Some handlers use tires and poles to create obstacles without spending too much money.
Avoid the sport for: The giant dog breeds who are prone to joint or bone problems.
Best for: Toy breeds, loyal family dogs, escape artists. Mostly best for the mixed breeds, both seniors and puppies.
Off-Leash Dog Parks
If you want to socialize your dogs with other dogs and humans, dog parks are the best option. You can easily find many dog parks around you. Dogs that are below two years of age benefit from social learning and expelling excess energy.
Still, you should always do some background research about your dog’s temperament and behavior with other dogs before releasing the leash.
Avoid the sport for: Anxious and aggressive dogs, female dogs in heat or intact males, and puppies or dogs susceptible to injury.
Best for: Mixed breeds, young to middle-aged, well-mannered, and friendly dogs. Also, dogs that lack social skills.
Jogging and Running
If your dog has excessive energy and immediately comes out as soon as they hear the sound of a leash, then you may have a great jogging or running buddy at home. Jogging is an excellent exercise for both the owner and their pup. Medium and small dogs are great runners.
Some short-legged dogs will take more steps, so shorter and slow-paced jogging is suitable for them. Moreover, if your dog is an avid runner, you can start with a jog and then eventually lead into running.
Avoid the sport for: Unsocialized and aggressive dogs, aging seniors, and puppies.
Best for: Overweight, medium, and large breeds dogs. It’s great for dogs with short attention spans and high-energy adult dogs.
Dogs naturally love to dig the ground or sit under a downed tree. The Earthdog trails are all about getting your small dog to train their ability to find the lure.
Small dogs will go through the underground den to find the rat. However, keep your dog’s safety in mind as that is the top priority.
The sport is not highly competitive but allows your pooch to only come out of the den after finding the lure.
Avoid the sport for: Large breed dogs.
Best for: Full breeds, dachshunds, and Terriers including Yorkshire, West Highland, Skye, Jack Russel, Cairn, and Australian.
Being a water sport, dock diving requires dogs to jump high for height or far for distance. The canine will have to aim for the toy and then land directly in the water. This sport is ideal for dogs that enjoy being in the water.
Avoid the sport for: Some giant breeds and puppies below six months.
Best for: Most mix breeds and purebreds who love the water and are great fetchers.
Dogs are born with natural herding instincts. Herding events require your pup to access the livestock and use their herding instinct. So, if you have sheep or cows, you can gather livestock and let the dog take the lead.
Avoid the sport for: Terriers and young puppies.
Best for: Working and herding breeds such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Cattle dogs, Corgis, and Sheepdogs.
Sports for dogs can be anything that suits their natural instincts. Moreover, each sport aims to improve your dog’s health and encourage them to live an active life. You need to keep the interest and breed of your dog in mind before choosing the sport that’s best for them.
If you can fulfill the dog’s body and mind, they will not look anywhere else to satisfy their mental and physical urges.