Participating in sports with your dog is a great way to exercise, bond, and have fun! Not only does it provide them with physical exercise, but it also enriches their minds and gives them an outlet to express themselves. Dog sports can also help to strengthen your relationship, as you learn to work together and trust each other. There are plenty of dog sports to choose from, each stimulates your dog’s natural abilities while having fun at the same time.
We’ve teamed up with Admiral Pet Insurance, to inspire you with some of our favourite dog sports. Which one will you try with your pooch?
You may have seen this tail-wagging sport on Crufts, where dogs zip in and out of hoops, tunnels and posts. Agility is an obstacle course that tests speed and accuracy. Any dog in good health and physical shape can do agility. It is a great way to build a stronger bond between you and your dog, involving quick bursts of speed, coordination and balance. It’s great for their physical and mental wellbeing, and helps to improve your dog’s communication skills, focus, and obedience. Of course, it also allows them to flex their natural abilities, such as running and jumping.
Flyball is a team sport that involves the dog running to a box, jumping over hurdles to trigger the box, and then racing back to you with a ball. The goal is to have the fastest time and beat the opposing team. It’s an exciting and rewarding activity for both you and your dog! Flyball will build your dog’s confidence while developing agility and obedience skills. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for both of you!
Rally (also knowns as ‘Rally O’) is an obstacle course with different obedience exercises. Signs displaying these exercises are placed at up to 18 stations along the course, and your dog will be expected to perform 1 of 80 different preset exercises. Exercises include ‘sit’, ‘stand’, ‘down’ and can also involve moving in a particular way with recall. Rally comes in different levels, starting level 1 and 2 on a lead, moving to off-lead.
It is a great way to teach your dog basic obedience commands and to help them understand the importance of following instructions. Additionally, Rally Obedience can help strengthen your dog’s focus and concentration, which can be beneficial in other areas of their life. Rally Obedience also provides your dog with an outlet for their energy, which can be very beneficial for their overall health and well-being. Finally, Rally Obedience can be an enjoyable and engaging activity for you and your dog to do together, providing an opportunity for quality time and a great chance to bond.
You can watch people take part in this sports during Crufts. There is also another version that takes place during Crufts called Obreedience, which is a less formal, team event showcasing the talent of different breeds.
A sport of scent detection, which involves teaching the dog to search for specific odours and alerting their handler when they find the scent. The handler then rewards the dog for correctly locating the scent. This activity can help build a strong bond between human and dog, as well as increasing problem solving skills, confidence and ability to focus. It is a great way to keep both you and your pup mentally and physically active! Perfect for dogs who LOVE using their sniffers.
5. Dog Dancing
Dog dancing is all about teaching your dog a choreographed routines to music. The dog and handler work together as a team moving in a smooth and coordinated manner, demonstrating a variety of skills including spins, twists, jumps, and other tricks. Dog dancing is a great way to bond with your pup and have fun at the same time!
Canicross is a sport that involves running with your dog in a harness on a lead. It provides excellent physical exercise for both you and your dog which brings you closer together. During Canicross, the dog is usually in front of the runner, setting the pace and leading the way. It’s low-impact, so it’s great for all ages, and it’s a great way to explore the outdoors and get some fresh air. Click here for more information on Canicross, or download our free Tail Wag to 5K running programme for beginners.
7. Disc Dog
Disc dog is a fun and interactive sport that involves your dog catching a frisbee or disc in mid-air and returning it to you. It is a great way to keep your dog active and entertained while developing your dog’s coordination, agility, and strength. It can also be a great way for your dog to get some mental stimulation and relieve stress.
8. Paddle Boarding
Paddle boarding with your dog is a great way to spend quality time with your dog while getting some exercise and basking in beautiful scenery. Plus, it can be a great way to teach your dog how to swim, as well as help them become more comfortable in the water. There are plenty of places up and down the country who will accommodate your dog when hiring a paddle board.
Originating in Germany, Treibball is an exciting new sport that combines elements of herding, obedience, and ball play. It is a team game between a handler and their dog, in which the dog is trained to drive 8 exercise balls into a goal within a certain time limit. It is a great way to bond with your dog and improve their obedience and agility skills. This sport is fairly new in the UK, though there are a couple of groups dotted around. Click here to discover more.
10. Barn Hunt
Another new sport, this one is a registered sport from the US, created by Robin Nutall. It tests a dog’s instinctive skills to find rats hidden in tubes or hay bales. In the UK this is not done with live rats but a scent. It’s a timed event in which you and your dog must work as a team to locate the rat reading your dog’s signals. The goal of Barn Hunt is to have fun and to create a partnership between the dog and the handler. It’s growing in popularity, with a range of events that take place across the UK.
Bikejoring is an outdoor activity where your dog is safely connected to a bicycle with a harness and a line. Similar to Canicross, your dog runs in front of the bicycle as the person on the bike steers. Bikejoring is a great way to get some exercise with your dog and explore the outdoors. It can also be a great way to train your dog for agility, obedience, and speed.
What Dog Sports Have You Tried?
If you’re looking for an exciting way to bond with your canine companion, why not give one of these sports a try? From agility and scentwork to paddle boarding and disc dog, there are plenty of fun activities to explore with your four-legged friend. With the right motivation and guidance, you can help your pup become a star athlete! Have you tried any of these sports, let us know in the comments below.