Dog Activities – fun with your dog
What can you do to keep you and your dog entertained? These days there really are a wide range of activities, to suit all ages and levels of physical activity. Many of these options are inexpensive too, although you will inevitably spend more time and money than you anticipated, as the hobby becomes an obsession!
Basic training comes first
Before considering any sport or activity with your dog, you will need a good level of basic training. It is vital that your dog learns good manners and essential obedience, including recall and wait. Other simple commands such as sit and down will be useful.
I highly recommend spending time with a professional dog trainer when you first get your puppy. These days it is worth considering online training, as this can prove to be easier to manage and more effective. Contact The Calm Canine Academy for details of what can be provided.
What will you choose?
Here is the list of activities I have written about on this blog so far:
- Agility There are quite a few posts on the blog about agility, as this is our activity of choice! These include information about how to find an agility trainer or club, an agility show and how to start training for agility. website: Agilitynet.
- Canicross or cross-country running with your dog
- Flyball a fast and furious team activity, where the dog runs to get a ball. website: Flyball
- Hoopers a fun alternative to agility that has no impact on joints
- Obedience taking basic training to the next level. website: Obedience UK
- Showing is a fun way to engage with your dog and see if they are the best of their breed
- Tricks training is so much fun for you and your dog
- Volunteering is less physical, but can be just as stimulating for you and your dog. website: Canine Concern
- Working Trials will get you out in the field and can be very demanding.
- YKC is a branch of the Kennel Club that run activities for children and their dogs. Read about the agility side of this fun activity.
These are activities you can also do:
- Disc dog
- Heelwork to music
- Ringcraft (for showing)
- Scramble and scurry
NB: If you do any of these activities, please GET IN TOUCH so that I can add this activity to the blog? I have a proforma of questions for you to answer to it’s really straightforward.
Here are some more details about a couple of other activities.
Following on from obedience, why not try some scentwork with your dog. This is ideal if you have a gundog or hound type of dog, as they are much more motivated to follow a scent than anything else. I recommend my friend Becky Harris and her Scent Detectives classes if you can get to them – they seem like such fun.
Heelwork to Music
If you have ever watched Crufts you will have seen Mary Ray and her amazing dogs. This activity is also growing rapidly and includes teams performing in formation. Also see Ashleigh and Pudsey who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2012.
What type of dog?
You will probably find that hounds are best for scentwork, and gundogs for field trials. You may want to think about an active breed like a Dalmatian if you want to do cani-X. Huskies spring to mind for bikejor.
Naturally, Border Collies are bright enough to turn their hand to most dog sports and activities. They have the capacity to follow complex and subtle instruction, with the desire to learn and please you. Some dogs have the brain power but not the willpower, but many different breeds can compete or have fun in many different sports.
For more information, follow the links I’ve given here or look on the Kennel Club website. Or talk to breeders about what dog sports their breed can do?
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