So much fun to chose from!
You don't have to be a Olympic athlete to be able to enjoy a sport with your dog, but it will require some amount of fitness and give you a good workout in the meantime.
When I thought about writing this hub, I figured I would end up with about five or ten sports that are available out there... WOW! UNDERSTATEMENT!
So I have to be a bit selective and only talk about those that are not as common.
Most people have seen dogs compete in Agility (Obstacle Course), Competition Obedience (I wish mine were so well behaved!), Disc Dog (Frisbee Stunts), Dock Jumping (Labrador Favorite: Jumping of the Dock after a toy!), Dog Hiking, Earth Trials, Field Trials (Hunting/Retrieving skills), Fly Ball (Collecting a ball on the other side of a obstacle course), Greyhound/Sight Hound racing, Herding, Mushing (Iditarod), Protective Sports (Schutzhund (based on Police Work, finding/apprehending suspects) etc.), Skijoring (dogs pull their owners on skis), Tracking, Weight Pulling (similar to tractor pulling) and Wiener Racing.
But there are so many others most of us haven't heard about:
Caniteering is the sport of orienting yourself in the wilderness with your dog. It seems to be very popular in the U.K. Bike-Joring is similar to mushing. Dogs pull somebody on a (mountain) bike along trails. Joring is very popular in Sweden. It can be done on foot, on bike, behind horses and in the snow. Canicross is similar to Joring. It is done on foot and is simply a cross country race with dogs. This is great for hyper-active/active dogs and those that by breed need a lot of exercise, such as Huskies, Malamutes, Sight-Hounds, Pitbulls, Retrievers and such.
Carting goes back to when dogs were used to pull carts to help their owners transport stuff. It is also known as 'Dryland Mushing' and usually includes large breed dogs such as the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Bouvier des Flanders. Dog Scooterin is once again similar to Joring. It is done with a scooter and the dog does most of the work. Hound trailing is a old English favorite in which Hounds are following a hopefully artificial trail and the 'Hunters' are following on foot or on horseback.
Dog Shows are also considered a sport, but I question the intentions of some of the breeders that participate. I have heard a lot of stories about how 'failures' get discarded and such. And breeding a dog for looks often leaves them with health issues that affect their comfort and lifespan.
Rally Obedience is Obedience with a kick. Teams move from station to station (dog heeling) and follow instructions on what to do. There are usually 10-20 stations.
Musical Canine Freestyle is like a ballet for canines. The team performs a serious of Obedience related things and tricks to their music and show both the creativity of the owner and the Obedience of the dog.
The intention of competing in a sport should be two-fold: Yes, you want to compete and do well. But you should not forget that sport is suppose to be fun; for both you and the dogs!
Weight Pulling requires training and strict observance of the condition of the dog. It is too easy for the dog to get injured in his attempt to please his 'pack leader'.
Dog Racing follows the natural 'need' of certain dog breeds to run and enjoy their strength, but money-motivated people have turned it into the ugly sport it is today; where dogs are bred- and raced to death and discarded like trash afterwards. So many racing dogs are left unwanted, are dumped or simply killed.
Dog Sledding/Mushing was a fun game when I was a kid. My dogs loved to run and it was all about us having fun together. But when you look at races such as the Iditarod, where only few take their dog's condition and health in consideration and those irresponsible ones race their dogs to death, it makes you question if money took the game out of 'sport'.
Dog Shows may be great to show your 'work', but I always have to think about my breeder-reject Sheltie Fancy, a several hundred dollar dog given away for free because she didn't 'perform' well and had health issues and deformities from being inbred.
Hare Racing is no sport! Hunting is no sport! It is the serious business of taking a life and in the case of Hare Racing the life is taken in primitive and cruel ways.
Dog Fighting is listed as a sport, but I don't see a sport in it. For me it is animal cruelty down by low-lives. And I have no understanding for the fact that a convicted criminal is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to 'entertain' us! We wouldn't treat any other criminal as something good, so why do we treat this person as a 'star', just because he performs alright in a 'sport'!? I guess this sport also has long lost the game of it and turned into a strict business without any honor and standards!
If a Sport will allow you to do things with your dog and gives you a deeper appreciation of the faithful creature on your 'Team', enjoy it.
BUT, please don't ever forget that it is a life you are influencing! Don't let your own quest for fame, money and personal success cause harm to the creature that returns your 'ownership' with unconditional love, true faithfulness and devotion!
Dog Sports in Pictures
What is Flyball? - Flyball Documentary - Dog Sports
Splash Dogs - Dock Diving (Dog Sports)
LIST OF DOG SPORTS
- List of dog sports - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Note by the Author: Dog Fighting IS NO SPORT! It is a barbaric and cruel way of slaughtering animals done by primitive and despicable creatures!