You’ve spent hours doing dog training – teaching your dog everything from sit and down to “come” and spin. Your dog has mastered the basics, and quite frankly, both you and your dog had a ton of fun playing together.
You and your dog enjoy going on hikes and playing frisbee in the backyard, but you keep thinking there has to be more that you and your dog can do together.
If that’s you, we have some great news!
There’s more you can do with your dog.
Welcome to your introduction to dog sports.
WHY DOG SPORTS
Let’s be blunt about it – one of our favorite reasons we love dog sports is simply because they’re fun! And who doesn’t love fun?!?
However, there’s a lot of practical benefits to dog sports as well.
Like humans, dogs need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and can prevent a host of health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Participating in dog sports provides your dogs a fun and engaging way to burn off that excess energy. Whether it's scaling an A-frame in an agility competition or jumping off a dock into the water, these activities can give your dog a rigorous workout that keeps your dog fit and healthy.
Dog sports provide your dog with tons of mental stimulation. They require a dog to focus, ignore distractions, follow your commands, and solve problems. This regular mental stimulation can help prevent cognitive decline as dogs age, as well as prevent destructive behaviors caused by boredom.
Most dog sports involve exposing your dog to different environments, people, objects, and other dogs. This exposure can help dogs become more comfortable in a variety of circumstances. Socialization helps dogs be more adaptable (lowering stress levels) and less likely to exhibit fear or aggression.
Dog sports significantly strengthens the bond that you and your dog share. Training, preparing, and competing in these events require lots of time spent together, teamwork, communication, and trust. The time you spend in dog sports can enhance the shared connection between you and your dog.
DOG SPORT OPPORTUNITIES
While there’s a lot of different dog sports you and your dog can be part of, a few are more popular – and more accessible – than others.
Dog agility is one of the most readily-available dog sports in the US. In many ways, it’s similar to what you’d see at equestrian show jumping for horses. However, with dog agility, you’ll guide your dog through an obstacle course involving tunnels, hurdles, weave poles, and teeter-totters.
Dog agility isn’t just about speed. It’s also about the accuracy with which your dog performs. Your dog can’t knock down any hurdles or miss any obstacles. Otherwise, they’ll get penalties.
This sport is a wonderful mental and physical challenge for both you and your dog.
If your dog loves swimming and being in water, dog dock diving (also called dock jumping) may quickly become your dog’s new favorite sport. There’s two types of jumping: distance jumping and vertical jumping.
In distance jumping, dogs compete to see who can jump the furthest distance into the pool from a dock. The owner stands at the end of the dock and throws a toy or dock diving tug as the dog runs from the far side of the dock, jumps, and (potentially) catches the toy or tug.
Catching the tug isn’t required, as it’s just a tool used to help your dog jump as far as possible.
In vertical jumping, the challenge is to see how high your dog can jump to catch a toy that’s suspended in the air when diving off the dock.
While agility focuses on a dog’s speed and accuracy, dock diving highlights their strength, speed, agility, and their handler’s ability to motivate their dog.
As one of the most exciting dog sports to watch, dock diving is a great way for everyone to have a splashin’ great time!
Mondioring is a more complex dog sport, combing several disciplines into one sport: obedience, agility, and protection. It's the triathlon of dog sports.
In a mondioring competition, the dog and handler have to work through a series of exercises that test the dog's obedience, agility, and protective instincts. This involves complex commands, navigating through obstacles, and defending the handler from a decoy attacker (don't worry, it's all in controlled conditions). Mondioring not only highlights a dog's physical prowess but its mental acuity and bond with its handler as well.
This is perhaps one of the hardest dog sports and is usually undertaken by dog owners with sport-bred dogs like German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.
Canicross is a crossover between cross-country running and dog sledding. The unique aspect of Canicross lies in the teamwork between the human and the dog, where both participants work together to navigate a variety of terrains.
In a typical Canicross setup, the dog is harnessed, and the human runner is linked to the dog via a bungee cord. The dog leads the way, pulling the runner along. It's a win-win situation; the dog gets the exercise it craves, and the human gets a great workout, too.
It provides a fantastic cardio workout for both you and your dog, also helping you achieve running speeds you might not achieve going solo.
Canicross is also also a low-impact dog sport, as the harness evenly distributes the force across your dog's body, making it safer than traditional leash running.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Dog sports are an incredibly rewarding experience. Like with any human sport, they can come with some level of financial and physical investments.
Your dog will be exercising more than an “average” dog, which means they’ll be using their joints more often. Many of the exercises within dog sports require quick turns and a lot of “stopping and starting” which can put pressure on joints and wear them out faster than a normal dog would.
If you want to be involved in the world of dog sports, be incredibly proactive about the health of your dog.
Don’t feed them “junk kibble.” Feed them the best.
Give them healthy treats instead of treats filled with preservatives and chemicals.
And get ahead of potential health issues like hip and joint pain with health supplements.
In terms of health supplements, we recommend checking out Snubbies Hip + Join & Immune Supplements.
Made in the US with premium ingredients, you’re dog is sure to love them – not just for how they make him feel but also for the taste as well.
If you want your dog to be able to play dog sports with you for years to come, Snubbies is where you start.