Why Should Your Dog Play Sports?
There are almost endless choices for your dog to participate in dog sport and recreation. Dog sports can help keep dogs both physically and mentally healthy. All our dogs need some degree of daily exercise, and most will thrive with some extra stimulation. Our active and high-energy dogs may enjoy such fun games such as agility or treibball. Our less active dogs may enjoy a more relaxed game such as Rally or Nose Work.
Playing sports with your dog not only keeps them active, it also reinforces and strengthens the bond between the two of you. Your dog will begin to look forward to the special time you spend together playing your new favorite sport with your four-legged best friend. Be sure to have your veterinarian give your dog a thorough exam before starting any new dog sport. Once your vet gives you clearance, consider one of the fun sports that will challenge your dog’s mind and body.
Canine agility is a dog sport is an obstacle course consisting of jumps, weave poles, tunnels, and various walkways. It is the handler’s job to guide their dog through the numbered course correctly and efficiently. Agility is an excellent form of both mental and physical activity for both the dog and handler. The intensity and difficulty of the course can be altered to accommodate dogs with health complications to a certain degree.
This fun sport appeals to all dog lovers from young people, even children, to senior citizens. There are many venues to play this fun sport, and each has its own set of rules and criteria for qualifying.
In Rally Obedience, also called Rally-O or Rally, dog/handler teams make their way through a course made up of signs with the specific obedience exercises to perform. The courses are designed to observe how the team navigates through the course.
Rally rules tend to be less strict than formal obedience, and talking to your dog is encouraged. This fun sport is great for all breeds and ages of dogs as well as different age groups of handlers. Dogs begin on leash, and as skills progress, the run can be done off-leash in a heel.
You may have noticed that your dog’s nose is his or her most dominant sense. Most dogs want to follow their noses, and every dog has one. Why not turn that into a fun and challenging activity?
Nosework is a sport for all dogs that mirrors professional K9 detection. Nosework build confidence in timid dogs and gives energetic dogs a “job” to do. Nosework is the fastest growing canine sport because it can be successfully done with dogs, regardless of breed, age, or personality. Dogs need to be people-friendly, so this is a great sport for dogs with some issues. Dogs do not “work” in sight of other dogs and they are all kept away from each other and meeting is not permitted.
Dogs will learn what odor is and how to solve puzzles to locate it. Dogs can search almost anything including boxes, luggage, vehicles, interiors of buildings, and exterior locations.
Herding is an instinct for the herding group of dogs. It’s the way they were bred. There are even non-herding breeds and mixes that show an instance for herding.
Triebball (pronounced “try-ball”) is a new dog sport, and there are no sheep required. This fun sport replaces the sheep with exercise balls to make herding available to everyone.
The game is played by having large exercise balls being “herded” into a soccer-like net. It promotes better teamwork and communication between a dog and its handler. It’s fun for any energetic dog that can work well off-leash.
Treibball was developed in Germany and is translated as “blowing ball”, “drifting ball”, or “propelling ball”.
Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks? We don’t agree. Canine conditioning is a wonderful way to help your dog from showing its age. It works both the mind and body and can help ward off canine dementia. As it sounds, conditioning is working the muscle groups of the dog for short periods of time to increase muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, and to promote good joint health.
Many of these exercises can start with simple items you may already have at your home such as a stepper or low box. Dogs are taught about body awareness and move to more challenging activities as their health and fitness levels increase.
There are also pieces of equipment you can use to help with balance and core strength such as exercise balls. Both are important for your dog as it ages.
Isn’t it so adorable that your dog can do tricks? Who doesn’t love showing them off to your friends and family? Teaching your dogs trick will help keep their minds active, and depending on the trick, can help keep them in shape too! It’s fairly easy to teach your dog tricks, and can be done when the weather outside makes your daily walk not possible.
In summary, it’s always important to allow your dog to work daily both physically and mentally. These fun activities will increase the bond you share as well as keep them from being bored. Dogs that are bored may begin to use that energy in a negative way such as excessive chewing on things you would not like them to chew on, or even themselves. A tired dog is a happy dog!
For more information on how to start playing a new sport with your dog, contact us at Sit, Stay, ‘N Play. We are located at 1501 North 5th Street, Stroudsburg. 570.872.9748 or online at: www.sitstaynplay.net.