Canine Sports and Activities
Agility, in its simplest form, is a fast-paced sport where dogs jump over hurdles, go through tunnels, and climb on dog walks, over teeter-totters, and up A-frames set out in a particular course. The run is timed and the dog that makes the fewest mistakes in the least amount of time wins. The handler shows the dog where to go using both signals and commands. Open to pure and mixed breeds.
Any size dog in good condition can backpack. Titles are available through the national breed clubs or internationally through Canine Backpackers Association.
|Canine Good Citizen:|
The Canine Good Citizen test was created to provide a means of encouraging responsible dog ownership. There are a series of tests for basic temperament and obedience. Open to pure and mixed breeds.
- American Kennel Club (AKC)
Carting is for giant breeds. The “vehicle” can be a wagon, cart, or travois. National breed clubs offer titles and drafting competitions. Your dog must be over two years of age to compete.
At dog shows, also called conformation shows, dogs are judged according to the standard for that particular breed. Conformation shows are open to purebred dogs registered with the appropriate breed club.
Earthdog trials are standardized tests to measure their dogs’ natural working and hunting abilities. Dogs are led to an artificial den where they are encouraged to enter and find the “quarry.” The quarry consists of two rats in cages. The dogs must show the eagerness to pursue the quarry and willingness to “work” the quarry, that is, bark, scratch, and snap at the rats. (The rats are safe within the cage.)
Flyball is a fast, competitive sport where teams of four handlers and dogs compete against each other and the clock. The dogs must jump over four hurdles to a flyball box, trigger the box to release the ball, catch it, and then return over the same hurdles to the finish line and the awaiting relay pair. Any dog may compete in flyball.
Flying Disc or playing Frisbee, there are several different types of competitions available, such as freestyle, obstacles, and distance. Any dog may compete.
Dogs are trained to join their owner in a dance routine complete with music, costumes and props. This sport is not just a great training challenge but also great exercise and lots of fun.
Herding is one of the dog’s oldest professions. Dogs and owners compete in herding trials to earn herding titles. Livestock herding can consist of sheep, ducks, and cattle.
|Hunting Tests and Field Trials:|
Hunting tests prove that a dog is capable of hunting. Unlike field trials, hunting tests are designed so that every dog can be a winner – provided that the dog passes the tests.
Field trials were developed for owners of certain hunting breeds to prove their dog’s abilities in the field as hunting dogs. Because different dogs were bred for different purposes, there are several types of field trials for each specific breed.
The sighthound was originally bred for spotting prey from great distances and pursuing it. The “lure” is a paper or plastic bag tied to a string attached to the lure machine. The lure is drawn through a course made up of pulleys in a field a minimum of five acres in size. When released, the lure travels at about 40 miles per hour through the field in front of the chasing dogs.
|Mushing, Skijoring, and Sledding:|
Skijoring is a sport where the dog pulls his owner on skis. Most dogs that are healthy and over 30 pounds can be skijoring dogs. Any breed of dog can compete in skijoring. Sledding or mushing is where multiple dogs work together as a team to pull the owner and sled across snow and/or sand. Both are open to pure and mixed breeds.
Obedience training focuses the dog on his owner and helps channel excess energy. In competitive obedience, the dog must complete a series of exercises.
Rally-O is not traditional obedience; it’s not traditional agility. It’s something in between the two, but it stands on its own merits. In Rally classes it may be timed or untimed, the team of dog and handler move continuously and perform exercises indicated by a sign at each location. Open to both pure and mixed breeds.
The word “schutzhund” means “protection dog” in German. Although protection is a part of Schutzhund training, it comprises only a third of the actual tests. Dogs are tested in obedience, tracking, and protection. Schutzhund is not “attack dog” or “guard dog” training, although it does teach a dog to attack on command. It does not intend to make the dog a “loaded weapon,” nor does it make the dog aggressive. Schutzhund dogs are trained to be well-disciplined. Open to pure and mixed breeds.
|Search and Rescue:|
Search and Rescue dogs (also known as SAR dogs) are trained to find missing humans in a variety of adverse locations and terrain. Unlike tracking, search and rescue often looks for any track, especially in the wilderness, disaster, or avalanche conditions. The dogs are trained to track humans rather then items. There are different types of SAR dogs for different types of adverse conditions, these SAR dogs include: Wilderness search dogs, Avalanche search dogs, Disaster search dogs, and Urban search dogs. Dogs are specially trained for each environment and the challenges specific to that environment.
Therapy dogs provide positive support for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. Therapy dogs must have good manners and general obedience training. Temperament is highly important.
Tracking tests require a dog to follow a scent of a particular person and find articles marked with that person’s scent. AKC tracking allows any purebred dog to compete, although UKC allows mixed breeds as well.
Weightpulling is a competition where a dog in harness pulls a sled or a cart with heavy weights a distance of 16 feet. Any healthy dog is capable of weight pulling. Most dogs, even small dogs, are capable of pulling many times their weight, provided they are properly trained and physically sound. Dogs pull for the sheer enjoyment and are not coerced in any fashion. Dogs must be over one year of age.