Canine sports are a great way to give your dog a sense of purpose and a job. It will also teach both your pup and you how to work as a team and, most of all, to have fun together. There are so many sports to choose from: agility, nose work, dock diving, tracking, lure course, water and herding trials, fly ball, hunting—the list goes on and on. There is bound to be a sport that will appeal to you and fit your lifestyle.
Pet Parent Question: “How do I know if my dog likes a sport or not?”
Many sports are designed to preserve the attributes a breed was bred for. Portuguese water dogs went to sea with the Portuguese fishermen and herded fish into the nets and took messages from boat to shore. Today we have water trials to keep the skills alive and give the dogs a sense of purpose. There are also sports any dog can do like canine nose work. You and your dog need to like the sport, or it won’t be fun. The best way to know if you both like the same sport is to try one out. If it doesn’t seem to be resonating with both of you, then try another one. I have done a few sports with my dogs, but nose work is the sport we love doing. Learning to work as a team builds your bond and becomes a fun adventure to enjoy!
Donna Chicone is an award-winning author, TEDx speaker and advocate for dogs. She lives in Woodbury. You might find her engaged in pet-assisted therapy work.