Canines and their owners can have lots of fun together.  Puppies and adult dogs love attention and enjoy learning.  No matter what type of dog you own, doggy performance events can be exciting and can create a tremendous amount of joy for you and your dog.  Dogs love to run, play, jump, and sniff.  You can use your pup’s natural abilities, and at the same time begin a very positive relationship with your companion.

First and foremost, your pet must have basic obedience training.   As you begin your training, start researching all of the various canine performance doggy activities.  The internet will be a great source of help and information.  What do you think, you and your dog will enjoy?  You can choose to participate for fun or try competition.  If you seek competition, you can receive recognition for your achievements in the form of ribbons, trophies, and prizes.  To name a few activities, there are frisbee contests, flyball, dock dog contests, earth dog tests, lure coursing, herding trials, obedience trials, search and rescue, tracking trials, freestyle, agility competition, and doggy hiking clubs.

For those interested in canine Frisbee® competitions, visit www.k9frisbee.com.  This site links all the US disc dog clubs and provides a schedule of events.  At the highest level,  the International Disc Dog Handler’s Association sponsors the Canine Disc World Championships each year.  Meanwhile, for flyball, there are 8 separate clubs in Maryland.  One such active club is 4 Dog Night, www.4dognightflyballclub.org out of Columbia, which performs demonstrations at the Humane Society of Baltimore Co. and other localities.

Recently, dock dog competitions have become very popular.  Dogs run, jump, swim and retrieve in a timed contest. (Visit www.dockdogs.com.)  These events are also literally the springboard for the latest dock diving canine craze.  While freestyle, a new canine sport, requires a dog and handler to perform various movements to music (www.canine-freestyle.org)

Earthdog competitions (www.akc.org/events/earthdog) involve smaller dogs, such as dachshunds in AKC tests based on their instinct to follow rat scent trails.

If you like the outdoors, doggy sports will provide you and your companion lots of exercise.  Whatever, you choose, it will be challenging and rewarding.

Some dogs will excel at one type of event more than others.  Do not get discouraged and just try something else fun.  For instance, earth dog tests are great for the terriers, while agility may be better for a very fast and active dog.  Whatever the activity, from the wag of a tail and your smiling face, it will be evident that you are creating a wonderful bond as a true team, which makes the human/canine relationship so rewarding.   TRY IT!!!!!        YOU’LL LOVE IT!!!!!

Written by Linda Mizrahi
Happily involved in conformation and performance events for 37 years with my Belgian Sheepdogs
Belroyale19@AOL.com

Posted with permission by the Maryland Pet Gazette