Are you interested in having more activities to do with your dog or want/need to keep your dog busy? Perhaps your dog is super active and might benefit from more than a daily jaunt around your neighborhood? Northern Virginia and the surrounding area is a prime area for dog sports and activities.
Now that many people are back to work in the offices, they have found that their dogs need more stimulation after being alone all day at home. Check out some of these activities and if you need some local connections for training, leave a comment below. I can most likely connect you with some information to help you.
I’ve been training in various dog sports for years. Its great fun and a great way to bond with my dogs. Added to that, I’ve met a ton of people along the way and made some lasting friendships. My dogs love doing things and are always excited to go and play along with me.
Let’s check out some things you can do and the resources for more information below.
- Dog Parkour – Often called Urban Agility, dog Parkour will allow your dog to engage in obstacles while out and about on walks or hikes. It includes things like climbing walls, or jumping over logs, balancing on logs or perhaps pivoting on an obstacle. www.dogparkour.org. Check out the video below but please be careful with having your dog jump on objects or trees with considerable height. Safety is always a concern and like tv shows always say, you may not want to perform this at home. There is some skill in some of the things you try to do. Check out the video below for some examples of Dog Parkour.
- Agility – Agility is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the country. It’s incredible exercise for both the dog and the handler and it develops an increased bond with your dog. But what is dog agility exactly? Dog agility is a sport that is held in an arena with about 14-25 obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, weave poles, seesaws, A-frames, tables and more that the dog will navigate in a race against time. The courses are set by judges and then judged based on the dogs speed and accuracy.Here is some additional information on agility: Agility Sports for All Dogs and Owners – American Kennel Club (akc.org)
- Rally Obedience – Most of you are probably familiar with obedience but Rally is slightly different. In Rally, a dog and handler must complete a course of obedience exercises to perform where they are judged by how swiftly and accurately they navigate the course. It is open to all breeds and is less traditional than your typical obedience classes. For more information, check out: AKC Rally® Dog Sport for All Dogs and Owners – American Kennel Club
- Disc Dogs – Disc dog sports is another growing sport in the Northern VA area and nationally as well. I think a lot of disc enthusiasts get their introduction to Disc Dog sports through the Toss and Fetch Leagues (www.tossandfetch.com). Toss and Fetch leagues are a place where you can take your back yard games to an actual competition with other enthusiasts across the world. For more challenging dog frisbee games, Updog Challenge events and Skyhoundz take your frisbee games to the next level. Each association has skill based games and freestyle competitions. Check out www.updogchallenge.com or www.skyhoundz.com for more information.
- Dock Diving – If your dog loves water, this may be a great option for you during the warmer months in our area. Its pretty exciting for your dog to jump off a dock to go fetch his favorite toy. The goal is to have the longest jump. There are several divisions to choose from in this sport. Diving Dogs – American Kennel Club (akc.org)
- Flyball – Flyball is a relay race with teams made up of 4 dogs. It starts with the first dog running down a course over hurdles towards a flyball box which when the dog steps on it, a tennis ball is released for the dog to grab and return back the same course. Then the next dog goes and continues until all 4 dogs have completed the course. Flyball – American Kennel Club (akc.org)
- Fast Cat – If you have a fast prey driven dog, your dog will love competing in the Coursing Ability Tests. Fast Cat is a pretty new sport but growing in leaps and bounds. The dogs love it because they get to run full speed after a lure on a 100 yard course using their natural instincts. Fast CAT – American Kennel Club (akc.org)
- Scent Work – Scent work uses your dogs sniffing skills to find a target odor. This is a great sport for both young and the older dogs because it is more mental work than physical. The old guys really enjoy it because it gives them something to do when their bodies can’t take the demands of long hikes or sports anymore. AKC Scent Work – American Kennel Club
- Tricks – Teaching your dog tricks is really great for their minds and you can get titles for their tricks as well! How fun is that? AKC Trick Dog – American Kennel Club. Another good site for tricks is Shop | Do More With Your Dog!. Here you can learn the rules, get your titles, find tutorials and so much more!
There are so many things you can do to enrich your dogs life. These extra activities you do bring so much joy to your dog and will increase the bond you have with them. If you’ve been thinking about doing something more with your dog, do it! You won’t regret the time and friendships you forge along the way!
There are a lot of these sports happening near us. If you want some information on how to connect with classes, trainers or events, leave a comment below and we can put you in touch!