If you feel like trying out a sport with your dog there are all sorts of possibilities.
How do you choose the right sport for you and your dog?
Here are some tips and a brief overview of some of the things on offer:
1. What does your dog really enjoy doing? After all you are doing this first and foremost for him
2. What do you enjoy and what is feasible in terms of time and location. Sometimes you will find something you both enjoy but it is too far away or too early in the day and then there is a risk that you will give up after a while.
3. Decide whether you’re going to do it as a hobby or as a competitive sport. This has consequences for you and your dog.
4. If your dog tends to be hyper active then chose a sport that will encourage him to calm down and think. Sports such as swimming, going for long walks and tracking will tire your dog without encouraging him to become even more excitable. The most active sports are agility and fly ball.
5. Look at the genetic material and the origins of your dog. What was the breed originally used for? For example for a border collie that is bred to herd sheep then treibball is a fun alternative.
A short overview of the possible sports and other interesting pastimes you can become involved in:
Body & Balance
This type of workshop focuses on finding and improving individual balance and achieving an understanding of the body. Many dogs have no idea what their body can handle sometimes with dire consequences, injuries, fear of devices / objects etc…
Working with the various devices makes it both fun and instructive for the dog and you practice the skills you need for a good relationship. By working together in this way your dog will feel more comfortable and safe when with you. He will enjoy himself and become more motivated to watch and listen to you.
Raising the dog’s awareness of its own body will bring about increased confidence and strengthens the muscles. As a result there is an all round improvement in general well being and the risk of injury is reduced. The improved body awareness also improves the way the dog moves.
This type of work is suitable for all dogs, from the very young puppies to the more elderly. Dogs that have previously suffered with injury, physical problems or the like will also benefit from these exercises.
Dogs who regularly participate in canine sports can maintain and improve their physical motor skills, improving performance and making them less prone to injury.
The end result is a stronger bond with your dog, a dog that is open to new challenges.
Swimming (in a controlled environment)
Swimming is beneficial:
• If the dog suffers from muscle or joint problems
• For rehabilitation
• As a sports activity
• To build muscle mass
• For building condition
• In cases of hyperactivity, stress and ADHD
• In helping with behavioural issues
• Following referrals from your veterinarian
• If a dog is overweight
• To build a better relationships with the owner
• To build confidence in the dog
Often people presume that every dog can swim.
However, it is important to allow a dog get used to the water in a fun and responsible manner. By working in a controlled environment we can immediately anticipate his / her behaviour, mobility, and of course the bond with the owner. As an owner you will be directly involved in the whole experience and the dog will learn to trust you and enjoy the swim.
In addition, being in a controlled environment there is no risk of injury. Acidification and overload is prevented by time taken for warming up and cooling down and the dogs swim in warm water. The dogs wear specially designed swimming jackets and unlike pond water, the water quality is perfect in terms of pH values etc…
The swimming pool we use for dogs is, in contrast to a hydrotherapy treadmill, larger and wider. On a treadmill large dogs have a tendency to lean to the side, seeking support so that the effect of the hydrotherapy is less effective. We do some therapy work on a treadmill but without water.
Did you know that 30 min swim is equivalent to a 1.5 to 2 h. walk!
In Germany and Switzerland, this is a popular sport, in which all breeds can participate; it is not limited to the herding breeds! Any dog can do this, if they are keen to work for their owner.
In the middle of a big field eight large balls (mostly gymnastic balls) are set up in a in a triangular formation, similar to the way balls are set up on a billiard table. The handler stands with their dog at the edge of the field, nearby there is a goal.
The handler will cue the dog to bring the balls back (one at a time) and to put the balls into the goal.
The handler may make use of voice, gestures or whistle cues.
Every dog has a maximum of 10 minutes to drive all 8 balls into the goal
The time starts when the dog starts it’s “outrun”. Time stops when all eight balls are in the goal and the dog is lying down in front of the goal.
On competitions there may be variations depending on the level of the skills of the dogs.
This could be a fixed course or direction or speed events.
Treadmill training and therapy
Exercises on the dog treadmill (these can be given separately or combined with another therapy).
This is highly recommended for behavioural problems, hyper- active behaviour, fitness training, weight loss; muscle building etc … it is also helpful when a dog is anxious in the water so we would advise this in addition to swimming or hydrotherapy.
Dogs live in a world where different scents and smell are of major importance in their daily lives, they rely on their noses to identify different scents.
Tracking is therefore a canine activity that caters to a natural need. Teaching your dog to use this natural skill will focus and target his mental energy resulting in a happy relaxed dog.. Tracking will involve working with your dog without coercion, thereby contributing to a good relationship between you and your dog.
It is beneficial for behavioural problems (also dog on dog problems), hyperactivity and will help build a solid relationship with the owner.
We work on three disciplines: classical tracking or laying a track (drag track), sport tracking or tracking independently and scent discrimination. Moreover, we include water and rescue work.
Dogs of all types and of all ages can enjoy this discipline, they will however require a basis of obedience training.
Do you participate in a sport with your dog?
Tell us about your experiences.