This article is directive to all of you couch potatoes and your canine friends. It’s time to get up, get out, along with your lazy dog and start having some real, competitive fun – I’m talking about dog sports!
Did you know that dog sports are a great way to have fun and show off your pet’s skills and intelligence? Whether you’re into earning titles or just looking to have a good time, you and your dog can have tons of fun with dog sporting events. From basic obedience to splashing in a lake, active breeds can succeed at almost any canine sport. Most energetic breeds possess stamina, strength, courage, drive and a willingness to please their owners.
Do not underestimate your own dog’s intelligence and ability to learn new things, including complex maneuvers that will earn you top titles in competitive events, or at the minimum the family appreciation award at home after an exciting day playing outside.
The first sport we’d like you to learn about is called competitive obedience trials. Does your dog have the perfect “sit”? Well this is the perfect sporting event to show it off. Your dog will perform a series of exercises in a ring while a judge evaluates the performance. The rules are strict – you can’t give treats, extra commands or encouragement to your dog as it performs.
In general, the types of breeds best suited for these sporting events are Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, Pointers and Spaniels along with Labradoodles and Golderndoodles round out the sporting group. These dogs make excellent obedience dogs because of their willingness to please, but are sometimes a little difficult to train because they can have a stubborn streak.
Competitive obedience consists of several increasingly difficult levels – Novice, Open and Utility. Novice-level competition primarily demonstrates the dog’s ability to heel on and off leash, stand for exam, come, and stay in a site and down position.
In the Open Class, your dog will perform retrieving and jumping exercises in addition to off-leash heeling and long sits and downs; in the Utility Class, your dog must also discriminate between scented articles and retrieve specific items.
To earn titles, your dog must score no less than half the points allotted for each exercise. For most titles, he must earn three “legs”, or qualifying competitions, in which you must earn at least 170 points out of a possible 200. He must be able to consistently follow a variety of basic and advanced commands (sit, stay, stand, come, heel) to be a successful obedience dog.
How does one go about the training of his dog. The best way is to find a professional dog trainer that specializes in competitive obedience training. Simply look under “dog training” in the phone directory and you will find plenty of qualified individuals and schools at your disposal. There also is a number of training programs one can download from the internet. Plus do a internet search for local agility or flyball clubs. Most have training programs.