Playing sports with your dog is the best way to strengthen the bond with your pet while allowing him to expend his energy, as well as yours! Whether you are a sportsman or not, you probably want to share an activity where you can grow together; fortunately, there is a wide choice of dog sports but also other fun disciplines that you can practice alone with your companion or in a club.
In this article, you will find 6 examples of sports activities that you can practice with your dog: they are all based on play, obedience, the desire to learn and complicity.
Agility is without a doubt the number one dog sport; all dogs can practice it and it is both tonic and highly educational. Indeed, the practice of agility will develop the communication between the dog and his owner, and the listening and attention capacities of your animal. This sport also requires a good knowledge of the basics of dog training on the part of the master, which makes it a discipline in its own right where it is rewarding to invest in personal development.
But what is agility? It is to carry out obstacle courses more or less fast and complex, at the sides of the dog which must learn to react to the indications of its Master. It is therefore a perfect activity for races that have a lot of energy and want to please. Agility is most often practiced in a club, but it is also possible to create your own courses at home if you have a large garden, in order to improve at your own pace between sessions and to prepare more assiduously for competitions.
Canicross consists of a duo race with your dog; it is reserved for people and dogs with a good physical condition because it is a sport that can become very athletic, especially if practiced in competition. Of course, canicross can also be practiced at a more leisurely pace, for this reason it can also be an unpretentious family activity on Sunday afternoon!
There are also variations such as canimarche (endurance walking) and canicyclocross for cyclists. The most important thing is to find the version that suits you best, the right rhythm and to develop a harmony with your dog in order to reach a perfect course within the given time. The objectives can be varied and adapted to each dog, on a course determined in advance by yourself if you practice independently or by the organizing clubs during competitions. Whatever the frequency and intensity, canicross is above all a way to discover nature with your pet.
Another classic dog sport. Frisbee can be played anywhere, as long as you have enough space: in your yard, on the beach, or on outings to the park or country. It has the advantage of being very playful and accessible to all types of dogs, as long as they enjoy playing and retrieving. Frisbee can also be coupled with obedience and give rise to a more competitive practice proposed by clubs, such as ultimate, but there are other Frisbee disciplines: disc dog, freestyle etc.
These games consist in making the dog bring back the flying disc over more or less long distances and as fast as possible. Small and medium sized sheepdogs (border collie, Australian shepherd) but also small breeds like Jack Russel and other terriers are most often fond of this sport. In competition, the challenge is that the dog must bring the flying disc back and forth, in a circle, or in pairs with the handler, all of which are timed.
Sometimes called "dog dancing", this discipline is a fun way to train your dog. It requires a lot of repetition, rigor and patience to perform choreographies to music with your four-legged friend. This activity developed in England and the United States before becoming popular in all European countries; in France, the Société Centrale Canine recently recognized it as an official sport.
The principle of the dog dance is to make the dog do "tricks" in perfect harmony with all the steps and gestures of his master, in order to give birth to a creative and rhythmic staging. Thus, it brings into play the reflexes and obedience of the animal in complicity with its master, who must show creativity.
Tracking is a sport that aims to develop and evaluate the olfactory qualities of the dog during competitions: the dog must find and follow a track using its sense of smell. This activity is practiced outdoors on different types of terrain - fields, meadows, forests, etc. In terms of training, tracking is very beneficial because the dog must be able to stay focused on the task, despite external events that might distract him. It is therefore an interesting discipline to practice in order to learn how to channel one's animal and improve its listening and concentration skills.
Inspired by the utilitarian tracking practiced by the police, tracking in competition can be done in a free way (the dog walks without its master and has to bring the object back to the end of the track) or in a "bloodhound line" (the dog moves with the master, attached by a cord). Follow-up courses can be accompanied by an obedience test and a defense test (RCI follow-up).
This dog sport is for water dogs such as Newfoundland, Leonberg and Retriever (Labrador or Golden). It is directly inspired by dog rescue exercises and allows the dog to exercise while developing obedience and courage. Although it should remain a pleasure above all, and that is why it is intended for swimming dogs that are naturally attracted to water, it is a demanding and rigorous activity. It is recommended to join a specialized club to practice water work in a supervised manner in complete safety.