Dogs and humans can work together in dog sports. There are many dog sports to choose from. Every dog-human team finds the optimal occupation. Whether agility, dog dancing, or flyball: Depending on the facilities and skills, dog sports bring a lot of fun, exercise, education, or even competition. The bond between dog and human is strengthened. We provide an overview of the topic of sports with a dog.
In general, all dogs are best for dog sports. Of course, the requirements for old dogs or those suffering from limitations or illnesses have to be defined individually. The dog sport should be adapted to the dog. But that doesn’t mean that an old dog can’t do agility, for example. It’s just not that fast.
Agility for Dogs
In agility, a course should be mastered at high speed, with as few errors as possible. Here dog and human must be a real unit. A fraction of a second can often make the decision about victory or defeat. Humans also need to have a lot of coordination, body awareness, and quick reactions. The dog is guided through the course on an invisible leash. The person runs next to the obstacles and guides the dog through body language and audio signals.
Which dogs do agility?
Almost all dog breeds can exercise agility. Due to the high physical strain, agility at normal speed or even in competition training is only suitable for absolutely healthy dogs. In a calm and slimmed-down version of the activity, obese, sick and older dogs can also participate, just without the jumps, hard stops, and accelerations.
Obstacles in the agility course
In agility, there are various obstacles that must be overcome. These include:
- various jumping devices.
The elements can be individually combined in each course. There are three levels of difficulty. The height of the equipment to be overcome is also divided into three classes. Depending on the size of the dog, it is divided into the appropriate classes, small, medium, large. Dogs should have good basic obedience. Agility is suitable for dogs from twelve months.
Dog Dancing or Dog Dance
There are two classes of dog dancing: heelwork and freestyle. Both classes are carried out and assessed differently.
- Heelwork: prescribed elements such as certain figures or jumps;
- Freestyle: The dance expressiveness of dogs and humans is more in focus here.
There are no limits to the imagination to work out a common choreography for dogs and humans. It can be selected exactly to suit the dog. Dog dancing is suitable for almost all dogs, big or small, young or old. Humans and dogs work together in dog dancing.
Dog Frisbee comes from the USA and is also known as disc dogging. There are three disciplines in the sporting competition with the flying disc.
No combinations or processes are specified in freestyle. Dog and human show their own choreography for two minutes. Different throwing techniques and tricks are put together with the right music and harmonious transitions to an individual freestyle.
Each throw gives one point in the mini-distance if the dog catches the Frisbee in the air. The aim is to achieve as many points as possible in 60 or 90 seconds, as stipulated in the regulations. There is a marked playing field with different scoring zones for the game.
There is no time limit for the long distance. Here the target should be thrown as far as possible. There is only one point for the disc caught by the dog. The disc thrown the furthest and caught by the dog wins. There are three attempts available. At a football game in the United States, a dog caught a frisbee over 75 yards!
Tracking Dog Examination
One of the most demanding tasks for dogs is tracking down. Tracking dogs make optimal use of their excellent noses. You need proper training for this. It may look like a leisurely pastime in unploughed fields. But it’s an exciting sport. Dog handler and dog are highly concentrated at work.
Two fine sticks with corks on the tips mark the starting line. Another tracking expert laid the track in the field a few hours beforehand. The human gives his dog the start command. The dog picks up the track directly and lays down at the found object. The number of items increases depending on the level of difficulty. In FH 1 there are four items, in FH 2 there are seven. The dog must indicate them all on the way to the goal. He uses soil injuries and soil compaction for orientation. These left footprints of the tracker. Finding the track is a demanding task for the dog.
Tracking work is offered in many dog schools. It is a way of keeping the dog busy. Tracking is suitable for all dogs. There are several performance tests for committed human-dog teams who want to prove their skills.
Speed, play instinct, and the joy of retrieving are the basis for flyball. Dogs of all sizes and breeds can enjoy it. Flyball is a competitive sport. Two teams compete against each other on adjacent lanes. Each team has four dog-human teams. The dog has to overcome four hurdles alone and without the help of his human being and press a trigger on the flyball box. This is followed by the ejection of a ball that the dog has to catch. With the ball in his mouth, he runs over the hurdles back to the start/finish line.
Working Dog Sport
Working dog sport consists of three elements. Tracking, obedience, and protection belong in the eventing sport. The oldest dog sport demands a lot from dogs. Most of the breeds that belong to the Schutzhund breeds can be found here.
- Tracking work: tracking 400 to 800 paces in length and finding and displaying up to three objects
- Obedience: The dog should exactly, quickly, attentively, and happily carry out the commands from the dog handler. This includes being on a leash, free following, sitting, down and standing out of motion, and retrieving
- Protection service: an examination of the dog’s obedience in borderline cases. Tracking down apparent perpetrators and, depending on the situation, preventing or guarding their escape or preventing an attack. The handler’s discipline and the dog’s behavior are crucial here. The dog should be balanced, strong-nerved, self-confident, resilient, and have good communication with its handler.
Obedience includes obedience and the joyful cooperation between dogs and humans. Obedience, which originated in England, requires controlled behavior in various situations. Willingness to work, work speed, and precision are important when performing the exercises.
For obedience, the basic hearing signs must be completely mastered. This includes retrieving various materials such as wood, plastic, or metal. Distance control is particularly important in obedience. Humans steer their dog from a greater distance exclusively by means of audio and visual signals. The dog must react precisely to the instructions and switch between sitting, down, and standing. He must be able to differentiate between right and left since he is sent to different marking points. At the direction repeat, middle – right side – left side, to bring three dumbbells laid out. He is only allowed to bring the displayed object with him. Odor identification is also part of obedience. The dog has to find exactly the one from several identical objects that the person has touched before.
Obedience is a meaningful activity for dogs. It also strengthens distance control, which makes everyday life easier. The basic requirement is precise and regular training. The dog’s enjoyment of work should always be in the foreground.
First and foremost, rallying obedience should be fun. It is a combination of course and obedience exercises that require speed and precision at the same time. Rally Obedience is suitable for almost every dog owner and for most dogs. Only a few accessories are required. At the forefront is perfect communication between dog and human. You need to work together as a team.
Man and dog run through a course that has to be worked through quickly and cleanly. Each station is identified by a sign. This indicates what has to be done at the station. The sign also says in which direction to continue. Dog and humans are allowed to communicate with each other throughout the work. People can speak to, praise, and motivate their dogs at any time.
The tasks are classic elements of obedience. This includes sitting, down, and standing. There are also combinations of the individual elements and changes in direction, 90 °, 180 °, and 270 ° to the right and left or even 360 ° circles. Slalom through pylons, sending the dog ahead over a hurdle, or calling it up, can also occur. So-called staying and recall exercises are an integral part of the course.
Refusal to feed is a special exercise. The dog must walk past filled bowls without taking anything out of the bowls. The team will be judged on time and points for execution.
Rescue dogs are trained in the mantrail or area search. The rescue dog search can be carried out seriously in a rescue dog squadron or for the meaningful employment of the dog in a dog school.
- Mantrailing: The dog is looking for a certain person whom it identifies by a scent carrier;
- Area search: The dog searches for people in a large area. In doing so, he may also find people who are not “his” people to be searched for.
Dogs can be kept busy with rescue dog work. The search demands a lot from them.
Tournament Dog Sport
The tournament dog sport, or THS for short, is suitable for everyone who is looking for sport and fun with their four-legged friends. Formerly a popular sport, tournament dog sport is now athletics with dogs. There are competitions with other athletes, which are classified according to women and men and according to age groups. Sporting fairness is an important point. The supreme discipline in the THS is the four-way fight. These include obedience/submission, obstacle course, hurdles, and slalom.
The Combination Speed Cup (CSC) is a fast-paced relay race with hurdles and obstacles – three different obstacle courses each have to be mastered by three human-dog teams. This is about time and accuracy.
In the cross-country run, on the other hand, a distance of 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 meters has to be covered.
Newfoundland dogs and similar races are engaged in-water work in a meaningful and species-appropriate way. It is often not easy to find an opportunity for training in-water work. There aren’t that many opportunities to train yet. Under certain circumstances, owners have to accept a stretch of the way to get to a training ground. Waterwork is rescue dog work on the water. The dogs learn to save people from the water or to pull an inflatable boat ashore. The waterwork is also very demanding for dogs.
Greyhound racing can take place on fixed racetracks or while coursing. With the latter, a real hunt for rabbits is simulated in the open field. The oriental greyhounds like the Sloughi are particularly enthusiastic here. In the greyhound race, the dogs pursue a hunting dummy, regardless of whether on the track or in the open field. Since most greyhounds have a strong hunting instinct, it is hardly possible to let them off the leash when walking. Greyhound sport is a great way for you to really work out and run. Greyhounds need a lot of attention when coursing. You must not lose sight of the hunting object in the often confusing course.
There are different ways to practice dog sport. Either on foot or in a vehicle. Most people and dogs have a lot of fun. Since in this country you usually train on forest and field paths, you have to reckon with not coming home clean. And contrary to popular belief, pull dog sport is not only suitable for huskies and other sled dogs, but for every dog who likes to run. In this way, dogs can really work out, get rid of energy, and are used to capacity in a meaningful way, also mentally.
A suitable harness and anti-jerk leash are required for dog sports. Even “just trying it out” must never be tried on the collar or harness. The dog has to learn to listen to people and to implement the signals reliably and directly. For the dog sport, the dogs must be healthy and grown up in any case. Dogs pull up to four times their own body weight. Nordic dogs even manage nine times as much. In addition to the weight of the human being, there is that of the vehicle. But the dog does not pull upwards, but horizontally, which reduces the actual pulling weight. It gets more uphill, of course. Due to different levels of friction, depending on the surface, the dog has to be supported more or less by humans.
There are rope or pulka tensions. The latter takes place in a pulka rod or a tension bracket. A pull cord with a shock absorber is used to tension the rope. For companions with a bike antenna for the distance.
- Canicross: The dog is attached to the human lead belt. The dog runs ahead. Even small dogs can have fun here. The speed and stress for humans will probably only increase when a dog is tense and can actually pull.
- Bikejoring: Here the train vehicle is a bicycle. With active support while cycling, smaller dogs or older four-legged friends can also be used here.
- With the dog scooter, the dog is also tied up with a pull rope. The scooter is a kick scooter for adults. The dog can be supported by stepping along.
- A three-wheeled training trolley is used for the dog trike. Here the dog runs in pulka tension. Due to the weight of the dog trike, two dogs or a very powerful dog should be harnessed here.
- The Sacco Cart in a four-wheeled training cart. This is where the person sits. It is not possible to help out here, so two dogs or a very powerful dog should also be harnessed here.
There are numerous possibilities in dog sports where humans and dogs become a real unit and have fun together. This promotes the bond and ensures a harmonious togetherness, also in everyday life.