About Dog Sports
What Are Dog Sports?
Dog sports are activities that have been developed to take advantage of your dog’s natural abilities (e.g. agilitiy, tracking, fetching, etc). They run the gambit for level of training needed. Some examples, FastCAT (lure coursing) requires no training, Nosework can be trained at home/online, and Agility (generally) requires an in-person training facility and 1+ years to train.
There are tens of thousands of events held each year in the US, where your dog can use their skill in a competition (or “Trial”). You and your dog win Ribbons, Certificates, (or other awards) by winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and/or successfully complete the event per the rules of the sport. As you successfully complete (or “Qualify”) in the Trials your dog progresses in the sport difficulty.
In addition to competitions there are also Events help as practice in a Trial environment, or just for ‘fun’. Each sport has different names for these events. But you might hear them called Fun Run for Lure Coursing, Sniff ‘n’ go for Nosework, or Agility Fun Match.
How much time do these sports take?
When my son just started grade school we put him into a variety of extracurricular activities. We did a lot of soccer, it generally consisted of practice one day a week during the weekday, and one day on the weekend was a game. I feel like it is similar for dog sports. I researched the different types of dog sports and trainers/classes, and I figured out what he enjoyed and excelled in. And the time commitment was once a week practice, sometimes more at home. And on the weekend there might be a Trial/Event.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits for trying dog sports, it is an outlet for physical and/or metal exercise. And learning new skills and practicing with your dog is great a great bonding time; it builds trust and you and your fuzzy partner learn to read each other.