Sports aren’t just for humans, dogs can try them too! They’re fun and keep your furry friend active whilst making a great bonding experience and satisfying your dog’s natural tendencies.
So, which sport is right for your four-legged friend? Let's have a look at what's available:
RUNNING & JOGGING
IDEAL FOR: Breeds with high energy levels, short attention spans, jumpers, overweight and/or medium-large dogs.
NOT IDEAL FOR: Puppies, seniors, aggressive/unsociable dogs
High energy dogs need to spend the calories that a good run will use or you might find that energy being used on something desctructive (like digging up the garden). The great thing about running is that you don’t need more than a leash and a pair of sneakers. Just keep in mind the capabilities of your dog and don’t push the little ones to go further than they are able – those tiny little legs take many more steps than you do!
IDEAL FOR: Mixes, puppies, seniors, smart/clever dogs, escape artists, loyal dogs and toy-crazed pooches
NOT IDEAL FOR: Dogs that are prone to joint issues or hip/elbow dysplasia, lazy dogs
Leading your dog through the obstacles in a race against the clock requires many skills from both you and your pooch. It’s a great team sport that will make you both burn energy! Poles, dog walks, jumps, tunnels, tyres, teeter boards and more make your pet use their body and mind to succeed and all equipment can be adapted to suit your dog’s size and breed! You can even build one at home to practice!
CATCH THE FRISBEE (FLYING DISC)
IDEAL FOR: Jumpers, toy lovers, fetch lovers
NOT IDEAL FOR: Toy breeds, lazy dogs, Seniors, dogs that are prone to joint issues or hip/elbow dysplasia
Available in competition form, Frisbee, or flying disc, is an event that tests accuracy, time, distance, zoning and also freestyle. If this is not your thing, then just get out a Frisbee and show your furry friend a good time at the park!
IDEAL FOR: All breeds, mixes/purebreds, bored dogs, seniors, friendly dogs
NOT IDEAL FOR: Entire males or females, aggressive/anxious dogs, puppies, dogs prone to injury
Dogs are pack animals and if your dog is well socialised and friendly with other dogs and people then the off-leash park is for you! It’s also a great way to keep them fit, socialised and looking forward to their walkies!
IDEAL FOR: Most breeds, water babies, fetch and toy lovers
NOT IDEAL FOR: Dogs that are prone to joint issues or hip/elbow dysplasia, puppies, seniors
Judged by distance and/or height, dock jumping is a great water sport where dogs aim for a toy that’s thrown into water. It’s also a fun spectator sport for dog lovers!
IDEAL FOR: Herding and working breeds, Collies, German Shephers, Sheepdogs, Cattledogs and some mixed breeds.
NOT IDEAL FOR: Puppies, seniors, toy and small breeds
Herding dogs are naturally ingrained with the instinct to herd. You may even recognise that “circling” around people and other dogs while they are at the park. This is a more serious sport for dog owners and takes some training for those who don’t have a natural herder. In this sport, your dog will go out and safely herd a group of livestock to a desired location.
This list is by no means comprehensive, so we recommend you having a look at what events are available locally to you!
Looking after your pet’s natural ability to play and exercise in a way that satisfies their inbred instincts is a great way to keep them happy and even stop bad behaviours from forming. Always keep in mind to start slowly before each exercise session so your dog doesn’t end up sore the next day.
A tired dog is a good dog!
DISCLAIMER: The advice given in this article is of a general nature. Pet Guardians Australia recommends a health check with your local vet at least once a year for advice pertaining to your pet's individual circumstances.