This is the latest from guest columnist, Melissa, who is a Pet-ology Expert and In-home Dog Trainer at Le Chic Pet in Issaquah. To get more training tips visit the LeChic website.
When people and dogs do things together it’s a good thing all around. It helps owner and pet communicate better; the dogs can learn a new skill and better manners. This makes the dog easier to live with and less likely to be given up. Most are fun for kids of all ages, plus as an added bonus, you can find new friends – people who share your interests and love of dogs.
These are just a few of the many activities you can take up with your pet. The winters are long, cold and rainy here in the NW and most clubs do a lot of indoor fun things. Kids love it and dogs too. So give one a try, and you’ll have a happier healthier pet.
Dock Dogs: I must admit this sport inspired this post. I just got back from watching Puget Sound Dock Dogs compete at the Washington Sportsmen Show in Puyallup. Does your dog like to swim? This might be the sport for you and your pup. Dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water. Labs and Retrievers may naturally excel but all breeds who like water are welcome to try.
Dog Carting: A sport in which our gentle giants excel. Do you have a Bernese Mountain Dog or Saint Bernard? They may be well-suited to this sport. Also known as dry land mushing, it is an activity in which a dog pulls a dogcart filled with supplies or firewood or sometimes people. “Draft dogs,” as they are called, are still in use in some parts of the world and can be a fun sport for our larger, furry friends.
Agility: Handler and dog work together to get through an obstacle course for both time and accuracy. Fun to watch and fun to participate in, dog agility is one of the most popular dog sports. Busy breeds excel at this sport particularly well. Take your Jack Russell Terrier, Border Collie or Sheltie for a fun run through a course. Through a tunnel, on a see-saw or over an a-frame, the courses are just complicated enough to require human help. This creates a more harmonious owner /pet relationship and helps improve communication
Earth Dogs: This sport tests the instincts and working ability of our terrier and Dachshund furry friends. These dogs were bred to hunt vermin and other rodents that live in underground dens. Earth dog involves man-made tunnels that the dogs must negotiate scenting their quarry. No animals are harmed in this sport but it can help give purpose to our more tenacious furry pals.
Nose Work: I tried this one with my Schnauzer/Poodle mix just for fun. Truthfully the hounds and Shepherds did better than she did, but it was fun to watch her use her natural scenting ability and try to hunt out treats and toys. It’s fun, burns energy and helps build confidence.
Herding: A competitive dog sport in which herding breeds move sheep or ducks around a field or large area. Have you ever had a Corgi or Collie who seemed to feel a need to herd your children around the house? Kids getting their heels nipped? Not quite sure why Fido is stalking all the neighborhood animals? Give him an outlet for all the instinctual behavior and learn how to herd.