We love the Olympics! Whether we are athletes ourselves or just appreciate cheering on our teams and seeing the amazing feats they can do - it’s a great worldwide event. There are different times and seasons for certain sporting events for people, but did you know that dogs have something similar to the Olympics to show off their great skills? Yes, there are dog sporting events! So what kind of competitions do dogs have? We have a list of six different events dogs train and participate in!
1. Dog Agility
Agility is moving one’s body in an efficient and balanced way, not just quick, and the same can be said for dog agility. They have to maneuver through, over, and around different obstacles and are judged for their speed and accuracy. This takes a great bond between an owner and their dog to communicate fast and get through a course smoothly. These types of trials don’t just take physical strength but mental concentration as well. Some of the obstacles involved can be hurdles, poles, A-frame structures, elevated walkways, and tunnels.
2. Flyball Competitions
The commands used for this competition are sit, stay, and heel. A dog must be fit to compete in flyball effectively. Breeds known to have breathing issues, like short-nosed dogs, would not be suitable for this sport. To break it down, there are two teams of four dogs each. Each team races in a lane with four jumps and a flyball box at the end that holds a ball. Each dog must run the course in a relay-style fashion, and the first team to have all dogs complete the run are the winners.
Dog obedience takes a great deal of discipline from the dog and a good connection between the handler and their dog to achieve that. For obedience, dogs start with a perfect score, and for every error, points are deducted. With each level of competition (beginner to advanced), there are different commands that dogs must do to match that level.
4. Scent Work
This sport channels what dogs love to do the most: sniff. This is an especially great sport for breeds like hounds bred for their scenting abilities. We typically think of scent work as what police dogs do when looking for drugs or missing people. Dogs have to search for a specific scent or odor in scent work and locate the source. This sport gets their mind working and can be done by any breed.
5. Dock Diving
Dock Diving is a distance sport. An owner will throw a toy into (usually) a pool of water and see how far the dog can go. The dog that goes the farthest wins. A different version of dock-diving is Air Retrieve, where a dog knocks off or grabs a rubber toy that is four feet above the water. The toy is moved farther away from the starting point with each successful catch.
6. Disc Competitions
There are different kinds of disc competitions. One revolves around distance, where the owner throws the disk, and the dog catches it. The other is a little more creative. The owner still throws a disc, but this is a more choreographed version of throwing and capturing that is sometimes set to music. This one is fun to watch and lets a dog/owner duo show their stuff and have a good time performing.
The Olympics is a great way to display the fantastic things that people can do. Dog competitions reflect the great things that dogs can do and show the great connection between dogs and man. Both are great entertainment for the whole family, and it’s great to root for your favorite competitor - whether they be athletes or canine!