Activities & Sports You Can Do With Your Dog
Now that you’ve adopted a dog from our shelter, you may be wondering what to do with him. You’ve just found out that you can legally only romp with your new friend off leash at a dog park. Restaurants and stores don’t allow pets inside for health code reasons. And not all your friends appreciate you showing up to visit with Fido in tow. So what’s there to do with your new four legged family member? A lot – if you think Canine.
For the energetic dog and/or dog owner, the answer lies in becoming involved in one or more Canine Sports. Learning a new sport with your dog is an excellent way of strengthening the bond that’s developing between you. It’s also a fun way to teach your dog manners and proper canine social skills. Below is a brief description of some of the canine sports that are taught and practiced locally and a few of the area clubs and instructors that you can contact for information on classes. But be forewarned - canine sports are addictive. Once you and your dog start into them, your family and friends may never see you again because all your nights will be spent practicing in class, and all your weekends will be spent competing at events. Have fun!
Obedience training is the cornerstone for almost all other canine training. Once your dog has a basic foundation in obedience, he can either branch out to the other sports or fine tune his training for high level competition. You can find a beginning obedience class at your local pet store, through your city recreation guide, or even at our facility. There are also some canine clubs in the county that teach upper classes aimed at competition. A few of these are:
Rally is a relatively new sport based on obedience. It utilizes traditional obedience commands but the dog and handler move through a predetermined course at their own pace, similar to rally-style auto racing. Your dog is on or off leash, depending upon the level of competition.
With Agility, the handler directs the dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs are run off leash with no food or toys as incentives. The handler can neither touch the dog nor the obstacles. Consequently, the handler's controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals.
In Flyball, teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of small hurdles, to a box that releases a ball when the dog presses a spring loaded pad. The dog catches the ball and then races back across the hurdles to their handlers with the ball.
The newest of canine sports, “Doggie Dancing” is a mixture of obedience, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between a dog and its handler.
If your dog is from the Herding Group of breeds, he can try the real thing just a short drive away.
Okay, so it’s not an official canine sport, but if your dog loves to catch Frisbees, why not go for it?
If you and your pup are not quite up to the energy output of Canine Sports, but you still want to work together on training goals, you may want to look into:
Canine Good Citizen
The American Kennel Club has a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The CGC Program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. Passing this two part test is a good step toward you and your dog becoming a volunteer team in hospitals and rest homes.
The Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association
The VC Dog Fanciers Association is a registered club of the American Kennel Club. Individual members represent specific breeds and breed clubs. VCDA holds two multi-day, nationally recognized all breed shows a year. VCFA also generously supports our shelter animals’ Purebred Spay Neuter Fund.