Dec 7, 2023 6:08:38 AM
There are so many other activities we can do with our dogs, apart from taking them for a walk.
Let us take you through some of the other fun activities and sports available in the UK.
Dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes, so it is important to make sure that the activity suits them. There are a variety of activities to choose from, with many training clubs and professionals across the country to help get you and your dog started.
Canicross has grown in popularity over the last few years. It involves running with your dog along off-road trails. Your dog wears a specially designed harness, designed for them to comfortably pull you, to which a bungee lead is attached, which is then fastened to a running belt that you wear. It is a fantastic way to keep fit and exercise active dogs.
There are many clubs in the UK who hold classes from walk/jog to get you started and for your dog to learn how to run ahead of you.
If you are a more serious competitor, there are several dedicated canicross events held throughout the country.
More information can be found on the following websites:
Agility is a fast-paced sport where the dog must complete a series of different obstacles, in a set order, against the clock. At Agility shows, there are jumping classes and Agility classes.
The obstacles in jumping classes are different to Agility classes. They include jumps, weaves, and tunnels, but have no contact equipment in them.
As well as jumps, weaves and tunnels, Agility classes also include contact equipment. The contact equipment used are the a-frame, seesaw, and dog-walk. There is a marked area on both the up and down of the contact equipment that the dog must touch to avoid penalties.
Agility and jumping classes are split into various categories by size of dog and ability. Before you can compete with your dog, you must have them measured to determine in which jump height they can compete. Your dog also needs to be 18 months or over to compete.
The classes are then graded, starting at grade 1 for complete beginners all the way up to grade 7. You can only progress up through the grades by winning classes at Kennel Club shows.
Agility is a skill of obedience and speed. However, there are many who attend clubs just for fun. It is important to train your dog properly, to avoid injury, so we always advise attending approved training clubs. You can search for clubs on the Kennel Club website: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/search/find-a-club/
Flyball is suitable for virtually any breed of dog if they are fit and healthy. Different sized breeds can all take part, as all dogs compete over the same course with a concession made for smaller dogs - the jump height is lowered to the appropriate height for the smallest dog in the team. Your dog also needs to be 18 months or over to compete.
A flyball race sees two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51-foot-long course. Within a team, each dog must run over the jumps, trigger a Flyball box releasing a ball, retrieve the ball and then return over the jumps. The next dog is released, in relay fashion, to run the course but can't cross the start line until the previous dog has returned over the finish line. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error wins. Each race comprises up to five legs, and the team that wins the most legs win the race. Each flyball team consists of four dogs, plus up to two reserves that can be interchanged after each leg. An electronic judging system that uses lights and timing sensors is used on the start / finish line to determine accurate times, and the winner when both teams complete the course in quick succession.
For more information about Flyball, head over to the British Flyball Association’s website: https://www.flyball.org.uk/
Hoopers is a fun dog sport that’s ideal for dogs and owners of all ages and fitness levels. Dogs navigate a course of hoops, barrels, and tunnels, and is ideal for all sizes, breeds, and ages of dog as there are no jumps, contact equipment or tight turns.
The courses are designed to be flowing, which allows hoopers to be accessible for everyone. Hoopers is focused on the ability of dog and owner to work together as a smooth-flowing team so it’s a great bonding activity too.
For more information on how to participate, check out the Canine Hoopers UK website: https://www.caninehoopersuk.co.uk/
Scent work is when a dog uses its sense of smell to find a scent they have been trained to locate.
There are no obstacles or speed requirements in scent work, making it suitable for all sizes, breeds, and ages of dog. Your dog can work at their own speed to seek out the hidden odour.
It is all about your dog using their nose, so even blind or deaf dogs can participate!
This is a natural behaviour already exhibited by your dog, so training them to use their noses can offer great mental stimulation and build confidence if your dog is shy.
This sport is great fun, and you can even enter trials and gain qualifications!
For further information on how to get involved, go the Scentwork UK website: https://scentworkuk.com/
If you decide to take part in a dog activity or sport, especially a strenuous one, it is important to ensure that you provide your dog with the correct nutrition to support their energy requirements. Your local Trophy Nutrition Adviser is always on hand to help advise which recipe would be the best for your dog.
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