The world of dog sports is diverse, exciting, and almost constantly growing. There is a fun activity for you and your pooch to explore seemingly no matter what interests you both most. Whether you’re into making a splash in dock diving sports or tearing it up on an agility course, there really is something for everyone. If you’re still looking for a dog sport that sparks your interest, check out these five that you probably haven’t heard about yet!
1. Musical Canine Freestyle
Ever dream of dancing with your dog? Musical Canine Freestyle may be your sport! It takes a lot of training and patience, but the payoff is truly unique. Freestyle dance is essentially achieved through training your dog a mixture of obedience and special tricks, ranging from easy to advanced techniques. After you’ve mastered your tricks, you work up to choreographing a routine to music and wowing the world with your dancing pup!
2. Barn Hunt
Barn Hunt is a relatively young competitive dog sport, but its origins hail from some of the most historical uses of dogs and their amazing natural abilities. Inspired by the work of “rat catcher” dogs who work to find and eradicate rats in countryside farms, Barn Hunt consists of a dog and handler team navigating a maze of hay bales and straw to sniff out rats, which are safely secured and hidden in breathable tubes throughout the course.
Ever wanted to get into herding, but you’re not so sure about being around actual livestock? Consider trying out triebball, a relatively new competitive sport from Germany which uses large exercise balls for dogs to “herd” versus sheep or cattle. The dogs must gather and drive the balls into soccer ball nets, going through various courses and navigating in particular directions based on the course and difficulty level.
4. Canine Parkour
Parkour got pretty popular through video sharing platforms such as YouTube. Watching the incredible acrobatic feats of humans bouncing over buildings and rails or climbing up walls took everyone by storm. What you may not know is that parkour made its way into the dog world as well, and it’s a pretty fun and creative physical outlet for energy-filled pooches! Dog parkour is sometimes referred to as urban agility and involves dogs climbing, jumping, scaling, balancing, and vaulting over a serious of obstacles in their environment.
5. French Ring
While protection dog sports are sometimes controversial, embracing and honoring working dog’s natural protective instincts and channeling them in a safe and controlled manner can make for a wonderfully strong connection with your dog. French Ring is a very high energy, fast-paced sport that includes incredible obstacles like wall-climbing, intense jumps, obedience work, and protection exercises from specifically assigned “threats” in the ring. The threat is typically another person dressed in protective gear, referred to as a decoy, who acts as an aggressor that the dog is encouraged to run out and bite, similar to what is seen in military and police work.