7 Fun Activities for Dogs
Mixed breeds and other non-registered dogs can compete and earn titles in a variety of sports.
Jean M. Fogle
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Dogs driven to follow their noses will be delirious for the sport of tracking. Deceivingly simple, tracking enlists your dogs incredible olfactory ability as it follows a human-scent trail to find an article at the end of the trail: an old glove or wallet. Equipment needs are minimal: a harness that allows free range of movement, a long lead (20 to 40 feet) and a few articles for the dog to find. AMBOR and MBDCA offer tracking titles for mixed breeds. If your dog constantly follows the enticing smells in your yard, it might be a good candidate for the sport of tracking.
Is retrieving a ball your dogs thing? High-energy, ball-driven dogs will find flyball a blast. Flyball is a relay race. One at a time, each dog leaps over four hurdle jumps (spaced 10 feet apart) in a 51-foot straight course. At the end of the hurdles is the flyball box. The dog hits a lever, which releases a tennis ball for it to catch. With the ball in its mouth, the dog then blasts back over the four jumps and crosses the finish line, which allows the next dog to explode over the line. Titles are offered through the North American Flyball Association (NAFA).
Agile dogs love agility, a timed obstacle course that consists of tunnels, jumps, weave poles and other challenging obstacles. Although AKC agility is only open to pedigreed pooches, the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) and United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) welcome all dogs, no matter their parentage. The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) also allows dogs of all breeds to compete in their agility events. If your dog loves to run, jump and follow commands, it might just be a future agility star.
Your tenacious terrier might find an outlet for its abundant energy in the American Working Terrier Associations (AWTA) go-to-ground den trials. These events require your dog to enter and run through a 30-foot, underground tunnel. The dog must reach the quarry (a safely caged rat) within 30 seconds, and bark or whine at the quarry (called working the quarry).
Terrier or Dachshund mixes that can fit into a 9-inch tunnel qualify to enter the den trials. If your terrier is always sticking its nose down gopher holes, and constantly on patrol for varmints invading its territory, it will likely enjoy den trials.
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