Sports Your Dog Will Love

Sports Your Dog Will Love

You can easily teach dogs to play any number of exciting sports that are great fun for you and your pup. In some cases you may need special accessories or a particular location, but if you’re creative, you can train them at home too. It’s not all about competition, some keen sports stars never take part in organized events, but many dogs recognize that they are competing and really enjoy it – especially when they win! Here are some of the most popular canine sports.

Agility is the most popular of the modern sports for dogs. The discipline first appeared at Cruft’s in 1977, with a small hurdle race for dogs. The dogs seemed to like it and the sport became (literally) a runaway success. Dog agility is a sport in which a dog moves through an obstacle course with the guidance of his handler. Dogs run off leash, so the handler’s only controls are voice and body language, requiring exceptional obedience training of the animal. In competition, both accuracy and speed are important.

Dogs just love flyball – and it’s a great sport to watch as well as play! Flyball is a race involving two teams of four dogs. The dogs spring over a series of jumps (usually four), run to a box, activate a catapult machine with their forepaws, catch the ball that flies out and race back to the start. To do its best the dog has to not just clear the hurdles, but keep a smooth approach and landing to clear the maximum distance in a minimum of time. The turn at the box can mean the difference between winning and losing, so a lot of effort goes into teaching the dog to do it well.

A more relaxed sport, Obedience nevertheless requires extremely high levels of concentration and motivation from both dogs and their owners. The sport involves elementary disciplines such as ‘Sit’, ‘Down’, or ‘Heel’ and retrieving. But it progresses to cover tests of character, like controlling dogs at a distance.

Flying disc
Flying Disc is another of the dog sports that catches the eye, although you’ll probably know it better as playing Frisbee in the park! Competitively the catch and retrieve event is the backbone of the sport. It consists of a timed round where teams of one dog and one thrower, attempt to make as many successful throws/catches as possible before time runs out – rounds usually last one minute. Teams score more points for longer throw/catch combinations, so watch out for some serious party tricks!

Heelwork to music
Popularly known as ‘Dog Dancing’, this fascinating activity has recently developed and expanded very rapidly. Speed and punctuality aren´t important, but cooperation and co-ordination between dog and owner are vital to success. The dog and his owner make one team and dance according to the music.

[Source: PURINA]

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Doggy Duathlon in NYC

Doggy Duathlon in NYC

Boo, a 5-year-old black Labrador Retriever, and his owner, Stephen Meneely, are training for the IAMS Doggy Duathlon World Championships, part of the New York City Triathlon, which takes place July 20.

Meneely and Boo are running the race to benefit the Marshfield Food Pantry and raise awareness about hunger on the South Shore. “It’s all about the food pantry. It’s not about me. It’s not about publicity. It’s not about the dog,” he said. “This is going to affect a lot of people in Marshfield.”

Meneely, a software writer who has done about 100 triathlons, said he found out about the Doggy Duathlon when he tried to sign up for the sold-out New York City Triathlon. “We’ve been looking forward to this day ever since,” he said. “I’d rather do it for a charity and have it focus on the dog and a charity.”

This summer, the two have been training together in Duxbury Bay, sometimes with other South Shore triathletes. They also walk together for several miles a day. “I take him swimming as often as I can, wherever we go,” Meneely said. “He’s come to a lot of local races with me.”

Meneely and Boo will compete with 26 other pairs in the July 20 race, which includes a 10-kilometer run around the northern loop of Central Park. The Doggie Duathlon champion wins The Rembrandt Cup. The race was also supposed to include a 1,500 meter swim in the Hudson River, with the dogs in life jackets, but that portion was canceled this week due to logistics. The day before, Meneely said, he and Boo will run in the Chipotle Underwear Run.

He said the Doggie Duathlon will probably be Boo’s last race, especially with the heat of training in the summer. “He’s getting a lot of white hairs,” Meneely said. “It really takes its toll on a black dog. It’s brutal for him.” For more information on the IAMS Doggie Duathlon, click here.

[Source: The Patriot Ledger]

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World Record Walking Dogs

World Record Walking Dogs

The Great North Dog Walk demolished its own Guinness World Record for the largest dog walk in the world, as a staggering 12,339 pooches pounded The Leas, representing 162 breeds.

Last year, 10,272 dogs took part, spread across 154 different breeds.

A delighted Tony Carlisle, founder and organizer of the 3.5-mile walk, said: “I’m just so proud we’ve done it again. We’re the biggest and best in the world.

“It was great to see the deputy mayor swelling with pride. It’s fantastic for the borough – what an accolade to have for South Tyneside!

“The event is getting bigger and better. This really makes all the hard work everyone has put in worth it. It’s like winning the lottery, only better.”

This year, a further three world records were broken in the sub-categories.

Steve Wilkinson, 46, of Jarrow, broke his own record of 6m 12s with his dog Blue, for the fastest senior doggy mile. He reached the mile mark nine seconds faster than last year. The 2008 event saw a junior champion for the first time ever in the Under-16s World Trophy. Adam Wright, 15, from South Shields, reached the mile in 6min 4sec with his dog Lily. The senior record for the course was broken by Chris Tillbrook with his pet Cassie, when they crossed the finish line in 18m 34sec. The fastest woman was Vicky Thompson, who came in at 21min 12sec.

Deputy Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun John Anglin, officially started the walk. Before the ribbon was cut, he said: “This is a fabulous event. It’s amazing to think that on the first walk there were just 13 dogs taking part.

“Last year there were over 10,000, which just shows you how far it has come.

“Over the years, the Americans have tried to beat us, but we’ve out-performed them every time.

“This event has a staggering 12 world records, and I hope we beat it again this year.

“This event is also so good because of the money it raises for dog charities, which also help people as well.”

Little Jack Russell Bobby looked as cool as they come, as he crossed the finish line wearing a top which declared ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’. His owner, Donna McVey, from South Shields, said: “This is the third time we’ve done it and the record’s been broken every time. Bobby must be a lucky charm.”
[Source: The Shields Gazette]

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