- Obedience Competitions
These contests can be a fun challenge for dog owners who want to strengthen the bond with their canine friend. The American Kennel Club has different categories of competitions depending on the breed you own. Companion dogs, for example, can be taught to stand for examination, heel, be recalled and pass the Sit-Stay test.
- Agility Competitions
There’s also a competition if you want to exert your dog a little more. In these kinds of contests, dogs will be asked to go through obstacle courses by going through tunnels, jumping over obstacles and crossing high bridges. Since you’re going to communicate more with your furry friend here than in an obedience competition, this is a great activity for having a lot of fun.
- Tracking Competitions
If you want to have a great time with your dog while teaching it a valuable skill, training it for a tracking title is a great way to go. There are several titles you can aim for, ranging from the regular Tracking Dog title, which covers less than 500 yards of tracking, to the Tracking Dog Excellent title, which goes all the way up to 1,000 yards of an obstacle track.
- Hunting Tests
If you own a hound or a retriever, bringing your dog back to its ancestral roots is another good way to get your dog active. Like tracking competitions, this type of activity will help your dog to develop practical skills.
- Earthdog Tests
This kind of competition is for dogs such as dachshunds and terriers who were initially bred for hunting animals who live in tunnels or dens. If your dog likes to dig up the backyard, it may be that it needs an outlet for that instinct, and this is a good way to use it for an activity you two can do together.
- Lure Coursing
Maybe you’ve noticed that your dog is a speedster, and if you’re a hound owner, this is an activity to use their instinct to chase game across long distances. It’s actually possible to train your dog for endurance, enthusiasm, and speed.
- Schutzhund Training
This is another activity for dog owners who want more of a challenge, as this kind of training originated with the regimen German shepherd owners once used to breed their dogs as protection animals. Obedience and tracking competitions are also involved in this training exercise.
- Flyball Competitions
Flyball is relatively new to the world of canine competition. In it, a team of dogs crosses hurdles and retrieve a ball while returning over those hurdles. This is good if you want your dog to play in a team sport while you spend time with other dog owners.
Another new addition to the world of dog training comes in Canine Freestyle, a choreographed musical program performed by a dog and its handler together. Usually, basic obedience exercises are incorporated into the routines, although this looser performance allows for more flexibility and creativity in how the dog and the owner interact. This is an interesting alternative idea if you feel usual obedience training is too easy.
If you enjoy winter sports, and your dog likes to romp through the snow, this activity of skiing with your dog as the propeller is a new way to keep your dog active in the cold months. While there are competitive skijorers, this can also be done just for fun.