Being active is just as important for dogs as it is for us. As well as being beneficial for their physical wellbeing, it also stimulates them mentally and aids social development.
All dogs need to expend their energy, although some breeds like the Border Collie are much more active than others. Despite the size, breed or energy requirements of your dog, they should be taken for regular walks and/or exercise activities that suit their needs.
In fact, some dog owners choose to give their dogs exercise in a variety of ways to help with behavioural issues and release tension. Others do it to improve both their own fitness and that of their dog. Some owners are happy with just the simple daily walk. Read on to learn more about the most common sports you can do with your dog.
The concept of cani-cross is to link sports with nature. It's a discipline that you can do as a whole family, dog included! The principle is simple: while on a run, your dog is linked by a harness to you, or to your bike while cycling. This allows your dog to keep their cadence during the run and feel closer to you.
This discipline consists of an obstacle course that a dog must complete alone according to instructions. The aim of this activity is to develop the flexibility and agility of your dog as well as their ability to follow orders.
Agility training is popular amongst those seeking to form a stronger relationship with their animal. Agility competitions are also a popular pastime for many dogs and dog owners alike.
Frisbee isn't just a sport for humans to play in their gardens or down at the beach. You can also play this game with your dog! The principle remains the same: you throw the frisbee while your dog catches it and brings it back to you. The stronger your complicity with your dog, the more complicated or strenuous you can make the game.
Working with water
If your dog loves the water, this sport is for them. You can simply play for fun by throwing an object into the water for your dog to collect and bring back. Or, you can go a step further and get them trained up in lifesaving.
Otherwise known as dog dancing, this discipline allows you to find harmony with your dog by forming a partnership. Rhythmic obedience is a lovely way to exercise your dog (and potentially even make them famous if you've got yourself a video recording device!).
Precautions to take
If you wish to participate in any of these sports with your dog, be sure to visit the vet for a quick check-up beforehand, just to make sure that your pup is in tip-top condition.
It is preferable for your dog not to have eaten just before the activity in order to avoid vomiting. Hydrate your dog as much as possible and don't give them food immediately after exercising as this can cause stomach twisting that can be very painful.
Fit your sporting activities to the age of your dog - a young dog won't be able to complete the same kind of activities as that of an older dog, and vice-versa if they're much older.
Remember to warm up before exercising - both of you! You can go on a walk to do so, which can help prevent injuries during the activity. The weather and the temperature should also affect your choice in sport, but this shouldn't impact your warm-up!
Make sure that your dog is fully vaccinated ahead of time, and ensure that they are treated for ticks and fleas - dogs can catch these very easily if they come into contact with other dogs or infected areas.
Have you tried any of these sports with your dog?