While many dogs are happy to be couch potatoes while their humans work all day, there are also lots of dogs who need a job to do. Rather than herding sheep, sniffing out bombs, or flushing birds, dog sports are a great way to channel that extra brains & energy into a fun hobby for both of you! Many of them can also be practiced at home with minimal space and equipment- yes, even agility!
Something special happens between owners and their dogs when they train for an event. As you and your dog develop the skills necessary for each sport- and then demonstrate what you’ve learned- you experience a sense of accomplishment like no other. With your dog beside you at each turn, you become a true team in every sense of the word.
Not sure which sport is the right fit for your dog? Come volunteer at one of our upcoming events and get a front-row seat to the fun of a trial! You're also welcome to observe a class to see how they run- just give us a heads up and leave your dog at home.
My dog is a rescue/mixed breed. Can he still participate?
Absolutely! Once you're ready to compete, you'll need to register your dog with whatever organization you want to trial with. All of the main host organizations are open to mixed breeds! The exception is conformation- you need a registered, intact purebred for conformation shows.
My dog is nervous around other dogs/weird noises/new people. Are sports a good idea for him?
Yes! You'll want to chat with your manners trainer about which sport will be the best fit, but all sports are great for confidence building.
I don't want to compete in anything. Should I still take sports classes?
Of course! Whether or not you plan on competing, training for a sport gives your dog extra mental stimulation and helps decrease boredom behaviors like inappropriate chewing, digging, and barking. And depending on which sport you pick, the training can have real-world benefits- Rally and obedience are great for future therapy dogs, and some of our nosework students have taken up antler collecting on hikes!
I already know I want to do agility. Why does my dog need to take manners classes first?
Agility is an extremely exciting sport for many dogs, and it's important that our students know how to behave themselves! You'll need a rock-solid "leave it!" at trials, a bombproof sit-stay for the start line, and most importantly, your dog absolutely needs to be able to pay attention to you around other dogs and people. The best way to learn those skills is in a manners class!
When are competitions? How do they work?
Most trials are Friday-Saturday-Sunday, though there are occasionally Thursday and Monday trials as well! Depending on what sport you're in, you'll want to learn what organizations host trials in this area and keep tabs on when they are. Ask your trainer for more information!
How much does it cost to do dog sports?
That depends entirely on your goals! Most of our sports classes are $160 for 6 weeks on an ongoing schedule. Different sports have different entry fees- typically around $20 to $30 per run. Most organizations require 3 qualifying runs (Qs) under at least two judges to earn a title, at which point you'll move to the next level.
Can kids compete in dog sports?
Yes! Kids between the ages of 9 and 18 can compete as junior handlers. Juniors compete just like adults- they run the same courses and compete for the same titles.