Basic Pet Care
Is your dog the athletic type or a couch potato? Regardless of a pet’s age, size or energy level (and your own!), you can find a physical activity for the two of you to participate in.
Dogs are good sports: Most love to run, jump and play. And active pet parents who involve their dog in sports find that it strengthens their bond, builds confidence and focus in the dog, aids in socialization and keeps dogs fit and healthy. Regular exercise is also recommended to help a chubby dog lose weight.
If you’re eager to give your dog a workout that goes beyond a long walk or a lengthy run in the local dog park, consider getting involved in one of the following activities.
K9 Nose Work
A dog’s nose is an amazing organ, able to pick up scents thousands of times better than a human’s. K9 Nose Work — inspired by working dogs that have been trained to detect anything from smuggled narcotics at airports to hurt humans at disaster sites — teaches family dogs to use their nose to seek out a hidden toy or reward. K9 Nose Work is one of those activities you can practice alone with your dog or become part of a team that competes with other dogs and handlers.
Find out more about K9 Nose Work
Fun and good exercise for both dogs and people of all ages and sizes, agility consists of leading your dog through an obstacle course that typically consists of a see-saw, flexible tunnels, height-adjustable jumps, skinny weave poles set up in a row, a tire hanging from a frame, and other objects to navigate. Your community may offer local classes or even have an agility park.
Find Out More About Dog Agility
Search for Agility in Your State
If your dog is a good learner who takes to training and already knows sit-stay, he may be a good candidate to begin rally obedience. This sport, which relies on trust and teamwork, is based on completing a continuous course with a handler that consists of 10-20 numbered stations, each requiring a different skill or exercise on the part of the dog.
Learn more about rally and how to get started
K9 Drill Teams
The synchronicity of a marching band + the discipline of a dog obedience trial + the glitz of a parade: That’s what a K9 Drill Team is like. A gathering of dogs and dog fanciers, a K9 Drill Team shows off a marching routine set to music. Their impressive, synchronized efforts are most often viewed at state fairs, parades and pet expos. Obedient dogs of any size and age who are comfortable around other dogs, people and music are ideal participants.
Watch a K9 Drill Team on YouTube
The Great Outdoors
If you and your dog are happiest together on your own, hiking is a heart-pumping way to have fun and get exercise. Consider outfitting your pooch with a doggy backpack so he can carry his own food, water and a collapsible bowl. And be watchful on the trail, keeping an eye on his paws for cuts or tenderness. If you plan to allow him off-leash, make sure beforehand that he’s microchipped in case you two adventurers get separated.