Getting started in dog sports

Getting started in dog sports

April 1st, 2011 by By by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services in Chattapets

If you are looking for something new and fun to do with your dog, then it's time to introduce your dog to the exciting world of dog sports. American Kennel Club (AKC.) Canine Partners offers three different activities you can choose from: rally, obedience and agility.

Not only is taking part in dog sports a great bonding activity for you and your dog, it provides you both with exercise and fun in the process. To help you get started, AKC Canine Partners offers the following tips.

- Start with the basics. If you haven't already, start out by training for the AKC Canine Good Citizen. (CGC) test. This ten-step test teaches dogs basic manners and lays the foundation for further training. Find a CGC evaluator online at

- Assess your dog's strengths. Before deciding what sport you'd like to try, see what your dog's strengths are. A dog with energy looking for a job to do might enjoy Rally, which requires him to complete basic skills on a timed course and is a stepping stone from the CGC test to higher levels of obedience. If your pooch has an intense desire to please, he may be best suited for Obedience, a sport where your dog must perform a set of exercises such as retrieving an object or sitting for certain periods of time. An extremely active and confident dog would excel at Agility, an obstacle course where your dog will go over jumps, weave through poles, run through tunnels and more.

- Find a local club. Local dog-training clubs often provide training classes for all different types of competition. These clubs also have "fun matches" where you and your dog can test your skills in the ring. You can find a list of clubs online at

For more information on how to have fun with your dog, visit the AKC Canine Partners website at


Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at