By Linda Cole
Earthdog trials are geared for go to ground Terriers that have been bred to root out small prey from underground dens. Dogs in the Terrier Group are hardworking canines bred to hunt vermin, but breeds that don’t go to ground aren’t eligible for Earthdog trials. A challenging new dog sport called Barn Hunt works off the basic concept of Earthdog trials, with a twist, and is open to all canines.
Dogs have an innate desire to hunt, regardless of what they were bred to do. Even companion breeds from the Toy Group have a healthy prey drive, and some breeds are good ratters. Miniature Pinschers were originally bred to hunt rats and small prey, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a true hunting dog that has retained his Spaniel traits.
The Standard Schnauzer, German Pinscher and Brussels Griffon have a history of hunting vermin, but they don’t go to ground to flush out prey. Barn hunt is designed to give dogs that have traditionally been used to hunt vermin above ground a sport where they can show off their rat hunting skills.
By Linda Cole
When people think of a specific dog breed for the sport of agility, the image of a Border Collie often comes to mind. The dog’s piercing eyes are focused on his human partner as he waits to start his run. Both dog and owner are pumped and ready to go, eager to test themselves against the clock. The dog’s job is to race around an obstacle course as quickly as he can, taking direction from his partner. The Border Collie excels in this fast-paced and demanding sport, but there are other breeds that have the speed, intelligence and determination to be agility champs.
Aside from being a fun way for a dog to burn off energy, agility is a sport that builds confidence and patience. One look into their intense, eager eyes and you just know that agility is something dogs truly love to do. A paralyzed Border Collie named Zip enjoys agility so much that she continues to run courses in her wheelchair!
Members of the Herding Group have what it takes to excel in agility. These breeds were developed to move livestock and can make sharp turns. They have plenty of stamina and speed, can think on their own and are workaholics who follow commands from their handler. They are intelligent and quick to learn new things. This group includes the Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, German Shepherd, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog and Australian Shepherd. Even the short-legged Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi can succeed in this dog sport.
By Langley Cornwell
Watching super dog-athletes at events like the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition is inspiring. The K9 Frisbee Dog Entertainment blows me away every year. Likewise, when I watch videos of dogs like Wallace, Bling Bling, Torch, Shiloh and Gracie performing amazing Disc Dog feats, I’m blown away. The way the canine athletes look at their handlers with such concentration and pure trust says it all. These dogs are focused on doing exactly what their person tells them to. At the risk of sounding corny or completely nuts, the look those dogs give their humans communicates the kind of love that can only come from a dog.
We play a very rudimentary version of Frisbee with one of our dogs. Our dog loves to chase the disc but rarely catches it in the air. Even so, she brings it right back so we’ll throw it again. She is a fine athlete; she’s very agile and can jump amazingly high. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I would take the time to teach her, she could learn to be a fine backyard Disc Dog.
Because the name “Frisbee” is a registered trademark, the sport is officially known as Disc Dog. Opinions vary on the specifics of training your pup to be a Disc Dog. It’s like all dog training; there are multiple paths to the same goal. Generally speaking, this method seems to be the most common:
Use a disc specifically designed for dogs, because human Frisbees are not suitable for canine play.
Begin by introducing your dog to the disc. One of our dogs was interested in the toy immediately, but we had to take extra steps to entice our other dog. If your dog doesn’t take to it immediately, make the disc desirable somehow. Recommendations include waving the disc temptingly while talking in an excited voice, giving your dog a treat (and/or a click if you’ve clicker trained him) when he touches it, smearing peanut butter on the edges of the disc or rubbing a hotdog around the rim. Some people report using the disc as a food bowl and allowing the dog to eat out of it.
By Michelle Martin, CANIDAE Team Member
When you ask the average dog lover what agility is, they can probably give you a general description, but ask them what Flyball is and you usually get a response like “Fly…What??” My goal today is to introduce readers to the wonderful, action packed sport of Flyball! It’s a fast paced dog relay race that sets two teams of four dogs each, to race each other. Flyball is a fun sport that combines agility and an advanced game of fetch.
Flyball is a competitive team sport that was invented in California in the late 70’s. Herbert Wagner was credited for creating the first ever Flyball box when he showed millions of Americans his dogs playing Flyball on the Johnny Carson Show. Soon after, dog trainers were making their own Flyball boxes and in the early 80’s the sport became so popular that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) was formed; they are a know worldwide. Today we have two associates that host Flyball competition, which are NAFA and U-Fli.
Flyball races place two teams of four dogs and handlers each to their own lane, racing side-by-side, over a 51-foot long course. Each dog runs in a relay fashion over a set of four jumps in a straight line, and then they hit the box, which triggers the ball to pop out. The dog then catches the ball (on the “fly”) and returns over the jumps with the ball to their handler. The next dog is released but cannot pass the start/finish line until the previous dog has. The goal here is to have the dogs cross as close as possible to the start/finish line. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error is the winner of that race. If you could take a guess how fast this could be done, what would it be… 1 minute…30 seconds? Can you believe the fastest that Flyball has been raced so far was clocked at 14.690 seconds! This is the world record held by a club called Touch n Go during a 2011 competition.
Like I mentioned, a Flyball team consists of 4 dogs running; usually one of those four dogs is a lot smaller than the others. People watching a competition always wonder why there is a small dog on the team. They think we are just being “nice” to let the little dogs play. In actuality the hurdle heights are determined by the smallest dog on the team, which is then called the “height dog.” Dogs and their owners really like having small dogs on the team because it lowers down the jumps, which usually means the big dogs can run faster! So we big dog owners really like having the little dogs play.
By Langley Cornwell
Treibball is a competitive canine sport that originated in Germany. The sport is designed to give high-energy, active dogs the mental and physical stimulation they need to be happy, well-adjusted animals. In addition to the many benefits the sport offers our canine friends, Treibball is also good for pet owners – it’s a fantastic way to form a deep and abiding bond with your dog! The sport fosters communication and teamwork between a dog and his owner/handler on many levels.
What exactly is Treibball? Here are answers to common questions about the sport.
Who can participate?
The activity is good for dogs of all ages and sizes. It’s especially suited for active working dogs that do well off-leash. But don’t count out dogs that require special consideration because Treibball is a great activity for building confidence in shy dogs. It can also help reactive dogs with their impulse control issues. In fact, any dog that loves to play chase games, herd, or to use their intelligence and problem-solving skills will enjoy Treibball.
Is competing in Treibball similar to Agility?
Not really. Competing in Agility requires specialized equipment. Additionally, Agility requires a certain level of physical adeptness from the handler, who must have the ability to run with the dog and direct the dog through each obstacle. Treibball is good for encouraging the same type of teamwork and communication that Agility promotes, but it doesn’t require the same level of physical exertion from the handler.
What equipment is required for Treibball?
This is another thing that makes Treibball so accessible; the equipment is easy to find and relatively affordable. You use the same balls that humans use for exercising and stretching, those standard inflatable exercise balls (also called Swiss balls or Pilates balls) available at sports stores and department stores.
For Treibball, you want to use a ball that is at least shoulder height to your dog. Since these balls come in heights from 45 cm to 75 cm, if you are teaching Treibball to a tiny breed dog, you can start with a standard playground ball.
The sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, selects one reader every three months to receive a free six month supply of their premium quality pet food. The winner is chosen at random from every new reader who subscribed via email during the past quarter. The winner gets to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food.
The most recent winner is Benny Wong from Pasadena, California. Benny is very familiar with the CANIDAE brand and has chosen to receive free dog food. “We definitely feed our dogs CANIDAE! We use both the All Life Stages and Grain Free pureELEMENTS™ formulas,” said Benny. A longtime dog lover, Benny is also an active member of a Disc Dog club and competes regularly with his crew of canine athletes. “With 5 dogs, we sure can use this free food,” said Benny.
Here’s what Benny told us about himself and his canine family:
“I have been in the disc dog community since 1991. I belong to a disc dog club called Disc Dogs in Southern California. I’ve been president off and on for 4 years, and currently I’m the clinic and competition coordinator for the club.
My first dog Sammy, a poodle-terrier mix, started my addiction on wanting more dogs. He was my wife’s lap dog that I converted into a disc dog. We adopted him in 1990 at 8 weeks and he was so perfect for us. We took him everywhere, and he took our heart at the age of 15 1/2.