You see it on tv or on your social media stream - dogs jumping over bars at lightning speeds, twisting and turning and finally returning their full attention to their owner. Who hasn't wanted that relationship with their dog... One where owner and dog move in perfect sync together as if of one mind. And the truth of the matter is that this dream can be a reality for more dog owners than you may have thought possible. Here are 7 signs that your dog might make a great performance dog!
1. Your dog loves to look at you
If you catch your dog watching you, or gazing up at you from time to time, you dog is already on their way to having a career in competition/performance. In most of the sports that require precision and synchronicity, attention on their owner is of the utmost importance. Teaching your dog to look at you first in easy locations, and then in more challenging ones, will set you on the road to a deeper closer and more obedient relationship. Not to mention a sport like Obedience, Agility or Rally!
2. Your dog loves treats and toys
The fancy word for this is "drive". Basically it means motivation for what gets a dog excited. For most dogs, this is treats and toys. When a dog is motivated by these things, they are super easy to train. This means we can easily teach them all the complicated behaviors that go into dog sports and they're still going to be eager participants when it is time for you two to show your stuff. And if your dog is ball crazy, definitely check out Flyball!
3. Your dog loves to follow you
Does your dog follow you around your house like a shadow? Even into the bathroom? Ok mine too... Guess what!?! Following you is a HUGE asset to any dog training for dog sports! Regardless if the sport is Agility, Obedience, Rally, or Freestyle, a dog who wants to be close to their owner is huge boon and really puts you ahead of the training game.
4. Your dog loves to chase things
Sometimes called "prey drive", dogs who are in tune with their instinct to chase other animals can still make great competition dogs. That instinct is very important in sports to seek out animals or chase fake ones and can be hard to teach into dogs who are not already naturally interested. Next time your dog is stalking that bird in the yard or trying to catch that squirrel, take a look at some sports like Barn Hunt, or Lure Coursing.
5. Your dog loves to sniff
I have a few dogs who spend most of their walks with their nose skimming the ground. I'm sure you've met or even own that dog as well. There is a sport for these dogs too. 4-5 in fact!. From sports to sniff out rodents or special oils, to ones where they have to find human scent, there is something for every dog who has embraced their nose. Check out Barn Hunt, K9 Nose Work, Tracking, Obedience and more!
6. Your dog loves to run
I know, this one seems obvious, but seriously not every dog loves to run. But for the dog who could run all day, there are sports that they would excel at. Also you'd finally have a worn out dog at the end of the day! From chasing fake prey, to jumping and climbing, a dog who loves to move and is good at it, can shave off years of training. For a dog and owner who want to try running based sports, check out Agility, Disc Dog, Herding, Lure Coursing, etc.
7. Your dog loves to pull
Pulling can be annoying. Especially when it interrupts your stroll through the neighborhood. Perhaps you've practiced for years but your dog lives to keep moving. Perhaps your dog is actually gifted! There are many sports that can channel your dog's need to pull and best of all, teaching your dog when it is appropriate to pull can actually lessen the likelihood that they will then you don't want them to. Some great pulling sports include Joring, and Weight Pull.
So what sports can some or all of these signs be good for? Here is a list:
K9 Nose work
For more information about getting into competitive sports and how to train for them, check out these links:
Ready you get started? Check out our classes page!