Before I became Chilli’s mummy I had no idea of all of the cool dog sports and activities that we could do together! My dear friend who became Chilli’s trainer introduced us to trick training (link to section), dog obedience, heelwork to music and dog agility. It was a revelation to me how much Chilli enjoys all of it! I had no idea that dogs love to work hard and learn and perform. So here’s a little about the different doggie sport categories.
As the name suggests Dog obedience competition is all about having a well trained dog whose abilities are put to the test during a live competition. This means that commands are followed quickly and cleanly and your dog is not distracted. It hinges on dog obedience training so the Kennel Club recommends you begin with preparing your dog to pass the Good Citizen Dog Scheme first. This already requires a certain level of obedience training. Then you will need to attend obedience classes with your dog. If this interests you please have a look here as to how to start https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/obedience/new-to-obedience/
Heelwork to music (HTM)
Musical canine freestyle or Heelwork to music (HTM) is an activity where you design a performance routine of up to 4 minutes during which you and your dog together perform certain moves to a piece of music. There are 2 categories: HTM and Freestyle heelwork to music or Freestyle dog dancing as it is also called. The freestyle version allows you to be much more creative in your routine. You only need to incorporate one third of set moves. I have watched Freestyle heelwork to music competition and Chilli and I have also competed with a routine of our own. We are also in the process of building a proper dance routine! I was also very fortunate to have seen the Crufts heelwork to music finals live in Birmingham. It is truly amazing what beautiful, intelligent and creative routines people create with their dogs. From costumes to props to the choice of music. You’ll see dogs flying over their owners and much more. If you’d like more information on how to get started have a look at the Kennel Club’s info page: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/heelwork-to-music/new-to-heelwork-to-music/
Dog agility is an amazing sport for dogs who like to be dogs! Agility training is done on a sort of obstacle course which you have to guide your dog through and in competition it is timed. A typical dog agility course consists of: agility jumps, dog tunnel, weave poles and a sea saw.
The dog agility training begins by introducing your dog to each obstacle. Dogs need to learn to jump the hurdles not walk around them, to discover that the tunnel is fun and not scary, to learn how to weave in and out of the poles and to climb on the sea saw and use their weight to make it tip so they can continue the course. It greatly depends on the breed and nature of your dog if he or she is suitable for agility. Chilli for example loves it! He is a tiny Chihuahua but his spirit is an active sporty dog and he has the strength to perform. I remember when he discovered how cool the tunnel is! He would zoom through it. If it’s hard to find a dog agility course near me, I suggest to buy a few props and go to a park and get started. That’s what we did 🙂