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Get Ready to Play: The Ultimate Guide to the Top 11 Dog Sports

From the classic dog agility to the more obscure sled dog rallies, the incredible range of dog sports is inspiring. We love nothing more than seeing dogs and their owners embrace quality time together, bonding and having fun.  

Not only do these activities provide a great opportunity to bond with your pup, they also help build trust and confidence between the two of you. 

We’ve done the research and discovered the top 11 dog sports that are sure to get you and your dog off the couch and into the game! 

Unleash the fun with the top 10 dog sports!

1. Dog agility

​​Agility is a great way to build a bond between you and your dog, as well as expend energy and make life more fun. 

It’s a dog sport that combines teamwork between human and dog. You can create agility courses at home for some friendly competition, or join agility competitions both locally and globally.

Tap into our beginner’s guide to dog agility training here. 

2. Heelwork to music

Heelwork to Music is a fast-growing dog sport that combines obedience training with a twist – you choose a piece of music and choreograph a routine to it while your dog displays their obedience skills.

Heelwork to Music is great for all levels, from novice to experienced handler. And with classes and clubs up and down the country, you'll be able to join in on the fun. 

Plus, who knows – you might be the one competing at Crufts next year!

Learn more about heelwork to music here.

3. Trick Training for dogs

Teaching your dog a few tricks is a great way to keep them entertained, mentally stimulated, and to relieve pressure. With many areas of dog training, there is a big focus on the outcome. But with trick training, the main goal is fun! 

It doesn’t matter if your dog gets it right, it’s all about spending time together and enjoying the activity. With a little bit of practice and patience, no dog is too old, big, or small to learn new tricks! 

Get started with 3 easy dog tricks you can teach today

4. Scentwork

Scentwork training is an engaging and rewarding activity that taps into your dog's incredible sense of smell. This type of training, teaches dogs to identify and locate specific scents hidden in various environments.

dog sniffing underneath a log

By harnessing your dog's natural instinct to follow scents, scent detection training provides mental stimulation, builds confidence, and strengthens the bond between dogs and their handlers.

It can be adapted for dogs of all ages and abilities. Whether it's for fun, competition, or even search and rescue work - scentwork offers dogs a fulfilling and purposeful outlet for their natural olfactory expertise.

Learn more with our beginner's guide to scent training for dogs. 

5. Flyball

Flyball is a fast and friendly dog sport that involves dogs racing against each other through an obstacle course. Your dog’s task is to race the clock and retrieve a ball from a special box, and sprint back to you to return it. It’s a fun and competitive dog sport that burns energy and develops new skills.

Flyball can be a hugely enjoyable sport for dogs and their owners alike. Once the basics have been mastered, you get the chance to join a club and practice regularly – for competitions or just for fun. 

It's a great way to bond with your dog and have fun while also providing them with physical and mental stimulation! 

Discover the 5 signs your dog would be perfect for flyball. 

6. Dog Parkour

Dog Parkour is a low-impact sport that can easily be done in any open space and is great for building confidence and having fun! 

Dog Parkour is suitable for all dogs, no matter the age or breed, and no special equipment is required. All you will need is some sort of motivator and reward for your dog - we recommend using an interactive tug toy as a reward at the end of each exercise.

Learn more about getting started with dog parkour here. 

7. Bikejor

Bikejor is a super fun dog sport that’s great exercise for dogs that love to run. You ride a bike with your dog attached to a special harness, and they pull you along!

You’ll need to trust your dogs to obey your cues, and be prepared to get very wet and muddy! You'll also need a good sense of humour and lots of energy. Bikejor is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s an awful lot of fun!

Learn more about bikejor here. 

8. Canine Hoopers

Hoopers is a great, low-impact dog sport that’s becoming increasingly popular. It’s even made its way onto the programme at Crufts!

Hoopers courses consist of a series of hoops, barrels, and tunnels that allow for free-flowing movement. Unlike agility courses, it involves fewer tight turns and high-impact activities, making it a great option for older dogs or those with joint issues. Plus, the equipment is easy to set up and requires no expensive or bulky equipment, making it more accessible to everyone.

Learn more about Canine Hoopers here. 

9. Sled Dog Rallies

Are you looking for a thrilling winter sport? Look no further than sled dog racing! This sport is popular in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, Russia, and some European countries, but popularity is growing here in the UK too. 

In the UK, the biggest sled dog rally takes place in the Cairngorms, in Scotland, every year. The Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain has a code of ethics in place to ensure the welfare of sled dogs is a priority. 

In sled dog racing, teams of dogs pull a sled with a driver or musher standing on the sled’s runners. The races can cover relatively short distances or, in some cases, even up to 1,000 miles and take many days to complete. 

Learn more about sled dog rally training here

10. Pilates for dogs

Pilates involves strength, balance, and flexibility exercises that engage your dog’s muscles, joints, and tendons. This can help strengthen their ligaments and make them less prone to injury. 

Pilates can also help tire your dog out, as well as promote blood flow and reduce swelling in their joints.

Older dogs or those with health conditions can especially benefit from pilates, so if this applies to your pup, then pilates is a great option. 

Learn more about the benefits of pilates for dogs here. 

11. Mantrailing

Mantrailing is when a dog uses their nose to find a person - but it’s not just for search and rescue dogs, thousands of dogs enjoy this team dog sport for fun!

It's non-competitive, the dog leads the pace, and it's an awful lot of fun for dogs of all ages and breeds. 
dog mantrailing

It’s different from other dog sports in that it’s entirely dog led; the dog’s leading the game and making the decisions which means it gets a big paws of approval from many dogs! It’s also very social, it helps you understand your dog, and is suitable for all breeds and ages. 

Learn more about mantrailing here. 

Read Next:

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