Brief Summary of Dog Sports
Short summary of all the dog sports that people in this group are involved in - let me know if I missed anything that anyone in here is involved in or if I got a fact wrong (obviously this is just a quick run down and not meant to be a full course on anything). Thought this might be good for people who aren't familiar with all these things but are looking for something to do.
Agility - running around a ring w/ obstacles like jumps, A-frame, dog walk, weaves. Requires participation from handler & doggo. Classes pretty much everywhere & can be done for fun or competitively. Lure coursing (fun runs, Fast CATs, full CATs)- chasing a plastic bag on a string that moves fast. Handler just needs to get dog to the line & release / catch, fairly independent sport. Dog mall started offering fun runs, there are fun runs in NH occasionally but trials are usually a fair drive away. Not a sport that requires much training Barn hunt or Happy Ratters - rat in a tube, dog uses nose (or sometimes ears) to find it. I'd say mostly done for trials not just for fun but Happy Ratters is lower pressure than barn hunt. Handler doesn't need to move much but needs to learn dog's indicator that rat has been found. Practice is helpful. Dog mall has started offering this also Tova Training in Raymond, NH has trials / practice nearly monthly. Barn hunt is further away in New Salem, MA and beyond. No practices for barn hunt nearer to Boston (that I know of) Mushing - dog powered biking / running / scootering / sledding / etc. Fairly easy to get into, can be done solo, socially, competitively. Lots of races in NH, ME, CT, NY & beyond + a fair number of folks in here happy to meet up socially. Good for more than just traditional sled dog breeds Flyball - relay team sport (as in, multiple dogs on a team), dogs stride over hurdles to hit a box to make a ball appear, grab the ball and return back over the hurdles. There's a few teams in MA / NH but not that close to Boston. Requires a solid commitment & amount of training before dog can participate competitively (as I understand it). Dog mall has a try-it sampler class that includes a section on beginning flyball stuff. Weight pull - Good for any breed. Not that many clubs near Boston as far as I'm aware- one in Storrs, CT one near Portland, ME. Feasible to train on your own. Mostly done for trials (vs pure fun) I would think Herding - don't know much about this but there's a few places around that offer classes / trials Treibball - dog uses nose to push ball towards goal. Canine New England has a class + Wag It Games has video trials. I'd imagine possible to train this on your own at home by watching videos Freestyle - basically dancing with your dog or doing a choreographed routine with your dog. I don't know of any classes locally but you can definitely get started by youtubing some moves Rally - Team (dog + handler) sport that involves moving through a course with signs & completing each task per the sign. I imagine there are classes in / around Boston - Everydog has them for sure. This is a traditional AKC dog show kinda thing but good for teamwork + obedience Trick titles - This is a fairly easy thing to get into - just google the list of tricks, teach your dog 10 & find a place that'll do the testing. MSPCA has a class for this & seems more places are offering classes Nosework / scent work - good for pretty much every dog involves using their nose to find a particular scented object. Lots of classes around Boston, also can youtube / google and do a fair bit on your own Dock Diving - Basically jumping off a dock about 4 ft higher than a pool to get a toy - some events are about time, some about jump distance or height of toy. Canine New England has classes as does Dog Mall & several places in NH / ME. I'd say requires lessons for most folks. I'd think most people do this to eventually compete (vs for fun) but many people take a lesson or two just for fun / to see if dog likes it Disc - Human + Dog team up - involves throwing a frisbee & dog catches it, I would imagine this involves a solid amount of training to compete but also probably some folks do it for fun, clearly I don't know much about it but others in here do! Competition Obedience - One of the first “dog sports.” Perform cues with precision and accuracy. Usually easy to find classes for & fine to take those classes even if you have no intention of competing Parkour- Your dog engages with objects in the environment - lower impact than agility so good for a broader range of puppers! Titling via videos Protection dog sports (think police dog) - usually features a formal obedience component and some biting, sometimes tracking. The Dog Mall offers this Tracking - dogs find a previously placed object in a field / in the woods etc using scent trail (I don't know much about this one either!). Not a ton of classes but occasionally workshops in the area GRC Competitions - Social Responsibility, Treadmill Race, Weight Pull, Wall Climb, Spring Pole - there's a local GRC Club called BosTug
Carting / Draft - involves dog pulling a cart / wagon / etc generally at a trot or walk pace. Can low key build a cart for not too much but you will need to invest in a proper harness. There are occasionally inexpensive intro lessons in RI & maybe NH as well