Six Dog Sports to Try with Your Dog

Dog sports are continuing to gain popularity while new sports are developed. Are you looking to learn more about activities you can do with your dog? Blue-9 is your source for all things dog training!

While we won’t be able to cover every dog sport here, we aim to provide a brief overview of some of the most popular sports as well as new sports.

Dog Agility competitions have been around for years and are often televised. In dog agility, handers and dogs complete a pre-designed obstacle course. Placements are determined based on the speed at which the course is completed. Obstacles include the dog walk, tunnels, jumps, and weave poles among others.

In disc competitions, dogs chase and catch flying discs to accrue points. While there are several disc dog organizations, I’d like to highlight the newest organization: UpDog Challenge. This disc dog organization prides itself on being beginner-friendly. Unlike other organizations, UpDog has disc games that incorporate some agility equipment such as jumps and tunnels. In disc competitions, dogs chase and catch flying discs to accrue points.

Rally Obedience and Competitive Obedience have some similarities. In Rally, dogs, and handlers complete a course designed by the judge. In the ring there are signs set out that display instructions for the team. Exercises include heeling, basic obedience skills such as sit, down, and stay, and in the upper levels jumps. Handlers are able to encourage their dog and talk to their dog throughout the course. In Competitive Obedience, the judge calls out instructions for the dog and handler team to complete. These include exercises such as heeling, stays, and distance recalls. In the upper levels, scent discrimination, directed retrieving, and directed jumping exercises are incorporated.

dog jumping off a platform chasing a ball

Dock Diving is a sport where dogs run the length of the dock and jump into a pool to retrieve a toy. The dog’s performance can be measured by length of distance jumped, or the height of their jump dependent on the game being played. Learn more about dock diving through NADD or Dock Dogs.

Barn Hunt is one of the fastest-growing dog sports. Many dogs have been purposefully bred to rid farms and ships of vermin such as rats and mice. These dogs typically excel at the sport of Barn Hunt. Barn Hunt is a sporting event that demonstrates a dog's hunting ability in a barn-like setting using straw bales to create climbing and tunneling options. In upper levels, dogs must hunt for and find up to 5 rats hidden in protective tubes.

K9 Nose Work is a dog sport created to hone a dog’s detecting capability. In this sport, dogs are trained to alert on the scent of birch, anise, and clove. Dogs are trained to search interior buildings and exterior locations including cars. Dogs will exhibit a trained alert behavior such as sitting or barking at the source of the odor.

Many of these sports offer free admission to the general public to spectate and cheer on other dogs. Certain sports also offer “try-it’” where, for a small fee, you can try the sport with your dog to gauge their interest. No matter the dog, we’re sure there is a sport out there for them!