Exploring your dog’s hobbies
Obedience programs and methods
Just as each of us learn on different levels, our dogs learn on an individual level. A method of training that may be successful for one may not be as successful for another. This point is important to remember when selecting a trainer. A trainer with a full “toolbox” of experience and techniques can assist in choosing the proper obedience program and methods that work well for both you and your canine. Doing so will establish a positive, healthy, and well-balanced relationship.
There are many trainers that offer AKC certifications/titles
- AKC Puppy STAR
- AKC Canine Good Citizen
- AKC Community Dog
- AKC Urban Dog
There are many programs for your dog to become involved in. Finding your dog a “hobby” helps them have a balanced lifestyle. Many breeds were born with an instinct to do a task or job. Creating this atmosphere through training and exercising both mentally and physically allows our dog to work. Some dog sports and activities include:
Therapy Dog work:
A therapy dog is not to be mistaken with a service dog or an emotional support animal. Therapy dogs provide comfort, support, and happiness to others. They do not have any public access privileges outside of their visitation facilities. You can find many therapy dogs visiting nursing homes, schools, hospitals, libraries, and many other patient-centered facilities.
Competitive Obedience & Rally:
This sport is known for the level of obedience training that is put into the canines and their handlers. Each handler and their canine work through various levels of competition, each becoming more difficult as you progress over time. A judge scores you based on accuracy and handling of various level obedience commands with little voice command given to the dog. Throughout competitive rally a team will follow a system of obedience signs. A handler may talk and motivate their dog more throughout rally than they may in competitive obedience. A team can earn various titles for qualifying scores.
Many agility competitors are Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. Running through a course that includes jumps, teeter, A-frame, tunnels, and dog walk create a level of obedience for the mentally and physically fit. Each team competes against the clock to achieve the fastest time with the least amount of errors.
Search & Rescue:
A search and rescue dog is trained on multiple scents to find missing people. Their training can range and offers multiple certifications. Many dogs that are involved with search and rescue have also done training within nosework.
Personal Protection (IPO):
Personal Protection work gives a positive, motivating, and well-balanced outlet to dogs such as shepherds, mixes, labs, Rottweilers, and even spaniels. Personal protection is a specific and very structured training program to assist in bite work and police work.