Canine sports are increasing in popularity, and you may have heard about agility, flyball, and nose work at some point. Perhaps you’re interested in trying them out, but don’t know what they are. Or maybe you’re unsure what is right for your dog. Here are some quick rundowns on what each is, and how they are different from each other. Try out one activity, or all three!
What is Agility?
Agility is one of the more well-known canine activities. It involves bringing your dog through an obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, poles and more as quickly as possible. Dogs are faulted if they miss an obstacle, or don’t follow instructions. It’s a great way to challenge both your dog’s body and mind through a combination of exercise and obedience. Dogs of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to participate for fun and at the competitive level.
What is Flyball?
Flyball is another active sport that involves a combination of obstacles and relay race great for active and social dogs. At the end of a short course is a ball dispenser. Dogs must jump over several obstacles, grab the dispensed ball and run back over the obstacles before the next dog is released to do the same thing. The fastest team of 4 is the winner. It’s a great way to burn extra energy in a smaller area than agility while still providing a challenge.
What is Nose Work?
Nose work is just that, using your dog’s nose! A course is set up with hidden scent markers throughout, and your dog is tasked with finding and identifying those markers in order to get a reward. It’s very similar to how professional dogs are trained for police and other work. The activity is also usually performed by one dog at a time, so shy or less social dogs may enjoy it. Nose work isn’t as exercise heavy as agility or flyball, but it is a great mental stimulation. So much so that many shelters are now using it as a form of enrichment!
The Benefits of Exercising Your Dog’s Brain AND Body
The great thing about all three activities is that you are giving your dog enrichment and a challenge. Working both the mind and body can help eliminate boredom and decrease problematic behavior. Dogs that have lots of enrichment and opportunity to exercise are less likely to have problem behaviors and end up in shelters. It’s also a great way to bond with your dog!
So, which is right for your dog? That depends. Do you have a dog that enjoys being active? Agility is a great choice. Social and active? Try flyball. Less social, enjoys seeking out objects, or needs a mental challenge? Nose work could be for you! Try out all three activities and see which your dog (and you) like best. No matter what you choose, agility, flyball and nose work are all very fun.
All images provided by Creative Commons/Pixabay