Dog Sport University Blog
If you are doing agility, you have to trial...right? Maybe you're training in competition obedience. Clearly that is to perfect skills that will be useful in obtaining titles, why else would you be doing it? Barn Hunt, disc dog, rally, treibball...these are all dog sports and therefore you MUST be getting ready to compete in that given sport if you are training them with your dog. I mean that only makes sense!
Or does it?
Treibball. Urban herding. A combination of pool and soccer for dogs. However you want to describe it, Treibball is a wonderful activity that can be enjoyed by dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes and hits on all the goal points of any dog sport: 1. is mentally engaging, 2. provides physical exercise, 3. furthers the training prowess of the handler and 4. is fun!
"Why would I teach my dog tricks?!"
"Tricks are silly, I am more interested in doing serious dog training."
These were common responses I would receive from clients when I would talk about adding trick training to their training program. They soon came to realize that not only are tricks important, they had been training tricks all along and just didn't know it.
We are extremely fortunate to have a plethora of dog sports to choose from when we are looking for a game to play with our dogs. But not all dog sports are suitable for all dogs. Let's discuss how you can better decide which dog sport would be a better fit for your own individual dog.
Not quite as catchy, but marketing was never my forte.
How you bring a dog into your life is entirely your choice. Adopt Don't Shop is memorable for sure, but ultimately a false choice. Likely created with good intentions, it has been hijacked and morphed into nothing more than a nasty marketing ploy and a way to demonize other dog-lovers with wide-reaching consequences.
I have something shocking and startling to share with you, so please have a seat. Are you situated? Are you ready?
You are living with an alien.
I can already hear you saying, "What is she yapping about THIS time!", or "Oh no, is she talking about letting my dog rule my life or be the leader of my household! NEVER!"
In the United States, we are officially rearing up for the holiday season to begin. Thanksgiving is in a few days, followed by Christmas and then New Years…the next few months are bound to be a bustle of activity.
Not to mention a complete and total disruption of your dog's routine.
You read that right. Your dog training is YOU!
Now, I know this idea causes some people to run out of the room with their head on fire, but hear me out. This happens to everyone. Yes, even you.
I had a conversation with a client recently regarding a laundry of list of what she "should" do with her dog that was unloaded onto her by her naive, albeit well-meaning, friend. After she finished listing all these things she "should" do, flabbergasted, I asked when she would have the time to eat, sleep or take care of her family?! She didn't have an answer. Deflated and defeated, she felt as though, somehow, she had failed both herself and her dog.
The ability to make choices is powerful.
Think of this within context of your own life. If you typically have weekends off, you can choose to go for a day trip, visit friends or simply vegetate all day. Juxtapose that with a typical workday. You must get up at a certain time to get to work. You must arrive at a certain time. You must complete certain tasks and you must do them a certain way. Vastly different experiences, aren't they?
One of the most common questions a dog sport instructor will receive is, "Should I trial with my dog?". This loaded question has so many potential answers, with each depending on a multitude of factors. If two students come up and ask the same question at the same time, it can be an uncomfortable situation to say the least, as each may require a drastically different response.
"My dog is not allowed on the furniture...well, just the one time."
"No table scraps! ... Oh, but you are so cute!"
"When we walk on-leash, you need to walk at my side...except when you first walk out the front door. I mean, you're excited. So if you pull like a bull, that is okay, just this once."
Much to our chagrin, dog training is oftentimes not a linear process. What worked for one dog may not work with another. Even the same dog may need different approaches or adjustments depending on changes in their age, health and experience-level . You may also need to get creative when you take into account your dog's personality, how it is that they learn, their prior life experiences as well as a myriad of other factors.
CDSP's tagline is "the sport your dog would choose". Why? talking and treats. Obedience is great, a well performed run in a trial is a thing of joy and beauty. John Q Public stares in amazement, beginners wish for such a performance. And dogs think "well, that was stupid, where are my treats?". Formal Obedience aka AKC, UKC there is no talking. Judge says "forward" and you zip your lip till "exercise finished". There are no treats, just the party in the crate after the run. In CDSP, Companion Dog Sports Program, there are both, talking and treats.