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East Valley K9 Services


Fun Canine Sports: How to Get Started Today!

Fun Canine Sports: How to Get Started Today!

Table of Contents
Afghan Dog Running along a Dirt Track
An Afghan Dog Running on a Dirt Track


Did you know it’s never too late to get started in canine sports?  You CAN teach an old dog new tricks and have a lot FUN doing it together! Keep reading to learn how to get started in fun canine sports today!


Malinois Dog Doing Agility
Malinois Dog Doing Agility

Keep the Dog Training Going!

After the puppy classes and advanced obedience classes, what’s next? Canine sports are a great way to continue dog training while also nurturing the bond between you and your dog! Participating in dog sports not only challenges you and your dog both mentally and physically but there are also many other great rewards including meeting new people and dogs!

So how do you get started in canine sports?

Have a senior dog? It’s never too late to get started in dog sports!

Which Canine Sport is the Right Sport?

If you’re not sure what sport is right for you and your dog, attend some K9 sports events. Get a feel for the people and energy to decide if it’s right for you. Many dog parents participate in more than one K9 sport, so keep an open mind!

Yellow Labrador Dog Going Over an Agility Jump
Yellow Labrador Dog Going Over a Jump

There are a variety of canine sports ready to welcome you and your furry best friend! Below are 7 of the most popular sports for dogs and their handlers.

  • Conformation. Measures how well an individual dog conforms to the breed’s standard. Mixed breeds and spayed or neutered dogs are ineligible to compete.
  • Agility. A growing dog sport in the USA with over 1 million entries in the AKC’s program each year!
  • Obedience. One of the AKC’s oldest sporting events for demonstrating your dog’s abilities!
  • Scent Work. Is your dog the Sherlock Holmes of scents? In this sport, the dog is the leader of the team by:
    • Finding the scent.
    • Communicating it to the handler who,
    • Alerts the judge.
  • Rally. Dog and handler move through a course of 10-20 skills defined by signs. Here, time is not the goal, it’s teamwork and skills that count.

    Dog Trainer Working with a Dog for Sport Herding
    Dog Trainer Teaching Treibball Herding
  • Coursing Ability Test (CAT) or Fast Cat. A great way to get started in dog sports without the high pressure of other K9 sports. Each dog chases a lure on a very safe course with the goal of finishing in less than 1-1/2 minutes (for the 300-yard course) and 2 minutes (for the 600-yard course).
  • Herding. The perfect sport for the working dog who is bred to herd! Teams must demonstrate the ability to move and control livestock within a fenced area in either tests or trials. (Or try Treibball with urban herding dogs using large exercise balls instead of livestock.)


Learn about other Canine Sports on the AKC website.


Which Sport is Your Dog’s Sport?

Border Collie Puppy Laying on the grass with a Soccer Ball
Border Collie Puppy with a Soccer Ball

When choosing a dog sport to participate in, remember to consider your dog’s personality and physicality! It’s not all about you!

Be sure to consider their:

  • Breed.
  • Personality.
  • Confidence; and
  • Likes and dislikes.

While things like confidence can be taught and enhanced, likes and dislikes are often inherent. For example, if your dog has absolutely no interest in fetching balls, they are probably not going to enjoy coursing after a lure. Be honest with yourself and choose an activity your dog will love as much as you!

Or if you try a sport with little success, move on to another sport until you find the one that fits you and your dog. Set your dog up for success!

Once you have found the right sport, find a local organization or club that holds events near you. Make sure your dog meets all the requirements to participate and get started! Local organizations will be able to help you locate a trainer to start training too!

Dog Trainer Leading a Black Dog through an Agility Course
Dog Trainer Leading a Black Dog through an Agility Course

Agility Foundations

Come Join Us to learn the Foundations of Agility.

This is a super fun sport that any dog can do.  You will learn the basics of agility and we will build skills each week.  There will be opportunity to do virtual trials, which means you get to compete where we practice and earn titles and awards!

Classes Begin on Thursday, March 16 at 6pm for Six Weeks.

Click here for more information and to register!

Serving All of the East Valley, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert Arizona


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