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A Second Career – Choosing a Sport for Your Show Dog

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236 – May 2019


So, you are sitting at ringside with your special watching the class dogs compete. As they trot around the ring, you are thinking about the rapidly approaching retirement from life in the conformation ring for the great show dog sitting beside you or snoozing at your feet. You hate the thought of consigning him/her to the boredom of being a couch potato whose days are only occasionally enlivened by some lady dog seeking a tryst, or by motherhood. But, there are so many different dog sports to choose from that it’s difficult to make a decision for a possible “second career.”

Well, have you thought about asking the dog what he/she wants to do? No, I don’t mean sitting down with the dog and saying, “Well, Sport/Lassie, what do you think you’d like to do now that your show career is about over?” I mean really asking the dog by discovering what they like to do and whether they have any of the skills needed to do it.

Almost every club for every type of event in every area of the country holds “recruiting days” where people new to the sport get to try it out. Hunt test clubs and sporting breed clubs, for example, frequently have “fun days” where you can bring your dog and they’ll supply pigeons to see just how “birdy” your dog is as well as helping you get started training your dog for that sport or giving you some suggestions where to go to get help. Herding clubs have similar events where you can get some idea how interested your dog is in herding and lure coursing clubs have events where you can see if your dog has any desire to chase things. The list of clubs hosting these “tryout” events is extensive so it’s likely you will be able to find what you are looking to try with your dog fairly close to home. Holding these introductory events is in the clubs’ best interests which is why there are so many frequent and different opportunities to try the long list of sports available to your dog.

If the length of the available dog sports list has you confused, obviously, the first place to start looking for a second career is by finding a sport that mirrors, as closely as possible, the job the breed was historically developed to do and seeing if the dog has any interest in doing it at one of the sport’s fun events. If the breed’s historical work isn’t your dog’s cup of tea or the breed’s historical work is either outlawed or impossible to test, there is a plethora of other activities including agility, trick dog, scent work, barn hunt, obedience, rally, tracking, dock diving, flyball, weight pulling, coursing ability and fast CAT, freestyle, search and rescue, and therapy work for you and the dog to try.

Click here to read the complete article
236 – May 2019

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Posted by on May 16 2019. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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