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Try a New Dog Sport This Summer
Outdoor trials are a unique way to enjoy the warm weather with you pup.

Last week I wrote about getting your pup in shape for summer fun, which focused a lot of hiking and long walks. The spring also marks the start of another activity I love—outdoor dog sport trials. It’s such a fun way to enjoy the warm weather while bonding with your pup and meeting fellow dog lovers.

If you’re interested in trying a new sport, start by searching for your local dog training club by looking online, asking around at the park, or getting recommendations from your veterinarian or groomer.

There are also clubs that focus on one dog sport, often affiliated with national organizations. Their web sites often list local clubs and chapters that can connect you with beginner classes. You can also search to find trials, tournaments, and events in your area to get a better idea of what the sport is all about.

Here are some web sites to get you started.

Agility
Dogs run with their handlers through a timed obstacle course.
American Kennel Club (AKC) Agility 
North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) 
United Stated Dog Agility Association (USDAA)

Dock Diving
Dogs compete in jumping for distance or height over a body of water.
Dock Dogs 
North America Diving Dogs (NADD)

Flyball
Dogs race across hurdles to grab a tennis ball and return to the start line in a relay race.
North American Flyball Association (NAFA) 
United Flyball League International (U-FLI) 

Herding
Dogs work under their handler's guidance to herd animals, typically ducks or sheep.
American Herding Breed Association (AHBA) 
American Kennel Club (AKC) Herding

Lure Coursing
Dogs chase a mechanically operatured lure.
American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) 
American Kennel Club (AKC) Lure Coursing
United Kennel Club (UKC) 

Nose Work
Dogs search for scents in different environments.
American Kennel Club (AKC) Scent Work
National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW)
United Kennel Club (UKC)

Obedience
Dogs complete a specific routine of behaviors to showcase their training.
American Kennel Club (AKC) Obedience
The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) 
C-Wags Obedience 
United Kennel Club (UKC)

Rally Obedience 
A test of obedience-like behaviors, but in a course format.
American Kennel Club (AKC) Rally 
The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)
C-Wags Rally 
United Kennel Club (UKC) 
World Cynosport Rally 

Dog sports are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in a unique way. The time I spend with my dogs training for agility or rally obedience is really special. It’s unlike any other activity we do together.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Lil Shepherd/flickr.

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