Dog Sports

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Albany Veterinary Hospital
312 Albany Highway
WA 6331

08 9841 1788
Phoenix Agility

 We all love our dogs and enjoy getting out and about doing different activities with them, but did you know that there are also a wide range of Dog sports available in WA?

The world of Dog sports is endless and there are new activities being started all the time.

Dogs and handlers work in a team to complete to task and are normally scored on time and accuracy.

In this blog I will briefly explain a few of the most common sports and what's involved for each.

Agility and Jumping: This is my favourite! Dog agility is very similar to horse show jumping, except that that handler runs beside the dog. In agility, the handler guides the dog around a course set by the judge. The course is a sort of obstacle course and contains jumps, tunnels, a Tyre, spread and broad jump. It also has contact equipment that the dog has to negotiate. These are a dog walk and A-Frame and in the higher levels, a seesaw. Agility also includes 12 weaving poles that the dog must weave in and out of.

To be successful, the team must complete the course without fault and within the course time set by the judge.

Jumping is much the same as agility, without the use of the contact equipment or weaving poles. The course time set is often faster, so teams must try hard to beat the clock, while still maintaining accuracy.

Obedience: Obedience trials are common in WA. There are many different levels that teams can work their way through. All levels involve a heeling pattern set by the judge where the dog must stay in position at the handlers left leg and the team will move through a series of turns and positions, including sit, drop and stand. All levels also include different variations of a recall (where the handler calls the dog to come) and group stays. Stays get progressively harder as the levels go up, increasing the time that the dog must stay and sometimes even with the handler out of sight!

In the higher levels, dogs will also have to demonstrate distance control (including over a jump), retrieve a dropped item and select an article (among lots of options) that only has the handlers scent on it.

 Rally-Obedience: Rally Obedience or Rally-O as it is also known, is another form of obedience that you can do with your dog. In Rally-O, the dog and handler team negotiate a course of signs, each one giving the team an instruction of a maneuver that they need to perform. As with traditional obedience, the dog heels next to the handlers left leg and the team may perform moves such as weaving through cones, walking backwards, doing spins or doing 360 degree turns. There are many different moves that are involved and these get more difficult the higher up the levels you go. Teamwork and precision are key in Rally-O.

 Lure Coursing: Lure Coursing was  a sport originally designed for sight hounds, such as greyhounds. Inspired by greyhound racing, in Lure coursing the dog chases a “Lure” (usually a plastic bag) around a course set by the judge. Unlike traditional greyhound racing, in Lure coursing, dogs run one at a time and are judged on speed, enthusiasm, endurance, follow and agility. Chasing the lure allows the dog to use their natural instincts to chase prey, and in this case the lure is acting like a rabbit. The lure is attached to a rope and pulley system and the controller ensures that the lure stays slightly ahead of the dog at all times. After running the course, the lure will end up back at the handler at the end of the run. Lure coursing is a sport for all dogs, including mix breeds.

Dry land Sledding: We've all seen sled dog teams on TV, but did you know that you can do dry land sledding in WA? Dry land sledding involves the use of a scooter in place of a sled and pulled by a dog. In dry land sledding you can run one, two or multiple dog teams. Teams run through a bush track and race other teams to finish the course first. Traditional sledding in the snow was mostly a sport for Huskies, Malamutes and other Arctic breeds. However with Dry land sledding, any breed big enough and with the will to pull, is able to be trained to have fun in the sport.

The examples above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sports that you can participate in with your dog. The beauty of Dog Sports is that there is something out their for everyone. Any dog can participate and you don't need to have a purebred dog to do so. For more information on any of the sports above, or to find out what other sports are available, contact your local dog club. You can also find more information at

Watch Gabby the Papillion fly around an agility course here:

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