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Type: Activities


A sport for dogs, where the handler guides the dog through a series of obstacles.  Points are deducted for various errors in accuracy and finishing the course outside the allotted time.

Agility is one of the most popular activities for dogs, with competitive and non-competitive meets for different sizes and levels of experience, and age of handler.  There are also meets for handlers with disabilities, and for dogs with disabilities.

Barn Hunt

A dog sport, where competitors locate rats within a maze of hay bales in a barn or outdoor setting.  The rats are securely held in aerated plastic tubes; the aim is not for the dogs to do them any harm, just to find them as quickly as possible.

There are three height classes in Barn Hunt, and the winner is decided by how quickly the dog finds all of the rats.


Canicross is the sport of cross-country running with your dog, which originated as a way for sled dog racers to train in the off-season. The dog’s handler wears a belt around their waist, which attaches to a padded dog harness with a bungee line.

Disc Dog

A sport for dogs and their owners, which involves the owner throwing a flying disc like a Frisbee for their dog to catch.  Points are awarded for catches at various distances.  There is also a Freestyle Disc Dog event, where an owner can choreograph a routine of trick catches for their dog and be judged on their skill and showmanship.

Not to be confused with: training discs

Dock Diving

A sport for dogs, where the dog is encouraged to jump off a platform into a pool of water.  The handler uses a toy to prompt the dog to jump.  The winning dog in each division is the one who has jumped the furthest.


A sport for small terriers, designed to evaluate their natural aptitude for the work they were originally bred for.  Earthdog trials consist first of following a scent trail and locate the entrance to a tunnel, then tracking through the tunnel, locating a rat in a cage, and then “working” the rat, which means barking, scratching, digging at or biting at the bars of the cage.



Anything that gives the dog different, novel experiences, either that they can engage in with their owners, or that they can use alone. Enrichment is aimed at making the dog use his brain and think creatively, as well as enjoying himself.  Food-dispensing puzzle toys are a popular enrichment toy.


A relay sport for teams of four dogs.  Each dog runs in a straight line down a 51-foot course, over four hurdles.  When he reaches the end of the course, he presses a pad that launches a tennis ball, which the dog then catches and runs back down the course to his handler.

The winning team is the one who finishes the fastest.

Lure Coursing

A sport for dogs, where they chase a mechanical lure across a course.  The course can have turns and obstacles, such as jumps, which simulate chasing a rabbit or a hare in real life.  Dogs usually run in groups of two or three, and move up through the ranks of the sport by being first in their group.

Lure coursing competitions are usually restricted to purebred sighthounds like Greyhounds, Salukis and Irish Wolfhounds

Nose Work

A sport for dogs based around scent detection. As Nose Work is done by only one dog at a time, it is considered to be beneficial as enrichment for reactive dogs.

Pack Walk

A group of dogs and handlers going out for a walk together, usually as part of a training or meetup group.  Pack walks are not necessarily run by groups who support pack theory; they can be a social event for owners of particular breeds or types of dog, or part of a training course.

Protection Sports

Protection Sports is a generic name given to a group of dog sports that have elements of protection – that is, work where the dog is expected to bite a person (wearing the appropriate bite-proof equipment) and stop biting on cue.  The different sports have variations on the activities that form the tests, with tracking, obedience, agility, heelwork and retrieving involved.

The sport of protection developed out of tests designed to assess the suitability of dogs for military and police work.

Schutzhund, which is now known as IPO, is the most popular kind of protection training in the United States.  Other protection sports include:

  • Mondioring
  • French Ring
  • Belgian Ring
  • K9 PRO Sports/K9 Rodeo

Puppy Class

Puppy classes are usually open to dogs up to the age of about 20 weeks, who have had all their vaccinations.  Classes cover basic obedience and handling, and many also have elements of socialization.

Puppy Party

A puppy party, or puppy social, is an event for young puppies and their owners, designed to give dogs up to the age of about 16-20 weeks the chance to interact with others.  The aim of puppy parties is to socialize puppies rather than teaching them any specific behaviors, although many behaviorists believe that puppies should also be exposed to stable adult dogs so that they can learn appropriate social cues.


Rally, sometimes called Rally-o, is an obedience-based dog sport, where the dog and handler move through a series of obedience exercises whilst following a course.  Along the course, there are ten or twenty signs instructing the handler what to cue the dog to do at that point.  The instructions get more complex as the dog progresses through the ranks of his sport.

Reactive Rover

Classes designed specifically for anxious, frustrated and aggressive dogs, usually covering elements of obedience and behavior modification in a situation that does not put the dogs under stress and over threshold.
These classes can have many different names, like Feisty Fido, Difficult Dogs, Doggie Delinquents, etc


Sprinkles™ is a type of scent game used for enrichment, copyrighted by Sally Hopkins. The game involves throwing some small pieces of of moist food over a large area of grass, then allowing the dog to search the area.


Tracking refers to a dog’s ability to find objects, animals or people by following a trail of their scent.

Tracking is used by working dogs in the police, military and search and rescue organizations, and is also a sport for pet dogs.  In the sport of tracking, scent trails are laid out for dogs to follow.  As the dog advances through the ranks of the sport, he will be presented with longer, older trails to follow through more challenging environments.  Any breed of dog can enjoy tracking, although the sport is traditionally dominated by scenthounds such as Beagles.


A herding-based dog sport.  Large balls are arranged in front of a goal area, and the dog is encouraged by his handler to herd all of the balls into the goal within an allotted time.

The dog and handler team is scored on how many balls have successfully made it into the goal area, and also how well the team worked together.

Any dog can compete in Treibball as the activity uses traditional obedience and herding cues to prompt the dog.  However, dogs bred for their herding ability such as Border Collies are considered naturally more adept at the sport.

Weight Pulling

A sport for dogs, which involves competing to see which dog can pull the most weight over a sixteen foot course.