It's Back to School Time for Dogs Too!Published August 28, 2012
The kids are heading back to school, but perhaps it’s time for your dog to “hit the books” again too? Sure, you went through a basic obedience course way back when, but there’s so much more fun stuff that your dog can learn! Consider taking your furry best friend to some unique classes like these:
Tricks class: Tricks aren’t just for kids! Taking your dog to a tricks class not only enhances his coolness quotient, it’s also another way to strengthen your bond with him. Working on a non-essential behavior like “sit pretty” is a fun and non-stressful way to add to your dog’s behavioral repertoire. Plus he’ll be able to impress your friends, and if you’re really creative you might make it on David Letterman!
APDT Rally class: Rally is a team sport for dogs and their people that is a lighthearted approach to the staid world of traditional competitive obedience. Competing dogs of all ages and breeds (there is no AKC registry requirement in APDT Rally) navigate a course in heel position, performing a variety of obedience behaviors posted on signs. Handlers are allowed to talk to their dogs on the course, and give food rewards. While Rally is a judged more loosely than traditional obedience (meaning you don’t have to have the tightest pivots and finishes in order to do well), it still helps to take a class to learn the basics.
Flyball class: Flyball is a fast-paced dog sport in which teams of four dogs take turns jumping hurdles to reach a spring-loaded box that releases a tennis ball. Each dog then races back over the hurdles with the tennis ball in its mouth to the start point, and the next canine runner completes the same sequence until all four dogs have run. Rally class helps to take your fast, high energy, ball crazy dog and focus his attention until he’s a lean, mean flyballing machine!
Treibbal class: Treibbal is one of the newest dog sports, and I think it’s one of the coolest. This timed competition looks like sheep herding without the sheep. Dogs must push, or “herd” eight large exercise balls, one at a time, into a soccer goal in under 15 minutes. Long distance communication between dog and handler is paramount, as the handler must stand in a specific area off the playing field, and only communicate with whistles, verbal cues and gestures. Since Treibbal is probably unlike anything your dog has ever done, classes are an excellent idea.