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Is your dog a potential Sporting Superstar?

This loveable Channel Magazine feature is presented by Louise O’Sullivan of DogHQ, the North Shore’s premium Dog Day Care facility. DogHQ provides the ultimate in social, physical and mental stimulation for dogs of all types in a safe and caring environment. DogHQ’s full range of services include obedience training, agility fun days, grooming and all natural nutrition. See all the fun for yourself at www.doghq.co.nz and www.facebook.com/doghq.

As we move into the Olympic season, let’s consider the potential of that cute pooch that’s sprawled out on your couch! 
Maybe your little bundle of fun is an Olympic Superstar just waiting for a chance to show off? There are so many diverse sports that enable you and your pooch to test your skills so perhaps it’s time to get pup off the couch and get training!
You could choose something mainstream to test for Olympic talent….

Agility
Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. It’s great fun for dog, handler and spectator alike… and definitely not as easy as it might seem!

Lure Coursing

In lure coursing, dogs chase an artificial lure across a field, following a pattern that is meant to simulate live coursing. A typical lure course is between 548 to 914 meters long. In Europe the course length can be over 1000 meters, and may incorporate some obstacles or jumps. The course must have a minimum number of turns in order to simulate prey (rabbit or hare) changing direction in a chase.

Rally-O

Rally obedience (also known as Rally or Rally-O) is a dog sport based on obedience. Unlike regular obedience, instead of waiting for the judge's orders, the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 20 signs that instruct the team what to do. Unlike traditional obedience, handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs during the course.

Or you could really get adventurous…..
Bikejoring
Think mountain biking with dog in charge. Bikejoring is a dog mushing activity related to skijoring, canicross, and dog scootering. It is a recreation or sport where a harnessed dog or team of dogs attached to a towline, pull and run ahead of a cyclist. Bikejoring is a non snow season (dryland) activity which is also sometimes used to train racing sled-dogs out of season.

Dock Jumping
Think of long jump, but with dogs into water. Dock jumping also known as dock diving is a dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water. Dock jumping first appeared in 1997 at the Incredible Dog Challenge, an event sponsored and produced by pet food manufacturer Purina. There are now a number of organisations that run dock jumping competitions in different countries.The current record by Baxter the Golden Retriever is 9.017 m

Or go for the artistic….

Musical Freestyle
Musical canine freestyle, also known as musical freestyle, freestyle dance, and canine freestyle, is a modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners.
Freestyle heeling focuses on a dog's ability to stay in variations of the heel position while the handler moves to music. In heel work to music, the dog and trainer remain close to each other at all times. Jumping, weaving, rolling, passing through the trainer's legs and anything else considered "not heeling" is not allowed.
Musical freestyle demands that the dog perform a variety of tricks and other obedience talents. In musical freestyle, heel work can be combined with other moves such as leg weaving, sending the dog away, moving together at a distance, and more dramatic tricks such as jumping, spinning, bowing, rolling over.


Indie’s Insights

If you like spending a lot of time on the couch, in my view that’s perfectly ok.  If you are not chasing cats, barking all day, stealing food or chewing everything in sight… who’s to complain?! Don’t be fooled by the over thinking owner who feels you need to leap through hoops and dance around cones…. Couch is Good….just give them the “you love me look”.

by Louise O'Sullivan

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