Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Can You Do With A Rescue Dog?

Dog sports have become all the rage lately. People are joining sporting groups in higher numbers then ever before. There is dock diving, for those that love the water and to fetch. Fly ball for those that love to fetch but prefer to stay on the ground. Frisbee, doggie dancing, Rally-O, agility, etc. The list goes on and on. And with so many options, it’s easier then ever to find something that both you and your dog like to do.

One of the best things about these sports is that you don’t have to have a pure bred dog to do them – or to compete. In fact, some of the best dogs for these sports are found in your local animal shelter/rescue. They are the “throw-away” dogs. The dogs that are too energetic for the family. The dogs that are “ball obsessed”. The ones that jump the fence and bother the neighbors with their barking. These are the dogs that excel at sports because they are the ones that need them most – the ones that need a job to do.

But if a drive-y Border collie mix isn’t your idea of a great companion, have no fear – you can do these sports with the couch potato types too. All you really need is good relationship with your pet and some extra time. Don’t believe me?

Meet mole: Mole is an 11 year old Chihuahua mix who started agility training earlier this year. Yes, an 11 year old Chihuahua. I had been looking for a sport to do with one of my younger dogs, and while searching, I found out that my little old man had an interest in agility obstacles. Who would have thought that I would be doing tunnels, dog walks, and teeters, with this dog? But he loves it, so we do it. But due to his age, we have to make some adjustments in order to ensure that we continue our working relationship for years to come.

Meet Mac: Mac is a 7 year old pit bull mix who enjoys dancing – but not late into the evening. Mac is a true couch potato and bed hog. He would rather be sleeping then fetching, and eating then swimming. But Mac has just the right amount of energy for the one hour class each week and 15 minutes of training most nights. And Fred Astaire has nothing on this sweetie when he is doing his thing to the music on the dance floor.

Meet Q-Tip: Q is a 2 ½ year old poodle/lab mix wonder dog! She enjoys agility and obedience but her favorite sport is Rally-O. Rally obedience is very similar to the stricter obedience that most of us have seen at dog shows, but rally-o has a bit of a twist – you and your dog follow signs directing you around the ring by doing different behaviors (sit, down, turn), and the best part, is that you get to talk to your dog while you do it! This is why Q loves this sport best! Her mom can encourage her throughout the mix breed dog club trials they attend making them even more fun. And when they aren’t training together, Q is pretty easy going and shares her mom with two other dog siblings.