10 popular competitive dog sports to get your pup’s tail wagging

Learn more about dog sports, including agility, obedience, rally obedience, tracking, herding, flyball, disc dog, Canicross, and dog surfing.

Dogs are naturally athletic and can use their physical and mental abilities in various dog sports. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to exercise with your dog or want to participate in competitive events with them, plenty of sports are available for your furry friend.

We’ll examine a few of the most well-liked canine sports in this article, including agility, obedience, rally obedience, tracking, herding, flyball, disc dog, Canicross, and dog surfing.

We’ll also discuss the benefits of participating in dog sports and how to get started.



One of the most popular sports for dogs is agility. It’s a fast-paced and challenging sport that requires dogs to navigate an obstacle course that includes jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and other obstacles. Agility tests a dog’s physical agility and obedience to its handler.


Obedience is another popular dog sport that tests a dog’s ability to follow commands. In obedience trials, dogs must perform a series of commands like sit, stay, come, heel, and down. This sport is beneficial in building a strong bond with your dog. It teaches your dog some basic obedient skills.

Rally obedience

Rally obedience is a newer dog sport combining obedience and agility elements. In rally obedience trials, dogs and their handlers follow a course marked with signs with instructions for the dog to perform different commands. Rally obedience is a great way to challenge your dog’s obedience skills and have fun together.


Tracking is a dog sport that tests a dog’s ability to follow a scent trail. In tracking trials, dogs must follow a path that a human or another dog has laid. Tracking helps in testing the instinct of your dog. It provides them with needed mental stimulation.


Herding is a dog sport that tests a dog’s ability to herd livestock. In herding trials, dogs must move sheep, goats, or cattle around a course. It’s a lot of fun to watch; herding helps you manage your dog’s instincts closely.

Flyball is a dog sport that tests their speed, jumping, and agility.


This is an exhilarating fast-paced dog sport. It tests your dog’s speed, jumping prowess, and agility. In flyball, dogs race through a series of hurdles to retrieve a ball from a spring-loaded launcher. Flyball is one of the best methods to have fun with your dog and exercise simultaneously.

Lure coursing

The sport of lure coursing is a terrific way to amuse yourself, exercise, and test your dog’s innate instincts. I recommend trying to lure coursing if you’re looking for a new canine sport.

The following are a few advantages of lure coursing:

  • Exercise: An excellent method to give your dog exercise is by lure coursing. When lure coursing, dogs may run up to 30 mph, a perfect way to expend energy.
  • Instincts: Dogs can employ their inborn instincts when luring coursing. Dogs are bred to hunt, and lure coursing allows them to pursue their instinct.
  • Fun: Dogs and people may both enjoy lure coursing. It is a wonderful opportunity to spend time outside with your dog and form a friendship.


Canicross is a dog sport that combines elements of running and mushing. In Canicross, dogs wear a harness and are attached to their handler by a line. The handler runs with the dog, and the dog pulls the handler along. Canicross is a great way to exercise with your dog and enjoy the outdoors together.

Dog surfing

Dog surfing is a relatively new dog sport that is quickly gaining popularity. In dog surfing, dogs ride on surfboards with their handlers. You can have a lot of fun at the beach with your dog while engaging in Dog surfing.

Freestyle disc dog

Freestyle disc dog is a dog sport that combines elements of agility, obedience, and trick dogging. In freestyle disc dogs, dogs and their handlers perform a choreographed routine that includes throws, catches, retrieves, and tricks. Freestyle disc dog is a great way to test your dog’s athleticism, obedience, and creativity.

Freestyle disc dog routines can be as straightforward or complex as you want. Some routines are based on a theme, such as a circus or a movie scene. Other routines are simply a showcase of the dog’s skills.

There are no specific rules for freestyle disc dogs, but there are some common elements that most routines include. These elements include:

  • Throws: The Fisbees are thrown in many directions, high, low, and behind-the-back throw. The dog should catch them all.
  • Catches: The frisbees can be caught in many ways — with paws, mouths, and even bodies.
  • Retrieves: Dogs must be able to retrieve Frisbees that have been thrown a long distance or that have landed in difficult places.
  • Tricks: Dogs can perform a variety of tricks in freestyle disc dogs, such as jumping through hoops, rolling over, and sitting pretty.

Benefits of participating in dog sports

For dogs, dog sports can provide physical exercise, mental stimulation, and a sense of purpose. Dog sports can provide companionship, exercise, and a sense of accomplishment for humans.

Some of the specific benefits of participating in dog sports include:

  • Improved physical fitness for both dogs and humans
  • Increased mental stimulation for dogs
  • Enhanced bonding between dogs and humans
  • Increased confidence for both dogs and humans
  • A sense of accomplishment for both dogs and humans
  • Opportunities to meet new people and dogs
Canicross is a dog sport that combines running and mushing, where dogs wear a harness and are attached to their handler by a line.

How to get started

There are a few steps you must take if you want to start participating in dog sports. Finding the ideal dog sport for you and your dog must come first. Once you’ve chosen a sport, you must locate a neighborhood club or group that provides instruction and competition.

There are several ways to locate a neighborhood club or group. You can look online, consult your veterinarian, or contact the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC has a list of clubs and organizations in its online directory. You can start training with your dog once you’ve found a local club or organization. Most clubs offer beginner classes for both dogs and handlers. These classes will teach you the basic skills to compete in dog sports.

As your training progresses, you might consider employing a qualified trainer. A qualified trainer can assist you in honing your dog’s abilities and getting ready for competition.

Also, ensure your sporting area is free from any obstruction; if you have indoor training, move away household items such as furniture, aquarium, and other things that can cause an accident.

Final thoughts on dog sports

Dog sports are a fantastic way to bond with your dog while getting exercise and having fun. You can select from various dog sports mentioned in this article. So you’re likely to discover one that’s ideal for you and your dog.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Pet expert Kristen Parker has spent 12 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet industry. Her expertise includes dog and cat health, care, nutrition, feeding, grooming, behavior, and training.


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