Back To Dog School Classes Ensure Your Pooch Is The Teacher’s Pet
Learning doesn’t stop after basic obedience. It’s time to bone up on some extracurricular lessons – and by that, we mean classes you can take with your dog for training, fitness and fun!
It’s nearly fall, the time when summer activities cease and dogs’ little human friends leave the house all day every day. Back-to-school can be tough for dogs. But it doesn’t have to be! Dogs can go back to school—dog school—and have fun while training, getting exercise and building your bond. Here are a handful of options:
Have a high-energy dog who loves to run and jump? Agility is for you! Consisting of a series of obstacles, your dog will leap, tunnel, weave and dash around a course led by you. It’s a great way for active, athletic dogs to burn off energy, and a great way for owners to get exercise. You can train for fun or look into competition through The North American Dog Agility Council.
Canine Freestyle (aka Doggy Dancing)
In Canine Freestyle, an owner and dog complete a choreographed routine set to music. (Check out this YouTube video of this year’s Crufts’ champion.) It requires highly-detailed training, linking together multiple behaviors with subtle cues. For dogs who soak up training and who love to learn, this might be the right sport. Check out the Canine Freestyle Federation for events and training.
Flyball is the ideal sport for the ball-obsessed dog. Participants must be dog-friendly because they work in relay teams: Four dogs, one at a time, race down a course and over a series of hurdles to hit a box that releases a ball. The dog running snatches the ball, then races back to the starting line, at which point the next teammate races the course. The fastest team wins. It’s an intense sport for driven, focused dogs. Learn where to train and how to join a team at The North American Flyball Association.
Related: The Superdog Guide To Flyball
Possibly the most accessible form of dog school, obedience training can be done at home, at a nearby park or at local training facilities. Obedience training consists of teaching your dog a series of basic cues. Generally, obedience training starts with safety- and manners-related cues like sit, down and stay, though you can work on training fun tricks and more complicated behaviors. Obedience is great for all dogs and helps to build a solid dog between dog and owner.
For energetic dogs who love learning obedience cues, Rally-O is an organized sport that consists of a course with stations to rapidly perform specific obedience cues. Any dog who has learned basic obedience cues can learn to compete in Rally-O. The American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club both host events and trials.
Maggie Marton is the definition of “crazy dog lady” and an award-winning writer based in Bloomington, Indiana. Obsessed with dogs, she writes for numerous pet-related publications and is active in animal welfare. Recently, she launched her first eBook, Authentic Blogging, to inspire others to write with their own voice. When she’s not reading about dogs, writing about dogs or walking dogs, she loves to hike and nap—both activities usually with her dogs. Maggie lives with her husband, John; Emmett, a pit mix; Lucas, a shepherd mix; Cooper, a pit mix; and Newt, the lone kitty (who, of course, runs the show). You can find her online at OhMyDogBlog.com, on Twitter and Instagram.