Australian Shepherds thrive with a job to do. No matter what you choose, both physical and mental stimulation are key to a happy dog. Each of the following activities pairs the mind and body engagement with human bonding and intimacy.
A challenging and exciting sport that will keep both you and your Aussie stimulated. Agility is made up of a variety of obstacles, including jumps, tunnels, and platforms. Dogs and handlers compete in a variety of courses, completing obstacles in sequences with the fastest times and fewest mistakes. Agility is great for dogs of all sizes and experience levels.
If you have a water-loving dog, dock diving competitions may be just up your alley. Dogs run a platform and leap into a large pool, competing for farthest jump, highest jump, speed retrieving, or “Iron Dog” (a combination of the three).
Flyball is a speed-retrieve relay-team sport. Dogs run a straight line over low hurdles, grab a ball placed in a platform at the end, and return to their handlers. Teams usually want dogs small and large, since hurdle height is based on the smallest dog running.
Disc Dog competitions include “toss and fetch” (dog and handler teams have a minute to complete as many catches as possible with a single disc on a field marked with increasing distances), “freestyle” (teams show off flips, rapid fire catches, vaults, and other crowd-pleasing routines), and “long-distance” (generally longest catch wins).
Whether on the ranch, or in a staged competition, Aussie obviously excel in herding. The breed is superior in everything from ducks to cattle. Aussies have a softer eye than border collies, and therefore don’t intimidate as much as they use their movement and ‘heeling’ to move the animals.
While there are hiking clubs in many areas, hiking is simply a bonding experience with you and your companion. Hiking can also help dogs experience new smells, sounds, and experiences such as through creeks or over rocky terrain.
Obedience trials have dogs and handlers execute a predefined set of tasks when instructed, depending on skill level. All commands are based around the core training of “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “come”, and “heel.” Dogs may also need to retrieve or jump over low obstacles.
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. Dogs can also be on leash during the trials.
More to come!
More to come!
You never know what your Aussie might like! Try something new, like painting…. who knows, you could have the next Rembrandt. The key is bonding with your pup, having fun and giving them the stimulation to help them thrive.