I have often considered agility training for my dog Jersey. She’s quite the athlete and loves to do things outdoors.The only catch is that we are still struggling with the basic “come” command as soon as a small animal comes into sight; along comes a bunny rabbit and she is gone like a shot. I can’t imagine trying to keep her attention while dogs of all shapes and sizes mill around at a dog show, chasing toys, jumping over objects while Jersey is being judged on her obedience!
There are lots of canine sports that both pets and their owners can enjoy, but some people may find the training and commitment required for many competitions to be very demanding on their free time. I happened to come across an interesting sport for dogs advertised online called canine cannonball. Dogs of any breeding can participate, and the biggest dogs do not necessarily make the biggest splash! It involves dogs being cheered on by their owners as they do something that comes naturally; chasing a favourite toy! The dogs chase a target object and then jump off a 40-foot long dock or other fixed pathway approximately two feet above water. The winning dog is the dog that can jump the farthest.
The sport has been covered by ESPN and other sports networks, and there are national groups that dog owners can join and participate in with their pets. A big part of the appeal is that many dogs have a natural affinity for chasing their favourite toy and swimming, which requires much less training than traditional dog sports. There are tips for dog owners on how to introduce their dog to canine cannonball prior to competition on DockDogs.com, a website devoted to the sport. The website also has a bulletin board where owners can discuss the sport, ask questions and get information from other members about canine cannonball.
While I don’t think Jersey and I will be competing at the Westminster dog show anytime soon, I think she would be an excellent candidate for canine cannonball! If you want to get involved with the sport, visit DockDogs.com for a listing of dates and more information.