Try Agility, Try Nose Work ! Both are fun sports for you and your dog.

Dog Agility is a sport where the handler directs the dog through a timed obstacle course that includes tunnels, teeters, tables, jumps, weave poles, and ramps. But agility is actually much, much more... It is about learning to communicate and connect with your dog; it is about becoming a team while having fun. Agility provides a constructive outlet for your dog's energy. It builds confidence, develops self control, and refines off-leash obedience skills.

Patience, play and laughter are essential when starting agility as everyting is new to you and the dog. Time and practice pay off, as the dog learns to negotiate the equipment and respond to the handler's direction. Mistakes happen, but that is part of the learning process. Play and rewards keep the experience light and fun.

In agility, it is up to the handler to communicate and direct the dog. Through training, the handler becomes familiar with their dog's behavior and learns to anticipate and trust the dog's performance. Knowing your dog is key to developing strategies and running the course.

Agility is also about friends. Friends who help you put up your canopy; hold your dog while you run to the restroom; laugh with you when crazy things happen in the ring; cheer you on; and console you when things go astray.

Nose Work: The game Dogs' NOSES love to play!!

Nose Work is about learning to read your dog's cues as he/she alerts you to the hidden odor. It's about trusting your dog, and letting the dog take charge as you have fun watching him/her sniff and search. Nose work is a great way for your dog to have fun, build confidence and burn up lots of mental and physical energy. Nose Work requires a minium amount of equipment and once the skills have been mastered can be done almost anywhere.

So, if you are looking for a good time with your dog, try agility, try nose work. Plain and simple - it's just FUN!!

--Dee Hutton