Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dog Health - Sports


This physically demanding sport is devised to test a dog’s ability to navigate through an intricate obstacle course during a set time. Coordinated well trained dogs such as the ‘pit bull’ are able to showcase their ability to navigate through ramps, seesaws, elevated dog walks, and tunnels. The winner is determined by the athlete with exceptional drive and fastest time.

Although ‘pit bulls’ aren’t typically known for their speed and aren’t usually expected to win among other breeds that excel in this type of competition they enjoy the sport. They can have fun and show their best while getting a healthy work out.

Participants have the opportunity to earn Agility titles from the United Kennel Club (UKC), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), North American Dog Agility Association (NADAC), and the Agility Association of Canada (AAC). Each level within the various organizations has different scoring and requirements so participants should do their research.


Competitive relay sport that teams up four dogs and their owners against another four with their owners. One dog from each team competes by running through a course filled with hurdles to jump and eventually triggering a mechanism that spits out a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball, reverses direction, returning to its team so that the next dog can run the course. First team to have all four of its dogs finish wins.

Weight Pulling

This intense sport seems to be tailor made for ‘pit bulls’. After much training and intense conditioning dogs are given a chance to demonstrate their superior strength and outshine other breeds. Hitched to carts or vehicles loaded with a set weight amount with padded harnesses the dogs compete within their own weight class. Winners are determined by which dog can pull the most weight 16 feet in a minute.

Sponsored by the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) the ‘pit bulls’ have their very own competition. Three certificates are awarded on a point basis. The top point earners in each class at the end of the season have the opportunity to then compete across the region.

Some critics are concerned that the dogs don’t enjoy the challenging sport. The fans of the sport feel that the dogs enjoy the challenge and wouldn’t participate if they didn’t. It’s recommended that you make your own decision on what’s best for you and your dog after doing much research.


This sport was originally developed to test the merit of German Shepherds. Its name literally means ‘protection dog’ and it’s become possibly the most popular sport for ‘pit bulls’. These dogs seem to be naturals for the competition as they are tested on mental stability, stamina, tracking, gameness, trainability, following directions, and structural efficiency.
The challenging course resembles those of the agility and obedience trials except it focuses more on developing protective traits and ability. Dogs are tested as they attack their handlers arm sheathed in a protective sleeve made of burlap. The focus is not to encourage and teach aggression but to demonstrate agility and obedience. The dogs are trained not to bite anything except the burlap.

Titles like SchH I, II, and III can be earned during these competitions. Each level requires a certain age and temperament. The master’s level has three tests that are geared toward protection of the dog’s handler plus difficult scent tracking testing.

Quite popular among law enforcement and other agencies this sport is now enjoyed by a great many people. With proper responsible training this can even be a great family event for both ‘pit bulls’ and their owners.

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-27-13)

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