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Other Fun Activities You Can Do With Your Beardie

Charlie's favorite activity is archaeology!

Beardies just want to have fun! Whether you're the competitive type, or would rather just kick back and enjoy yourself without all that pressure or having to dress up, there's an activity out there for you. Here are some other things you and your Beardies can enjoy together:

K-9 Nosework

This is one of the newest dog sports out there! Based on detection dog training techniques, K-9 Nosework involves hiding treats and/or toys in a certain location, and then directing the dog to find them. Dinah and I took our first K-9 Nosework class at Paw-zn-Around in Saco, but All Dogs Gym and other venues are beginning to offer it as well. Seamus and Badger trained in nosework with POC and passed his Level 2 ORT. It's a terrific confidence-builder for the retiring doggie personality, and all dogs love to use their noses! Advanced nosework and nosework trials involves such tests as car searches.

For more information on K-9 Nosework, here are some resources:

Dock Dogs

You'd think that Dock Dogs would be a sport more tailored toward retrievers and sporting dogs, and you'd be semi-right. Dock Dogs trials are open to all dogs regardless of breed, size, or ability. Some Beardies have even tried Dock Dogs at Beardie Camp! Seacoast Dock Dogs is the local Dock Dogs club.

Dog Camps

Dog camps are springing up all over the country. Some are general camps that cover the spectrum of dog activities, and some are geared toward one type of activity, such as agility or herding. Duncan and Cadence went to Camp Gone-to-the-Dogs in Vermont, and Duncan also attended Herding Camp there. Although we decided that we preferred to spend our activity time and money doing more specific things, a good general-purpose camp can provide you with a week (or weeks) of opportunities to try out all manner of activities, and to see which ones you like. Here are some camp links for you:

In addition to the camps listed here, there are great lists of dog camps around the country at the dog-play camp listing.

Treibball

Treibball, sometimes known as "urban herding" or "dogball," involves training your dog to maneuver a vinyl exercise ball into a goal. The sport originated in Germany, but has now been brought to the States in order to give American dogs some needed exercise. Best of all, you don't have to keep sheep! This would be perfect for all of the resident Beardies, especially Seamus.

This sport was absolutely tailor-made for herding dogs, but any dog of any breed may join in the fun. The American Treibball Association website offers rulebooks for sale, as well as memberships for individual owner/trainers or clubs.

Hiking:

Charlie atop Mt. Abbot, with the White Mountains in the distance

Charlie loves hiking — so much so that he'd rather do that than any sort of dog sport. Badger is also an avid hiker. Hiking can be a great way for you and your dog to enjoy the outdoors together and get plenty of exercise. Here are some links you can use:

Traveling With Your Dog:

Your vacation can be even more fun when you bring your dog with you, but it does take a good deal of research and planning. Here are some links to check out:

Canine Freestyle:

Canine Freestyle is a choreographed performance, set to music. Seamus has had some training in canine freestyle, but the rest of us have only watched it performed. If you're interested in learning more about freestyle, here are some places to get started:

Flyball:

Talk about exciting! Flyball is as fast-paced as a dog sport can get. Here are some links for getting started in Flyball:

TTouch and Canine Massage:

One wonderful, gentle way to bond with your dog is to perform massage or TTouch (Tellington Touch, developed by Linda Tellington-Jones). Some rescuers I know use these techniques to calm and reassure rescue dogs. Cadence and I attended an introductory class in TTouch, and Cadence was used as the demo dog. He fell asleep in the middle of the demo! Here's some basic information to get you started:

Dog Scouts of America

Yes, there is such a thing! Remember the fun you had hiking with your buddies and telling stories around the campfire? Well, now there's the Dog Scouts of America! The focus of the Dog Scouts is socialization and training, but you can also earn merit badges in Community Service and in Cleaning Up America -- as well as in lots of dog-related activities.