With the Olympics about tho start, here are some summer Olympic sports that you and your dog can enjoy together, because nothing beats having fun together! What's your favourite dog-friendly sport?
Athletics - Is your dog a natural runner? Running is one of the easiest sports to enjoy with your dog - you might even do it already! If you (or your dog) are just starting out with jogging or running, remember to keep health and safety at the foremost and ease into the fitness fun. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, how about setting up a few jumps for doggy hurdles? A small doggy jump is a very simple agility DIY to try. If your pup enjoys it, you can even make your own full dog agility course. If your dog is fit and clever, you might enjoy connecting with your local agility clubs or perhaps even relay race flyball group!
Ball Sports - Depending on your dog's size and preferences, ball play might be anything from chasing a big ball to playing fetch with a simple tennis ball. My dogs are professional flatteners of netballs, basketballs, soccerballs, rugbyballs...sigh...but they do LOVE ball time (whether still inflated or sad and saggy). Remember - Toys are for playing and playtime is safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more about dog toy safety here.
Cycling - Depending on where you live and your dog's health/fitness, you might be able to cycle with your dog. Check you local laws before you hit the roads/trails together as it is illegal in some places to cycle with a leashed dog. Even experienced cyclists can find this difficult, so choose safe locations, proceed with caution, appropriate safety equipment, and take plenty of time for training! Safety first at all times. We'll stick to jogging! :) I am a very confident cyclist, but still wouldn't cycle with my dogs on lead, for my safety and for theirs, and although we have suitable off-lead trails, running at speed would be far too strenuous for Oli anyway.
Diving - If your dog is a fearless water lover, check out the crazy doggy sport of diving dogs aka dock jumping.
Gymnastics - If your dog love obedience and enjoys putting on a good performance, this might be the doglympic sport for you! This is a fun activity that can be enjoyed everyday and at any level, from the easy everyday rollover, sit, drop, jump (my dogs...) to a full on choreographed dance routine and everything in between. Humphrey is an ongoing work in progress, but Oli still joins us for daily obedience training. It's great together time, mental stimulation, and I sneak in a few targeted senior workout strength/stretch moves.
Swimming - Depending on where you live, you may be able to enjoy swimming with your dog in a pool, rivers/lakes, or the ocean. It's a great way to cool down together, and here are some tips for pet swimming safety. Pool safety and supervision is very important, especially since it may be difficult (or even impossible) for your dog to get out of the pool without assistance. In the great outdoors, be vigilant for the risks of of strong currents, waves, and rips. Don't become complacent, especially in poor weather when raised river levels or coastal surges might catch you and your dog by surprise.
Weight Lifting - If your dog loves to work, maybe they'd enjoy weight pulling or towing (e.g. carting or dryland mushing). Definitely not for all dogs, but reportedly some dogs absolutely love it!
Wrestling - I'm not going to recommend actively dog-wrestling with your pup, but depending on size and socialisation, wrestling with a dog friend can be tons of fun! Look at this oldie from my archives of Humphrey play wrestling with Oli as a young pup - Oli was always so gentle and patient.
Exhibition Only - Anything you enjoy together is worth making time for, isn't it? What does your dog LOVE to do? Would they be a gold-medalist in nosework? Championship tug-toy wrestling? Synchronised spooning? Rip-tathalon? Share it in the comments - we'd love to hear from you!