Activities For A Rugby Player With Dogs

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Introduction

Often touted as being one of the toughest sports in existence, rugby is a sport that tests the mental fortitude of its players just as much (if not more so) than it tests one's sheer athletic ability. Simply put, it takes a lot of skill, coordination, and guts to play rugby as well as a lot of bravery to even attempt playing a sport in which physical contact is not only allowed but encouraged. Dogs can learn to play rugby on a very deep level (so much so that World Dog Rugby tournaments are held annually,) as well as a number of the sports that are similar to it such as soccer and football to a lesser degree.

Dog-friendly Rugby

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 45 min
Items needed
Rugby Ball
Dog Treats
Activity description
While you can play rugby with your dog, you will have to play a modified version that's less physically intense than traditional rugby. You'll have to go through the process of teaching your dog how to understand what a rugby ball even is, how to manipulate and move the ball safely, and what they ultimately need to do with the ball to complete this activity. Rugby balls can be purchased for less than $15 while a packet of dog treats can be bought for about $10. It's best to try this activity out with your dog on a sunny day, where the grass won't be slippery from rain.
Step
1
How to play
As opposed to a traditional rugby game where you can earn points via a successful try or by kicking the ball through the goal, the main goal of dog-friendly rugby is to get your pet to perform certain actions with the ball. You'll have to teach your pet these actions via demonstrating first, asking your pet to repeat what you've shown them, and then reward their efforts with a snack. A simple action to teach your do is to pick up the ball, carry it a short distance, and then drop it on command.
Step
2
Teamwork
If you've got enough friends with dogs who are also willing to teach their pets how to handle a rugby ball, you all can create teams and hold an impromptu rugby match together. We're hardpressed to refer to the event as a proper match, since it doesn't really matter which team scores the most points or anything like that. So long as all of the dogs are being active and having fun, everybody wins.
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Flyball

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Hard
30 min
Items needed
Flyball box
Tennis balls
Hurdles
Activity description
In a lot of ways, flyball and rugby have a lot of similarities; whereas rugby is considered to be the toughest sport humans currently play, flyball is one of the toughest activities for dogs to engage in. Both rugby and flyball require their players to be speedy, agile, and able to think on their toes and make big decisions in a matter of seconds. You'll need a special piece of equipment known as a flyball box (which can be bought for around $40 to $50), four hurdles and a few tennis balls to play. When you and your dog do try out flyball, aim to practice on a sunny day. If you aren't interested in purchasing the hurdles and equipment and would like camaraderie instead, join a club to learn about this fun sport.
Step
1
Flyball conditioning
There's a lot of running, jumping, and turning on a dime during a typical flyball session so you'll want to get your dog's stamina and agility up to snuff. You can do this by taking your pet to a track field (or any area with enough space, really,) and jog and/or run laps with your pet on a consistent basis.
Step
2
How to score
A dog won't officially score any points until they've run over the hurdles, retrieved the ball from the flyball box and navigated back over the hurdles, allowing the next dog on the team to go. It'll take some time for a dog to get all of those ideas down pat, so be patient as your pet learns the ins and outs of this game. Joining a flyball club has its benefits as your dog can take the watch and learn approach.
Step
3
Time attack
Part of the fun of flyball is seeing just how fast the teams of dogs can complete the run. Once you've noticed that your pet has become fairly proficient at flyball, begin timing their runs. Take note of their initial clear time and then continue to encourage your dog to complete the course more quickly each time they attempt it. The goal is to help your dog and their team beat their old time with enough training and hard work. Then you'll have flyball champs on your hands!
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Treibball

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
45 - 60 min
Items needed
Rubber Balls
Goal Posts
Activity description
What do you get when you mix giant medicine balls, dogs, and soccer together? You get treibball, a canine sport that originated from Germany a few years back. The goal of treibball is to encourage your dog to balance a massive rubber ball to the best of their ability as they attempt to steer the ball into a goal post. There isn't an official kind of ball that you need to purchase to try out this activity, so a super-sized rubber ball will suffice for this game. Treibball is best played on sunny days, where the weather is fair and the wind isn't too strong.
Step
1
For fun
In a traditional treibball match, a dog needs to fully push the ball into the goal to score. But who says you and your dog have to play traditionally all of the time? You and your dog can get quite a bit of enjoyment out of eliminating the goals from the game entirely and just playing for fun.
Step
2
For points
If you are interested in playing a traditional game of Treibball with your pet, then here's what you need to know to play it; points aren't officially scored until a dog has fully escorted a ball into a goal post. Traditional treibball matches incorporate eight balls at a time, meaning that the game isn't officially over until a dog has successfully pushed all of the balls into the goal post.
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More Fun Ideas...

Pet-Fit Beta

The members of Pet-Fi Beta take a lot of pride in being members of one of the UK's few pet-friendly rugby clubs. Pet-Fi Beta contributes to a lot of animal welfare programs year round and holds a number of events that both raise awareness and funds towards helping out animals that are down on their luck. Check online to see if there is an organization like this near you.

Visit a Rugby Pub

You'd be surprised to learn how many rugby pubs permit pets on their premises in areas like England and Ireland. A quick Google search will reveal dozens of pet-friendly rugby pubs that could potentially be a short walk's distance from your place! Most of these places will ask that you keep your pet leashed at all times but will otherwise be happy to accommodate you and your pet. Call your local pub to see if their policy matches those of pubs overseas.

Conclusion

While dogs aren't able to play rugby on the exact same level that humans do, canines are able to understand a number of the game's most basic aspects. This makes it a lot easier to set up impromptu rugby matches with your dog than it is to set up improvised basketball games with your furry friend. Ultimately, your dog won't really care about scoring points or winning matches - in their mind, spending time playing with you is the sweetest victory they could achieve. Feel free to invite more dogs into the mix by seeing if you can get your loved ones' pets in on the game as well.