Dogs that are considered to be tough or macho still need love and time with their owners. Finding activities that interest you and use their strength and intelligence can be a little daunting. It is best to research each activity and if possible, go watch dogs performing that specific activity. You may even notice your dog has a propensity for a specific sport and that could lead to fun evenings or weekends with other dogs and their owners doing something that you both love. Check out a few of these activities for your tough dog. Jump in and give one or two of them a try.
Many people probably think that weight pulling is not really a sport, but for those with dogs that love it this is a sport and your dog can earn their way to championships and high honors. Before you start hooking your dog up to weights, be sure to have them thoroughly checked by your veterinarian and also have their spine and hips x-rayed for any condition that could be aggravated by participating in weight pulling. Most dogs that compete in weight pulling are mature dogs over two years of age. Younger dogs are still growing and maturing and should not be put under the strain. Be sure to keep everything upbeat and fun when your dog is performing. Never reprimand your dog for not wanting to pull or performing poorly. Dogs need encouragement when being asked to pull these heavy loads.
What can be more fun than trekking through unknown terrain with your dog by your side? Backpacking can be strenuous on your dog, so make sure they are fit and healthy before embarking on this adventure. Puppies should be started with smaller, lighter packs and short hikes. Do not over-stress a young dog and take plenty of breaks. Make your time together fun and exciting. The only specialized equipment that is needed is a canine backpack for your dog and a backpack for you. A leash and collar are also needed so your dog cannot get into trouble on the trail. Backpacking is more enjoyable during sunny weather, but cloudy and cool can also be beneficial when hiking.
There is a common misconception that dog sledding can only be done in the snow. This is simply not true. People in Florida or California can enjoy dog sledding just as much as people in Alaska. There are now specialized sleds or scooters that can be used for dog sledding. Most of these scooters or sleds have three wheels and can be pulled over many different terrains. Some people even hook their dog up to their bicycle to be pulled along. There are competitions available for the serious dog sledding enthusiasts.
Protection training is definitely a tough dog sport but should never be misused. Schutzhund training focuses on three parts: obedience, tracking and protection. Your dog’s abilities are evaluated before they can begin training. Things that are evaluated include endurance, willingness to work, scenting abilities, mental stability, courage and trainability. Dogs bond closely with their owners when they are doing IPO training and you can even compete with your dog in Schutzhund trials.
Most people do not consider swimming to be a tough dog sport, but dock diving on the other hand can be. Your dog must first know how to swim before you can dive into other dog sports that challenge your dog, such as dock diving. Start slow and work your dog up to longer times in the water to build their muscles and swimming skill.
Tough dogs are highly trainable and their macho appearance and attitude can be used in different dog sports. The first step is to properly train your dog so they understand basic manners and can participate in different activities without causing a disruption. Have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian before beginning any activity. After they are trained, the possibilities are endless for your dog. Research activities you are interested in and talk with people already involved in those activities. Be patient with your dog and offer a lot of love and praise when doing an activity.