Dogs lead active lives. Wild dogs spend about 80 percent of their time hunting and scavenging for food. Domestic breeds have worked beside us for thousands of years. When it comes to competitive dog sports—like agility competitions or long-distance jumping contests—medium-sized dogs are well represented.
But what about small dogs? These compact canines are descended from wolves — and have the same wild inner spirit as larger breeds. Likewise, they crave physical activity to stay healthy and happy. Here are some great athletic activities to get your dog of any size off your lap.
At Home Agility
Perhaps a Pomeranian isn’t the first breed you think of winning a dog agility competition, but it doesn’t mean small breeds can’t handle and enjoy an obstacle course—it just has to be tailored to their size. With simple supplies like laundry baskets, a broomstick, PVC pipes, duct tape, chairs, hula hoops and basic household objects you can create an agility obstacle course that’s perfect for a small dog.
The best part of agility training is that it’s a dog-and-owner activity. In order to get your dog to run the course, your dog needs to follow commands. As a result, this activity is great for your dog’s physical and mental health—and it will get you moving too!
Here are some ideas for creating obstacles, including how to build them and what materials you will need. Also, check out this fun video of a free-spirited little yorkie that shows any sized dog what it means to be athletic!
Disc Dog Training
Your dog doesn’t have to be able to leap high into the air to catch a disk to enjoy a game of Disc Dog, which is like an elevated game of fetch. This activity also requires human-and-dog interaction because, well, somebody must throw the disk for the dog to catch, right?
Before you start, make sure to use a disk that is small enough to fit into your dog’s mouth. You’ll also want to practice your throwing skills. If you toss the disk too high, your small dog won’t be able to leap high enough to grab it. If you throw it too far, you might tire your dog out quickly.
It’s important to realize that not all dogs instinctively understand how to play the game. For beginners, toss the disk so it lands in front of your dog. Once your dog learns how to catch, you can start training them to learn the concept of running after the disk to catch it. After that, you can experiment with tossing the disk at different heights until you toss it over your dog’s head, at which point it should instinctively follow the disk all the way around to catch it.
Do you have a small dog that enjoys athletic challenges? If so, tell us about them!