Let the games begin

Games; don't we all love games?  Our dogs love when we play games with them; whether they are simply fun and games at home or the competitive type, they're game.  I recently spent several hours shooting Splash dogs; what fun.  I love nothing more than shooting action; stopping time so that you can have a glimpse of what you are missing with your regular human vision.  The things that you get to see are truly amazing.  I love watching dogs have fun; and these dogs were definitely having a good dose of it.  I've shot hunting competition, frisbee, agility etc etc. 

I find myself missing a sporting activity as of late; with a house full of seniors, pretty much everyone is retired from that sort of thing.  Oh sure we still toss he ball around; Tilley lives for it.  Luke still loves the ball but because he is sooooo enthusiastic we have to be careful or he gets hurt.  Finding the games that your dog loves to partake in is not hard; but it may take a while.  And just because you added a water dog to your family; do not assume that your dog is going to love the water.  No more than getting a dog to do weight pulling who is not interested in the slightest, it doesn't always work the way you think it was going to. 

Tilley was a frisbee dog; she was a natural.  With a drive that was off the charts we had to find something for her to chase and catch.  Left to her own devices she was running around after shadows.  When we lived in Canada we had a ton of fun in the snow.  I use to hook up my two standard poodles and we did Skijoring.   We didn't do any competing; we simply got out and enjoyed the open space and snow.  The dogs loved it; they loved it so much that learning the stop command was a bit difficult.  

When you see that look; the look of determination there is no question about desire.  Once hooked dogs love what they love; and the fact that we get to play along is icing on the cake.  Jessie's passion was always digging; I could have entered her into the Go To Ground competitions but preferred to take her down to the canyon to let her dig until she could dig no more.    I photographed one of these competitions several years back; what a high spirited bunch of critter chasers.  They loved it; and you cannot find more tenacity than a ratter after a rat.  

Lure coursing is a great sport for those who love to chase.  It started out as a Sighthound sport but many groups have opened up now so that any and every dog is welcome to give it a whirl.  Heck; if you love to dance and have a pooch yearning to learn, there is the sport of Freestyle.  Just imagine all the fun; dancing with your dog and training while having fun.  Flyball is an action packed game for those who love to run and retrieve.  It's a noisy sport; but once hooked both humans and dogs alike love it.  Just like agility; a sport for every dog no matter how small, big, short or long they can all have fun doing agility. 

You may have a dog that loves nothing more than a nice saunter down the street; they are all different.  I'll never forget being in a friends backyard watching the family dog walk around the yard with the family doves.  I was shocked; having never had a dog with zero drive I could never imagine this scene unfolding quite the same in my yard.  If you have a dog that has got a very strong chase drive; energy out the wazoo that is driving you crazy, you should start playing games.  Sometimes structured direction is all that is needed to get you started on the pathway to a ton of fun for everyone involved.   

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