Intro to Dog Sports: An Interview with Trevor Smith CPDT-KA | Pupford
May 3rd, 2023
Filed under Podcasts
Dog sports encompass everything from agility to dock diving and SO much more in between. Think dog sports are too advanced for your dog? Think again!
In this episode, we sit down with Trevor Smith to give an introduction to all things dog sports. We'll discuss how to get started with your dog, what competitions are like, and most importantly, how dog sports can help improve your dog's behavior and your bond with him or her!
CONNECT WITH TREVOR SMITH
Trevor is a CPDT-KA trainer who continually attends seminars and conferences to improve his knowledge of dog training, and all things dogs.
He is a strong advocate for pain and force-free methods and believes that we should all personally feel good about the methods we use to train our dogs.
When not training dogs, Trevor and his wife (a veterinarian) enjoy fun outdoor activities like scuba diving and zip-lining, taking their dogs on hikes, and playing video games.
Trevor is also a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer from the University of Tennessee.
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OVERVIEW OF INTRO TO DOG SPORTS
- Yes, dog sports!
- There is everything from dock diving to nose work to dog agility to fast pack and so much more!
- Trevor’s mom was also a dog trainer who loved dog sports
- He has been competing since he was around 8 years old as a junior handler
- Invitationals is where a lot of sports come together, and different sports have different events
- Each activity has their own event and qualifications
- To qualify you compete throughout the year and collect points to be invited to the event
- When you first start off, don’t be intimidated!
- A lot goes into it but there is an easy barrier of entry
- There are different organizations like The American Kennel Club, USDAA, UKI, etc. and they all have different rules, obstacles, etc.
- You can decide which organization to work with depending on what is the most interesting to you!
- Get a trainer or attend a class for safety reasons
- The first obstacle you shouldn’t do as a beginner is a seesaw, since this can be pretty frightening to some dogs
- Don’t worry about buying a lot of equipment! Most foundational training can be flat work, canine conditioning, games, etc.
- Starting with the foundations will make things easier
- It can be a big adrenaline rush
- When you are nervous, you can actually tell yourself you are excited instead
- It’s all about having fun!
- You want it to be fun for both you and your dog
- If you do it right and build the foundations first, it is rewarding for your dog!
- If you condition your dog to know that obstacles have value and doing this with you has value, doing those obstacles actually becomes the reward
- Treats can’t be used in competitions, so you want the behaviors to become the reward for your dog!
- Your Stress: I am nervous to do this vs I am excited to do this. YOU CHOOSE!
- Value for Behavior: Build the value up for the behaviors you want vs worrying about removing the food
- It’s all training: Learn from everything and don’t beat yourself up
With any dog sport, you will create a really strong bond with your dog. When you train in a way that is safe and enjoyable for your dog, everything will become that much better for you and your dog!