Scent hurdling is partly about obedience, and partly about speed. It’s similar to flyball in that it’s a four-dog team event, a relay race up and back over a line of small hurdles. However, the object of each dog’s attention at the end of the course is not a spring-loaded box that spits out tennis balls, but a board on which are placed four identical dumbbells, one of which carries his handler’s scent. The dog must sniff out the right dumbbell, pick it up, and bring it back over the jumps. Good scent-hurdle dogs are both fast and accurate, and as enthusiastic about their game as flyball specialists are about theirs.
Schutzhund is a three-tiered sport involving obedience, tracking and protection work. It began in Germany as a working and temperament test for German Shepherd Dogs, but expanded to include the many other breeds typically used as protection dogs, and is now (in North America at least) open to all breeds capable of performing the exercises, which are demanding, especially at the advanced levels. All three parts of the test are conducted in a large, open field rather than in a small ring or arena. Dogs must demonstrate steadiness when a gun is fired. The protection work may seem to be the most exciting part of the sport, but tracking and obedience are essential aspects of an integrated whole
Sled Dog Tests
Who says that hockey is Canada’s only national sport? You don’t have to move indoors in the winter to enjoy working with your dog: you can hitch him to a sled and take to the snow. What’s more, you don’t need a large team – one or two dogs are enough – and while the Northern breeds, such as Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes, are the traditional mainstays of the sport, dogs of many breeds can and do excel as sled dogs. Many people are content to enjoy recreational sledding, but racing at both sprint and long distances is fun and extremely popular, and sled-dog titles can be earned by building up mileage in accredited races.
That the Newfoundland Dog possesses a unique instinct and talent for saving lives has been recognized for many years, and the remarkable achievements of this gentle giant have been well documented. The breed was developed to work in the water, and the water-rescue test was devised to promote and preserve these rescue skills. At present, only Newfoundlands may compete. Junior- and advanced-level tests are offered, and the various required exercises include retrieving from shore and from a boat, towing a boat, retrieving underwater