I've been having a ton of fun participating in this sport with my dogs, and teaching others how to play. I love watching how individual dogs bring their own personalities to the search. So if you think this sounds like something you would be interested in trying with your dog let me know.
There are a huge number of dog sports out there now, and I am going to attempt to mention most of them below, but I’m sure I’m going to miss a few. If I miss your favourite sport let me know so I can update this to include it! Here we go (in no particular order):
I think if you asked random people on the street to name or describe a dog sport this would be the most commonly recognized one thanks to its popularity and TV coverage. In this sport the handler directs the dog around a pre-determined course of obstacles. The goal is to run “clean” (avoiding faults for knocking down bars etc.) and fast.
One of the earlier organized dog sports these competitions test the ability of dog to respond to a wide variety of cues without any rewards while they are working. One of the earlier levels (Companion Dog) includes such tasks as heeling and coming when called while the upper level (Utility Dog) includes tasks such as determining which item the handler touched and bringing it back, running to the other end of the ring and taking the jump indicated by the handler and fetching back to the handler a glove dropped by the handler while heeling.
Newer than the sport of Obedience, many of the moves required for Rally originate in Obedience or as practice for Obedience exercises. The dog and handler complete a predetermined course of signs with such exercises as “Sit-Down-Sit”, “Send over Jump” and “Spiral Left”.
In this sport the dog and handler perform a routine set to music. Depending on the organization and level there may be heeling beside, in front or behind the handler. There may be props to interact with as part of the performance. I have seen some beautiful Freestyle routines and marvel at the amount of training that goes into those beautiful performances.
A sport that combines some of the skills needed for Musical Freestyle into a Rally Obedience course.