The official term for dog shows is conformation — as in, the act of conforming or producing conformity. While a dog show may look like a beauty pageant, it’s not. Dogs are not being compared to each other; they’re being measured by how closely they conform to the standard of their particular breed. Why? Because the closer a dog’s appearance is to the breed’s standard, the better that dog’s ability will be to produce puppies that meet the standard. Mixed breeds and spayed or neutered purebreds are ineligible to compete in conformation.
Think of an AKC Rally event as any team sport: You and your dog navigate a course, side-by-side, as you steer him through a course of 10-20 different signs. Each of these signs provides instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. The dog and handler move continuously throughout the course with the dog under control at the handler’s left side. There is a clear sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during and between the numbered signs. Although each performance is timed, having a good race time is not the goal; it’s all about working as a team while performing the skills, with the dog under control.
Agility is a growing dog sport in the United States, with over 1 million entries to the AKC’s Agility program each year. Dogs race against a clock as they navigate an obstacle course with strong concentration and speed. Whether you just want to have fun exercising with your dog, or want to go further and enter an Agility competition, get ready for a fast-paced, rewarding experience that will get you and your dog in the best shape of your lives!
So what do you do with your ever-nosey dog? Get him involved in an AKC Tracking event where he can sniff and smell to his heart’s content and demonstrate his natural ability to recognize and follow a scent. It’s the perfect way for you and your dog to enjoy many hours together, outside in the fresh air, honing his natural abilities.
Developed in the 1930s, Obedience is one of the AKC’s oldest sporting events. From walking on- and off-leash to retrieving and jumping, or demonstrating your dog’s ability to stay, Obedience trials feature dogs that are well-behaved at home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. It is essential that the obedience dog demonstrates willingness and enjoyment while it is working with the handler.
Therapy work involves volunteers who schedule visits to various facilities and locations such a nursing homes, classrooms, libraries, assisted living centers, hospices, funeral homes, schools, shelters even courtrooms.
A dog can provide a valuable sense of reassurance, joy, or calmness to people experiencing stressful, lonely or depressing situations or general times in their life.
Ready to start volunteering and work towards earning an AKC Therapy Dog Title? View the list of AKC recognized therapy dog registration/certification organizations.