Mixed Breeds For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon
There are loads of fun activities you can do with your mixed-breed dog — none of which require a pedigree! From competition to helping others, you can participate in many activities where both of you would have fun.

The more events you work for, and the more titles you earn with your dog, the better you and he work together. Never buy into the idea that your dog has accomplished all he can — there is always more to learn! You can also be certain that the more you teach him, the happier he’ll be, because you’re stimulating his brain and exercising his body.

Dock diving competition © sarah Tee / Shutterstock.com

Dock diving competition.

If you want to help others, you can enlist your mixed breed as a helper. The first step is to prove that he’s a good citizen. The next is to train him and prepare yourself as a therapy team going to schools, hospitals, and convalescent homes visiting those who can’t have pets. The presence of an animal has great healing power. Just as your mixed breed keeps your heart whole, merely touching his coat or receiving a wet kiss from his lips has great benefits for another person. Your dog will love traveling to places with you, and the attention from everyone is a huge boost to his ego.

The things you can do and the places you can go together are endless. Take the time to peruse the possibilities in the great world of mixed-breed dogs!

Compete with your dog at American Kennel Club events

The American Kennel Club (AKC), formerly the exclusive domain of purebred dogs, has a program called AKC Canine Partners, which allows you to register your mixed-breed dog, earn titles like the AKC Canine Good Citizen or AKC Therapy Dog, and participate in events like agility, AKC Rally, and more. To find out about upcoming AKC events, check out the AKC website.

Participate in United Kennel Club events

The United Kennel Club is the largest all-breed performance registry in the world. It registers dogs from across the United States and in 25 other countries. More than 60 percent of its licensed events are tests of natural abilities such as hunting, training, and instinct. They emphasize the dog’s performance not appearance.

The UKC sanctions obedience trials, agility, dog sport, weight pulling, and terrier races. All mixed-breed dogs are welcome to compete in these performance classes. They are offered throughout the year all over North America and Europe.

Train your dog to dive

I’ll never forget watching my first dock diving competition. I loved not only seeing those dogs racing down a dock and diving, but observing how much fun they and their handlers were having.

Dock diving is open to all dogs of any breed or mix. This event has become so popular that it’s featured on ESPN, in an event called the Big Air Games. Because of the sport’s quick rise in popularity, the organization Dock Dogs was formed to oversee all the smaller organizations dedicated to this sport. Its website has information on how to get started and a list of events throughout the country. Another great site for information on this sport is Sport Mutt. Finally, the North American Diving Dogs is a large organization offering numerous levels of competition for all dogs, including mixed breeds; to learn about its scheduled events, check out the website.

In order to enjoy dock diving, you just need to have access to water with either a diving board or dock. Your dog must love the water. Dogs who have a high desire to retrieve are also naturals for this sport, because they’ll want to chase down the ball as it soars over the water.

Join the fun at the American Treibball Association

If your mixed breed enjoys playing with balls and retrieving, treibball is the perfect sport for you! In this sport, dogs push a large ball down a field. The event is timed, with the fastest dog winning. Dogs compete individually, which means if your dog is easily distracted or mildly reactive to other dogs, she can still participate in Treibball.

There are three levels of membership offered at ATA:

  • Level 1: For individual pet parents who want to learn and participate in the sport
  • Level 2: For professional dog trainers who want to teach Treibball to other dogs
  • Level 3: For training facilities with multiple trainers who want to instruct and host trials
You can get more information about the sport and information about events at from the American Treibball Association.

Camp and hike: finding fun outdoor activities

What’s better than exploring and enjoying the great outdoors with your mixed breed? At Dog Play, you can find a useful list of camps and outdoor activities for dog enthusiasts. These camps offer accommodations, meals, scheduled activities and classes, a chance for dogs to play with other dogs, and opportunities for you to hike, bike, canoe, and explore. Whether you go with a special someone or by yourself, you’ll meet many other dog enthusiasts who share your passion for mixed breeds.

Help your dog become a good citizen

The Canine Good Citizen is a great certificate to work toward with your dog. It proves your dog’s temperament and control as well as social skills. Since its inception, it has become a popular goal for many dog owners. There are even communities that require all dogs living within that community to be CGC-certified!

The AKC offers the CGC test to all breeds of dogs. You can find CGC tests listed online — just click Training Resources, and then click Find a Class or Find a Trainer.

To earn a CGC title, the dog must pass ten tests of social skill, temperament, and obedience. These tests include

  • Accepting a friendly stranger
  • Sitting politely for petting
  • Being examined for overall health and well-being
  • Going out for a walk (walking on a leash)
  • Walking through a crowd
  • Performing a Sit and Down on command, as well as staying for a short period of time
  • Coming when called
  • Observing your dog’s reaction to new objects and the presence of strangers
  • Observing your dog’s reaction to the presence of other dogs
  • Observing how your dog reacts when left alone for a short period of time

Help your dog help other people

If you’re interested in training your dog to be a therapy dog (who goes to hospitals and convalescent centers to bring a smile to people’s faces), the Delta Society is the place to start. You can find out where to take a course in your area. (Courses are offered throughout the United States and internationally.) Another organization, Therapy Dogs International offers certification, as well as guidelines for teaching your dog how to offer therapy in nursing home settings, schools, libraries, and disaster relief among other situations.

The American Kennel Club also offers a Therapy Dog certification program with multiple levels of accomplishment. The levels depend on how many therapy visits you and your dog successfully complete together.

Courses from these organizations help you select and prepare animals for visits to nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and convalescent centers. They also cover how to recognize stress in your dog and provide information regarding animal health and safety. The Delta Society course also teaches you about the special needs of specific client groups, such as children, the elderly, or the physically challenged. This course also covers the legal codes related to the facilities you’ll be visiting with your dog. Prior to passing its stringent testing, your dog must be well trained.

When your mixed breed is certified, you and your dog can visit hospitals, nursing homes, and schools bringing joy and healing to everyone. You’ll need to make arrangements with each organization regarding appropriate scheduled visiting times and discuss the individuals you’ll be working with. Preparedness and patient confidentiality are important, and being trained will help you and your dog perform a better service.

Knowing how much joy you can bring others with your well-trained, well-prepared mixed-breed dog will be highly rewarding to you as well. Most dogs enjoy all the attention that these situations offer.

Dance with your mixed breed

Yes, you can actually dance with your dog. This sport is known as canine freestyle, because dancing with dogs is not based on a specific pattern, but rather on your ability to choreograph your movements and your dog’s movements in tandem, to music, incorporating obedience, natural canine movement, and fancy trick behaviors.

Several freestyle clubs and organizations hold events all over the United States and some throughout the world. The two largest clubs are the Canine Freestyle Federation and The World Canine Freestyle Organization. It is now offered by the AKC as a point-earning event, and mixed breeds are allowed to compete when they’ve registered in the AKC Canine Partners program.

Fly high with flyball

Flyball is a relay race. At the starting signal the dogs are sent over a series of four jumps to a box where they must trigger the release of a ball or beanbag, take hold of it, and race back to their handlers over the four jumps, carrying the ball or beanbag all the way. The first team of four dogs and handlers to complete the course wins the race. Points are assigned according to the dogs’ speed.

There’s a reason this sport is paired with cheering: It’s fun for your dog, fun for you and your team, and fun to watch. The sport is open to all dogs — purebred and mixed breed alike.

The North American Flyball Association is the governing body for this sport. At Flyball Dogs, you can get information about how the game is run, what titles are available, where to find tournaments, and how to train.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Miriam Fields-Babineau has been a professional animal trainer since 1978 and is the author of 45 books in the field, including one on how to train cats! A psychologist and zoologist, she takes her work home with her and lives in Vermont with her family, dogs, cats, and horses.

This article can be found in the category: