June 4, 2011; Coronado Bay, CA
Can your pooch hang 20? If so, get yourselves to this annual contest -- the country’s original dog-surfing competition and a fund-raiser for Donorschoose.org -- where pups of all sizes hit the water to see how long and how well they can ride the waves. There’s even a tandem heat in which you and your pet can surf together. The tandem competition can get very showy, says Loews Coronado Bay Resort general manager Kathleen Cochran, with a good-natured laugh. One year, we had a father with a daughter on his shoulders and their dog on the board. Anyone with a dog can register, and all are welcome to watch. If you want to stay at the Loews hotel, ask for the “Surf Dog” package.
September 24 and 25, 2011; Chattanooga, TNSure it’s fun to toss around a Frisbee in the park, but competition-level disc dogs take their techniques quite seriously, and they’ve passed qualifying rounds all over the world throughout the year to compete in the world championships. If you think your pooch has what it takes to get creative with catch, find tips and beginner’s info at Hyperflite’s website. Humans who haven’t yet mastered the skill can join the crowd watching the impressive leaps and bounds the canines go to at the championship.
October 11-16, 2011; Louisville, KY
About 1,000 dogs and 800 owners from all over the world converge on Kentucky for this yearly test of canine agility. That means these pooches will do more than just fetch your favorite shoes; they can navigate a course of obstacles including tunnels, ramps, jumps and even seesaws. Although you’d have to enter qualifying rounds months ahead of the annual championships to compete in Kentucky, the pet-loving public is welcome to watch the main event and participate in some side activities, including the Doggie Do-Right Test (where pets can try out an agility course), a dock-jumping contest (where dogs are judged on height and distance as they leap into a pool) and a lure coursing area (where speed is the most important skill as dogs chase a fuzzy rabbit-like lure).