You know your dog loves to run, but what about surfing? Or dancing? Those are just some of the creative competitions that dog owners have come up with over the years -- events that are as much fun to watch as they are to compete in. For a real pet travel adventure, find a competition near you to join in, or hit the road to be a spectator at these competitive canine attractions.
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.
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).
The feats these sport dogs accomplish are truly amazing to watch. So the next time your dog flawlessly catches a morsel as it falls from the table or does a seemingly perfect jig while waiting for her walk, ask yourself this: Is she trying to tell you something? See you at the games.
Billie Cohen is a travel writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She's covered the Northeast, the Far East, and many places in between.