Sports Training For Dogs (And Handlers!)

March 29, 2017 | We Learn | Story by Marie Aymard
As a professional dog trainer, I spend a lot of time during my day to day work routine teaching owners how to get the most out of their dogs. I love my work and find it extremely rewarding. However, there are definitely moments when I find myself stuck in a monotonous routine.

So, how do I keep myself inspired to find new training techniques, explore advances in the dog behavior world, and continue to push myself, my dogs, and my clients to the next level? I found my answer in dog sports.

Never have I pushed any of my dogs into a sport they didn’t naturally love. I am a huge proponent of taking what your dog is inherently good at and enjoys and finding ways to fine tune their natural abilities. Each and every client I have worked with has a dog with a special skill or talent, and I try my hardest to be able to single out that area to help them and their dog excel in whatever area it may be that makes them shine.

Why do I compete in dog sports? I have been competing in various dog sports for a number of years. From French Ring and bite sports to dock diving, I have tried dabbling in many different realms of the “sport dog” world. I find my heart and my inspiration in discovering things that push me as a handler and my dogs, and especially our relationship, to the next level.

“I find my heart and my inspiration in discovering things that push me as a handler and my dogs, and especially our relationship, to the next level.”

Nothing makes me more proud than stepping on a field to compete and, win or lose, learning a plethora of information about me and my furry companion in the process. The experience of trialing with a dog who feeds off the sheer joy of enthusiasm in competition sheds light for me on the incredible bond that continues to exist between K9 and handler.

Competing with dogs comes with its fair share of challenges – from financial and grueling time commitments, to disappointment and heartbreak, to frustration and beyond. But every piece of stress that comes along is paid back tenfold from the joy that you can feel at seeing your dog rise to the top with their signature, proud smile during their moments of success!


Marie Aymard joined the Bay Area K9 Association after years of working with dogs in San Francisco. She has experience working with dogs of all sizes and temperaments and is driven to help each and every dog reach their highest potential. Her background is in psychology and animal assisted therapy.

If you enjoyed this post, you should read “5 Tips For Introducing Dogs” here.

Have you tried dog training via sports? Share your tips below!


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