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Fun Dog Activity Ideas for the New Year!

With the beginning of a New Year, it’s a good time to think of what new activities we want to learn with our dogs. A wide variety of fun sports and activities are available to dogs and their people! Even if a local class schedule doesn’t work for someone, there are lots of great online courses available so one can take classes to suit their own schedule. 

Scenting training includes tracking and trailing, scent discrimination, searching and detection work. In tracking and trailing, the dog locates and follows a certain odor. This could be a missing cat, dog, person or other animals: whatever the dog is trained to identify and follow. There are several methods of training a dog for these activities whether it is using a toy to build up enthusiasm or food to create a positive association, many dogs like to use their noses. 

Once dogs are proficient at tracking and trailing, they can learn to search a small area and then a larger area for either an item or a person or missing pet. 

Scent discrimination is an activity that continues to gain popularity and is where dogs are trained to search areas and indicate to the handler that they have located an item with a certain odor. Often the odor is that of an essential oil but they can also learn to alert their person to the odor of a certain person or item. This activity is a great confidence builder for dogs and is great for dogs who are uncomfortable around other dogs. For those who want to test the skills of themselves and their dogs, there are fun competitions in a variety of locations.

Detection dogs can search for and identify things like invasive species, animal and human remains. Medical detection dogs detect changes in people’s health.

Sheep herding is a mentally and physically challenging activity. Many herding dogs (bred for this) excel at it. Dogs are often started as puppies but adult dogs can learn too and gain confidence and skills as they learn to get quiet control of the flock of sheep. More advanced dogs learn to drive the flock and separate sheep for the shepherd and to move sheep from one area to another.

Treibball is a sport often described as a combination of herding and billiards/pool. Exercise balls are used instead of sheep and the dog “herds” 8 large exercise balls across a field into a soccer goal or a similar net. The balls are initially placed in a triangle like in billiards or pool and the dog drives the balls into the goal. The initial steps in teaching this activity are to teach a dog to move in a variety of directions on cue. This activity can be done for fun or competition.

Agility is a fun sport where dogs are trained to navigate jumps, a-frames, tires, tunnels and weave poles. In foundation classes, core strength exercises help the dog get in physical shape to do this activity. Foundation exercises also help the dog and guardian build confidence and learn the skills needed to safely use the equipment. Once the dog is comfortable with the equipment, they learn to go from one piece to another. For those who want to compete there are many trials to attend and several organizations to belong to.

Rally Obedience or “Rally-O” is an activity where the dog and guardian use directional signs to go through a numbered course. Rally-O includes over 40 obedience movements starting at the beginner level and becoming more complex as the team gets more skilled. This activity is designed to be fun and accessible to everyone. There are several organizations who offer trials for those who enjoy competing. 

There is something for everyone.

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Jane BowersJane Bowers, B.A., CABC, CPDT-KA

Jane Bowers has been training dogs for over two decades. She teaches people to train their dogs in group and private training courses and has a keen interest in assisting dogs with behavioral issues. Her company is Dogs of Distinction Canine Training Inc. Jane has a monthly newspaper column on dog-related topics and is a former host of a live call in TV show on animals. She is a strong advocate for force-free and humane training methods for all animals. Jane has a degree in psychology and is certified as a dog trainer through the "Certification Council of Professional Pet Dog Trainers" and as a behaviour consultant through the "International Association of Behavior Consultants"and through the "Association of Animal Behavior Professionals". These organizations require a minimum number of continuing education units be obtained to retain certification. She is also a professional member of "The Pet Professional Guild," an organization committed to force-free training of animals and the "Association of Professional Dog Trainers," a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to being better trainers through education. Jane is the content creator of the online course "Assessing and Interpreting Dog Behaviour," which is a course for law enforcement personnel who meet unfamiliar dogs in the course of their duties. She is the author of "Perfect Puppy Parenting," a guide to raising a happy, confident, well-behaved dog. Jane spent 17 years working for Customs Border Services and in joint teams with US Homeland Security and the RCMP. She spent a further 8 years working as an Animal Control Officer and Bylaw Enforcement Officer. Jane lives on a small farm with dogs, sheep, donkeys, and chickens. The dogs each came from situations that prevented them from living in their original homes. The dogs range in size and age and with the dog training and behavioral work, whether it's participating in the development of an online training course, working with a client's dog or tracking a lost pet or animal.


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Cordura seat cover

Great product. Have them on all my seats to protect them from water sand and nails of from all the dogs that travel with me in my camper van to the beach, rivers and woods.



We liked the first cover so much that a few days later we purchased a second one. The cover installs very, very easily, fits and covers the rear seat and the back of the front seats of our Subaru Tribeca perfectly, has flaps that cover the door-side edges of the rear seat, and stays perfectly in place. Spilled or tracked water beads up on the material and can be easily wiped off. At first our dog did tend to slide just a little on the new cover, but he soon learned to stand, sit, and lay just as well as he did before on the uncovered seat. The hammock portion seems like it might provide some little bit of protection in a sudden stop (our guy will chew apart any "doggie seat belt" type of restraint in very short order - so that option is out of the question for us). As to keeping him out of the car front-area - well, our long-legged Standard Poodle has no problem in still looking closely out the front windshield by putting his front feet on the center console - straddling the hammock - with no problem whatsoever. But we did discover that having the hammock in place does allow us to safely keep his water bottle and dish, his leash, and an old towel on the floor under the hammock - where he can no longer get at them (especially the leash and towel) to chew on them. All in all, an excellent seat cover.


My furbabies don't like leather seats!!!! But they love this seat cover!!!

Very hard to find a split bench seat cover at a reasonable price, this one fit the bill. Easy to install, very durable and looks to be easy to clean. Wanted something that would protect the leather seats and was pet friendly (hate it when the material of regular seat covers snags toenails and collars). I don't think I will have to buy another for many years!!!

Jackie Carter

My Doodle approves!

Received on time, fits great and easy to install. Color is a great match. So far, so good. Durability? Time will tell. It appears to be well constructed.

Donald Fish

Fits my 2018 VW Tiguan perfectly

Very happy with our purchase. Fits perfectly, was easy to install and keeps the leather seats in our brand new vehicle perfectly clean.

Chris Campbell

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

Diane Breland


This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.


Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

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