Weekly Feature

2017-08-10 / Front Page

See Spot run

Dozens of dogs show off their skills during Knox Farm agility competition
by KATE PELCZYNSKI
Editor


Nemo the border collie, owned by Renea Laduca, runs through the agility course on Friday at the Up and Over Dog Sports Agility Competition held at Knox Farm State Park. 
Photo by Chuck SkipperPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Nemo the border collie, owned by Renea Laduca, runs through the agility course on Friday at the Up and Over Dog Sports Agility Competition held at Knox Farm State Park. Photo by Chuck SkipperPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Josh Berenson and his dog are surprisingly calm as they prepare for their first agility competition. The Colden man enters the course and begins to jog with his Australian shepherd. The duo are in sync, as the dog flies through a maze of tunnels, and they finish with a wag and a smile.

The event is part of the Up and Over Dog Sports agility competition, which was held at Knox Farm State Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dozens of dogs showed off their skills as they quickly navigated a series of obstacle courses in hopes of being named a champion.

This is the organization’s sixth year hosting the event, according to Lynn Broderick, owner of Pet Works pet training and organizer for the Up and Over Dog Sports agility competition. She says that while the event takes a lot of planning, it’s worth it.

“We have a lot of fun,” she says. “We have a lot of people here who have a great time with their dog.”

Broderick says one of the benefits of the competition is the relaxed atmosphere.

“It’s competition, but it’s not intense. It’s very supportive. Everybody’s friends, and it’s a wonderful atmosphere.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Dee Cannon. Cannon and her Australian shepherd mix, Tobbii, competed in the weekend events, with Tobbii earning his Superior Novice Tunnelers title.

“Everyone has fun, we hang out, people camp,” says Cannon. “You will not see this at most other venues.”

She explains that people tend to be more anxious and competitive at other venues.

“It’s just not as much fun.”

Broderick says several of the people competing at the Knox venue will go on to compete in the North American Dog Agility Council champions, to be held in Sunbury, Ohio, in early October.

“They are very competitive; everyone is going for the big trophies and stuff,” Broderick says, adding that everyone there is still very supportive.

She says that with agility, it’s more about the dog and handler versus the course rather than dog and handler versus other dogs and handlers.

“Its about tackling the course, getting it right, and earning the titles.”

Besides allowing dogs to take home titles in their events, such as tunnels, weave poles and jumps, the sport offers a chance for owners to form a deep bond with their dogs.

“You’re training confidence. You’re just building this lovely working relationship. And once [the dogs] learn the obstacles, you have to learn how to get them to the right obstacle in the right order. So there’s a communication that builds.”

Broderick says the main mission is to make it fun for both the handlers and their dogs.

“They do this, not because it’s a job that they have to do, but because it’s great play. And you can always see them smiling. If they’re not smiling, then we have some work to do.”

For Berenson, the competition runs in the family. His mom has been competing for some time now, and while she did have some influence on his decision to take part in the competition, it was his dog who pushed him.

“I saw her, and I realized I needed to do something to keep her active. Seemed like a really good idea,” he said.

This won’t be the last time he competes, either. He says he plans on entering another trial at the end of the month.

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