They were running, jumping and showing off their skills.
n Agility Association of Canada agility trial was held at the Prince Albert Exhibition grounds on Sunday, with dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes demonstrating their well-trained skills.
“We have one every July and September,” Prince Albert Kennel Club president Penny Ross said. “It is a sport for dogs where they learn to manoeuvre different obstacles.”
Some of the obstacles dogs have to go through are jumps, tunnels, bridge and weaving posts.
“Some dogs are not natural jumpers so they have to be taught to jump,” Ross explained. “Tunnels dogs pick up pretty easy. The A-frame and all the contact obstacles have a yellow bottom on it -- the dogs must have one foot or one toe in that contact zone or it is faulted. It is a safety issue basically.”
There are also a number of games that can be used during an AAC trial, including gamblers, jumpers and team.
“This particular trial we are doing gamblers and standard round,” Ross said. “All the equipment is in standard rounds and they have a prescribed course they have to complete under time.”
Ross said it can take up to a year to train a dog for an agility trial.
“The first thing they learn is to do the obstacles and then you have to learn to handle the dog through the obstacles,” Ross said. “There are particular styles of handling that will help your dog know what is next in the course as opposed to fumbling through.”
Some obstacles are more difficult for the dogs to learn than others, Ross said.
“The weave posts are probably the toughest one, because those traditionally take anywhere up to six months to teach your dogs,” Ross said. “Sometimes independently it can take a lot longer.”
Although it is not a very well known sport, Ross said it is a lot of fun to do with your dog.
“It is a blast with your dog,” Ross said. “It is all positive, all food trained and the dogs have a blast. They get to run and jump and run through tunnels and hopefully the handler doesn’t get too (upset) with them when they do something wrong. It is lots of fun for the handler and it is a blast for the dogs.”