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Work like a dog: Jennifer Pinder and Static compete.
Work like a dog: Jennifer Pinder and Static compete.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Bark

You gotta wonder what a pep talk for a dog must sound like to a fly on the wall. "You got it, Rufus, you're number one! You are the bone, be the bone, go after the bone. Get out there and tell those mutts what for!"

Say "dog competition" and most people conjure up the image of greyhounds and the associated negative aspects that require such things as rescue groups. But in this case, the USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility is all about beneficial dog exercise, promoting a regular schedule with a vet and, most important, fun with your dog.

This weekend brings more than 500 canine athletes and their handlers to the Las Colinas Equestrian Center. Seriously talented canine athletes from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Japan and Russia will participate in an assortment of feats that show off just how flexible, skilled and agile they are. With the international flair, the Grand Prix seems of Olympic proportions in the dog world. The competitions will qualify teams for the Masters Team Championships and the prestigious $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechaser award in later competitions. The cooler part is that for such an event there are opportunities for us laymen to get involved as well.

A separate ring is available for the public on Saturday and Sunday where owners and their best friends can try out the obstacle course. Local dog-agility clubs will provide supervision for the public obstacles, and demonstrations and clinics are offered. Not only will the sports of flyball and flying disc be covered, but a canine freestyle clinic is available for the owner-and-pet duos that wish to give a go at a dance routine to music. Just imagine the pep talk for this one. Don't ask us to spoil any details on this; get out there with Spot and shake your stuff...just be sure to send us the photos. Makes us think a bit of handler/dog relationships in Best In Show, which, we might add, would be a great way to round out the day after a visit to the competition.


The USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility

Las Colinas Equestrian Center, 600 Royal Lane, Irving

September 19 to September 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 per person, and children under 6 are admitted free. Parking is $5. Call 1-888-244-5489.

The Grand Prix also offers representation from veterinary pharmaceutical companies such as Heartgard and Frontline Plus as part of its "For a Healthy Pet, Visit the Vet" campaign. Company representatives will be available to answer questions concerning their products and advise pet owners on how to maintain a healthy regimen of vet visits and canine parasite control.

Just think of the heaven this could be for a dog lover: breeds of all kinds and from all over showing off their doggy skills, chances to get in on the action with your own dog and healthy advice all in one trip to Las Colinas.


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