Agility runs for clever canines
The Newfoundland Athletic Dog Association held its first trial run of the summer in Southlands on Saturday morning, with dogs and humans teaming up to run an agility course.
Dianne Ford, one of the founding members of the association, says the agility tests have grown in popularity since the group formed in 2007.
"We started the club back in 2007 … and at the time we had about 14 teams interested — that's a human and dog team," she said.
"Since that time, we've grown to about 85 members. We teach about 100 students per session — we have about four sessions a year — so the interest has grown exponentially in the province."
The human trainers teach their dogs to run the route of the course in return for praise and awards — usually in the form of a treat or a belly rub. Dogs then win points for their technique and time.
Many of the teams who went out on Saturday were there for fun, but some take the competition pretty seriously.
Ford said the effort put in is more than many would think.
"There's a lot of strategy involved and if you handle the open a little bit awkwardly or call your dog to you too much, basically your dog will be too close to you or confused," she said.
Ford said theirs is the only club in the province approved by the Agility Association of Canada.