Danville Kennel Club Holds Dog Agility Events In Chatham | New
CHATHAM, Virginia – This morning the Danville Kennel Club hosted the American Kennel Club Canine Agility Trials at the Olde Dominion Farm Complex.
The trials span three days and attract canine athletes and their humans from across the East Coast.
Paige Wiseman has been a member of the Kennel Club for over 20 years and has served as trial chair for 10 years. In addition to having agility trials three to four times a year, the Danville Kennel Club typically hosts an AKC Dog Breed Show, but hasn’t been able to do so since until before COVID-19. Agility trials, however, continued throughout the pandemic with mask regulations in place.
“We only missed one agility trial [since COVID-19], and we skipped two purebred shows, ”Wiseman said. “This is the first trial that we are back to more normal. We did masks and distancing, but we continued to run trials via COVID-19, except for those two things. This is our first time without a mask, but we try to respect the distance, and we keep the hand sanitizers outside, so that seems to be fine. People felt comfortable in this environment because it is so big that we kind of felt like we were outside. “
Agility is a rigorous yet rewarding competition that involves a team of handler and dog executing a preset obstacle pattern within a limited time frame. As the dogs progress through the trials, the courses increase with difficulty. On Friday morning, the top dogs competed in a top class, while the more novice classes compete in the afternoon.
“As you succeed, the challenges get harder and the expectations get higher,” Wiseman said.
Dogs are grouped into classes according to experience level, as well as the dog’s shoulder height. Each class is made up of a wide range of races, each with their own advantages. Some dogs are faster than others, while other dogs are more precise at overcoming obstacles.
“You could win a class here, but your most important goal is an American Kennel Club title, reaching the agility championship,” Wiseman said. “To get a championship you must have competed and scored 20 double-Q (you qualified, didn’t make a mistake and did it on time, in two classes on the same day), then you must accumulate speed points. “
Although the event has been taking place at ODAC since the arena was built eight years ago, the Danville Kennel Club has been running trials for much longer, previously at the University of Averett Equestrian Center and the park. Danville-Pittsylvania County Exhibits. According to Wiseman, ODAC attracts many competitors because of the quality of the arena.
“Grass matters to people because these [dogs] are athletes, and they don’t want their dogs to get hurt, so they don’t want a slippery surface, ”Wiseman said. “We have a reputation here, with the ODAC, of offering a very nice dirt course. The national competition takes place on land, so people like to come here to prepare their dogs for the nationals. They love clay courts if done right, and we have a very good reputation for having a good surface that will keep the dogs safe.
While many enjoy the excitement of moving on to agility championships, Wiseman emphasized that agility is more than titles, achievements, or achievements.
Like dogs, Kennel Club members offer a wide variety of perspectives, but the common factor is their love for their dogs and the pleasure of doing something fun with them. Interaction between people is another of Wiseman’s favorite parts of the sport: “the camaraderie of those like-minded people doing what we love here, which is playing with our dogs.”
“We have a bit of everything – teachers, plastic surgeons, coaches, photographers, artists, news anchors, vets… [people] coming from all walks of life. “
Even children as young as nine are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in the agility events as well, benefiting from reduced entry fees and scholarship opportunities.
“If you want to be part of the world team, you will probably have a breed that is particularly good at being fast,” said Wiseman. “Often it’s a sheltie or a border collie. These are the most popular breeds to be part of the world team. But most [us] are weekend warriors. There are people who have a day job during the week, and they just want to play with their dogs on the weekends, so they don’t train every day. It’s just for fun, so race doesn’t really matter… But it is [about] this partnership and this relationship and succeed. It’s just you and your dog, no matter what others are doing.
As with many other animal-based sports, the partnership that each owner establishes with the dog far supersedes any material rewards that progressing through trials might bring. At the end of each race, whether or not the course was completed with absolute precision or speed, it is the owner’s job to reassure the dog of a job well done and to reward the effort.
“The dogs don’t know, they don’t have the ribbons, and the titles don’t mean anything to them,” Wiseman said. “They are doing it for us.”