Dogs on trial

Maybell event helps raise funds for Western Agility Group

The dogs ran the show at Maybell Park Saturday during the second annual dog trials sponsored by Craig's Western Agility Group.

Dogs of all sorts and sizes competed with the help of their owners by jumping over bars, weaving through poles and running up and down teeter totters in a competition that draws participants from as far away as Canada, said member Glenna Grandbouche.

"It's just the addiction of agility," she said.

Dog agility trials challenge dogs, with the guidance of their owners or trainers, to traverse through a series of obstacles to earn points. Participants can earn roughly 40 points per competition and it takes 200 points to enter the championship round.

Saturday's event was a fund-raiser to support Craig's group.

Agility judge Bruce Vincent from California said he enjoys watching the performances, especially as dogs improve over the years.

"It's a joy to watch," he said. "You see dogs a year ago and you look at how good they're getting."

Diane Allen from Moab, Utah got interested in the sport about seven years ago. Her border collie, Lucy, was rescued from the pound and Allen since has taught her a number of tricks.

"Part of the agility training is to get them to deal with distractions, like an airplane going overhead or a train going by," she said.

"If a dog is really doing it then, they'll tune all that out."

Confessed dog lover Tammy Garner of Grand Junction said she first got the idea to introduce her dog to agility training while watching trials on Animal Planet.

"I thought, 'I can do that,'" she said.

Competing in her first dog trial Saturday, Garner said the dog training produces benefits beyond the entertainment and competition for dogs' owners.

"It builds better bonds with your dog and provides socialization that helps them be more well-behaved in public," she said.

Ultimately Garner said, the best participants are those who can communicate most effectively with their dogs.

"You think it's about training your dog, but it's about us learning how to train our dog to it," she said.

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