Tanq, an energetic and enthusiastic six-year-old American Hunt Terrier, was bouncing in place, angling for a treat from Sandy Stephenson, his owner.
He would need that energy in a few minutes, when the B.C. and Yukon dog agility championships resumed at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley at 24550 72 Ave.
Several outdoor horse riding arenas were transformed into dog obstacle courses, with jumps and tunnels and climbing apparatus designed to test a canine’s speed and obedience.
There were hundreds of dogs of all sizes and as many owners in attendance.
Stephenson, an Aldergrove resident, and her dogs have been competing in agility competitions for about 20 years.
She said the appeal of the sport is the “relationship you create with your dog.”
Also, it’s a lot of fun.
“It’s a legal addiction, Stephenson said, laughing.
Aldergrove resident Lale Aksu calculates her time in the sport at 11 years, based on the age of her oldest dog, Eddie, a 13-year-old Manchester terrier.
Eddie turned in a good performance Saturday morning but her other dog, a two-year-old Manchester named Metric, was a bit distracted, she said.
“His girlfriends at home are all in season, so he has other things on his mind,” she said, laughing.
Competition began Saturday morning and was scheduled to wrap up Sunday afternoon.
It is open to the public.
Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy.
Dogs run competitively, against others of similar age and height, off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler cannot touch their dog or the obstacles.
Handlers’ controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and co-ordination of the handler.
The history of the sport can be traced back to a 1970s demonstration at the Crufts Dog Show in the UK.
Since that time, the sport has grown exponentially worldwide as a positive method to train and grow bonds between dogs and handlers, as well as being very popular with spectators.
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