Category Archives: Dog Sports

Dog Agility Loses an Obstacle

By Brenna Fender

Nice LabrodourNearly every American agility organization has removed the chute (otherwise known as the closed tunnel) from the list of obstacles that can be used on an agility course. This has been an unprecedented move – never in agility’s history has one obstacle been dropped in such a widespread and immediate fashion.

The chute has a rigid opening and a closed fabric extension which dogs blindly push through. Many injuries have been reported as dogs slip on the fabric inside the chute or get wrapped up in the cloth while trying to exit. While the chute wasn’t really considered dangerous in agility’s early years, increased canine speed, more complicated course designs, and the use of surfaces like artificial turf have made the obstacle a hazard in the eyes of many competitors.

While several agility organizations have said that they have been looking into chute safety for some time, the seemingly sudden dropping of the obstacle across many organizations, including the very popular American Kennel Club (AKC), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), and Canine Performance Events (CPE), appears to have been linked to social media campaigns. A widely circulated video demonstrating chute-related injuries seems to have made a significant impact.

It’s important to note that one agility organization, the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC), removed the chute (and several other obstacles) from use on course approximately 15 years ago, so the idea is not a completely new one.

For more information, see “The Chute is Eliminated from Nearly Every Agility Venue” (https://cleanrun.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/the-chute-is-eliminated-from-nearly-every-agility-venue/).

Dock Jumper Has Impressive Vertical Debut

By Brenna Fender

Zac-first-time-vertical

Photo by Hillary Fuentes

Three-year-old Australian Labradoodle, Zac, made a big splash in his first ever Vertical event at a recent Courteous Canine North American Diving Dogs competition. On Saturday, he began jumping at 4′ and went to 5′, and on Sunday he started at 4’8″ and it went to 5′ again! It was a very impressive performance by a young dog.

Zac is owned by Tampa resident Suzy Giunta, who says that Zac has been a lover of the pool since he was 8 weeks old. “Zac’s favorite activity is definitely any activity involving water and a toy,” Giunta says.

Zac had an early introduction to water sports. A dog day care employee that Giunta used for Zac’s older brother, Buster, recommended that they try a dock jumping class at Courteous Canine. “Buster loved the water and took to the dock like a natural,” Giunta says. “Then Zac came along and we introduced him to the pool at 8 weeks old. He is a complete nut for the water! He always has his eye on the bumper and we cannot keep him out of the water,” she added.

Training for dock jumping is ongoing, Giunta says. Their regimen includes dock practice and conditioning with Fit Paws exercise tools. “We are always trying to improve but, most of all, we want the Doodles to have fun,” she says. The pair does not do specific training exercises for vertical jumps and are actually more likely to participate in events in which the bumper moves farther out rather than up. Zac’s exceptional performance without practice on vertical jumping is amazing!

With such success off the dock, we asked Giunta if she had some advice for owners of potential dock jumping dogs. She says, “Get your dogs in the pool, practice, be safe, have fun, and make new friends, fur and human!”

If you would like to try dock jumping with your pup, try a class at Courteous Canine (www.courteouscanine.com/group-class-main-campus/#dock) and visit the next dock jumping competition to be held at the facility in October 2016 (http://northamericadivingdogs.com/events/courteous-canine-oct-2016/).