Dog agility competitions at Woodley Park offer an exciting weekend spectator sport and, for the athletic duo inside the ring, so much more.
It’s a drizzling, winter Saturday morning—the kind of day that has most Valley dwellers canceling outdoor plans. But scores of rugged dog lovers and their well-groomed pooches couldn’t care less. They’ve already made camp in Woodley Park in Van Nuys. Huddled under tents with pets ensconced in portable soft “crates,” the enthusiastic group is here to compete in dog AKC sanctioned agility trials sponsored by the Valley Hills Obedience Club.
The duos, from beginners to the more advanced, come to this sprawling park outside The Japanese Garden every few months to run their dogs through the rigorous course—a test of agility, speed and concentration. For some, it’s the thrill of the game—a chance to excel and earn an AKC certificate. For others, it’s a way to teach canines discipline or bond build.
On this occasion, there are five different competition rings for agility, obedience and “rally,” which offers a less traditional stage to showing off skills. Handler Lisa Hampton is coaxing her Australian cattle dog through an obedience trial. She says it is ideal for teaching her grand champion, Bulldozer, how to behave. Calm and obedient, Bulldozer has a grizzled yet sweet appearance.
“Herding is our prime event, so this is our fun day,” Lisa explains.
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This article appears in the February-March 2014 issue of Our Ventura Blvd
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