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Canine Excellence competition provides fun for dogs

By HELEN PALMER

K9 Corner

Last week, I mentioned some events and sports available now for dog owners who want to have fun with their dogs and socialize with other dog owners having fun with their dogs too.  

Since last week, I have received my “Pepper ‘N Salt Newsletter” published by the Standard Schnauzer Club of America. In it, there is an article on the winners of the 20th annual AKC Humane Fund “Awards for Canine Excellence” (ACE) in five categories.

I will write about all five winners next week, because I want to tell you specifically about “Polly,” a 5-year-old Labrador Retriever owned by Rachel Husband of Sparks, Nevada, who won the Service Dog award in the ACE competition.

Seems that Polly and her owner have competed in many American Kennel Club sports even though Rachel is wheelchair bound and Polly works daily to make her owner’s life easier and more enjoyable.

Among the sporting events, Polly has competed in multiple levels of Obedience and Rally; and in Barn Hunt, which is a fun game for dogs that like to hunt with their noses. The dogs have to find the correct number of rats (in protective containers) buried in tunnels created with hay bales.  There is a set time limit for this event.

Then there is Fast CAT (which is the newest event offered by AKC). It is a take-off on Lure Coursing, which was available for dog owners back in the 1970s, when I was young and looking for activities for my dog. CAT stands for Coursing Ability Test and instead of being a winding course, up and down gentle hills, CAT is a 100 yard straight dash where the dog is timed and his speed is calculated. The lure the dog chases is a white plastic bag attached to fishing line that is controlled by a motor. There is a person operating the motor so the lure is dragged just in front of the running dog. How I wish I could be in my 30s again and have fun playing with my dog! I checked the speeds of the various breeds I have had and am impressed.

  • Papillon: female – 22.37 mph; male – 21.87 mph.
  • Standard schnauzer:  male – 26.88 mph; female – 25.43 mph
  • Golden retriever: male – 28.72 mph; female – 27.83 mph.
  • Border collie: male – 30.33 mph; female – 29.99 mph.

Of course, that is only a 100-yard dash, but it is still a long run for an 11-inch tall papillon! I watched a video of a toy breed running a Fast CAT course, barking all the way. Bet that slowed him down a bit since large breeds returned to their owners with their tongues hanging out. I had a border collie/Doberman pinscher mixed breed that required a long run about every two weeks.  She could gallop at 17 miles per hour for four miles before she was ready to go home.

Fast CAT is another event that has multiple levels, so if your dog has earned a beginner title, there are advanced competitions to work toward. Have fun with your dog!