AOTC Dog Agility Trials: Dogs and owners bond when put to the ul - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

AOTC Dog Agility Trials: Dogs and owners bond when put to the ultimate test

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA

Dogs of all shapes and sizes are competing in dog agility trials this weekend hosted by the Amarillo Obedience Training Club.

At the Tri-State Fairgrounds, the dog agility trials are showcasing dogs' abilities to compete in obstacle courses with varying difficulties.

It's a test of speed, precision and a handler's own ability to take their dog through the competition.

President of the club Jeri Berryman said the sport is making leaps and bounds here in Amarillo.

"What your dog is doing, it's competing at different levels," she said. "So you start out when you have very first start in 'Novice' and then you work your way up into 'Excellent'. And so most dogs will go 'Novice', then they go into 'Open' and then to 'Excellent'. And so you're competing to get three legs in each one to move up."

The club not only hosts the trials, but offers classes year-round for anyone to train their dog to compete.

AOTC member Tammy Clark said the dogs have been known to succeed with at least a year of training, but it depends on how aggressive owners are in the process.

"We have a wonderful field, you can go out and practice and it's a lot of fun," she said. "It's really a fun way to get connected with your dog. It's really rewarding to get out there, run with your dog and have them perform with you. Cause it's a team sport."

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Berryman is competing in the trials with her boxer-labrador mix Lovely and said she finds it rewarding to challenge herself as a handler.

"I'm an animal lover so really getting involved and really learning what I can do as a dog owner, what I can do to get my dog out and active has been a big thing and helping other people learn what they can do with their dog," she said.

The event brings in competitors and spectators from across the state of Texas as well as New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado--- bringing in business along with them to boost the economy.

"It's filling the hotel rooms and the restaurants," said Clark. "People stay for three days and it's pretty popular."

Berryman believes finding an activity to share with your animal is key to a strong bond.

"All dogs need a job and so once you give them a job and find a sport they like to do, it's fun with you to do something with your dog and have that special bond," she said.

The final day of the trials will run Monday, May 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Amarillo National Center.

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