You'll believe a dog can fly
IF you're at the Ipswich Show on Saturday or Sunday and love a great spectacle, check out the Dog Agility displays which put a range of pooches to the ultimate test.
Dogs will be put through their paces, jumping, running and crawling through obstacles.
Members of Agility Dog Club of Queensland inc will be there showing their dogs to the public. Cathy Slot, the Club's Chief Instructor, says that it takes training, patience and a fit dog to be able to do what they do.
"At the Ipswich Show we'll be doing demonstrations of some dog agility sequences, it's like the equivalent of the show jumping that horses do, only it's for dogs," Ms Slot said.
"We'll have all kinds of dogs there from members of our club, which caters for all shapes and sizes of dogs. From small Chihuahua's and Fox Terriers up to the larger dogs like Border Collies, Sheepdogs and Labradors, they all take part."
Cathy says that no matter the size or breed of dog, any animal can take part provided they have had the training and lots of patience from owners who like to see their dogs compete, while having lots of fun.
"Any dog can be trained to do it, and it's just a matter of teaching the fundamentals and taking your time," Cathy said. "Of course, we like to see dogs in good shape, and to compete in dog agility they need to be fit and healthy which is all part of the process. There are very few limitations in shape and size, it's more about the dog itself than the breed.
"At the Ipswich Show demonstrations there will be obstacle courses and you can cheer them on. Our club has been going for 25 years, and some people have been members since day one, others who are new to the sport but it's all about having fun and seeing the dogs do their best.
"When you're competing there are comps all over the place. Some of our members will travel to our national event in Tamworth each year, and our club holds several events a year. We've had people come from Cairns to compete with their dogs and often from NSW."
To get the dogs to jump, weave and sprint over the course, you have to put in the time, but when the animal is your pet, it's all quality time together.
"There's no set time it takes to train them, again it all depends on the dog, but on average at least 12 months.
"All things going well, at the end of the day the dogs are our pets and you need a good relationship with the dog. By two years old things may be moving along to be ready to compete, but if you have an older dog they might take more training. It's true you can teach an old dog new tricks!
"We know our dogs well, and again, they are our pets, so we can tell when their confidence is there. All of our training is reward based, so as time goes by often the game of agility is just as rewarding for the dog as it is a tangible reward like a piece of food."
Want to see the dogs do their thing? You can see the Dog Agility demonstrations in the Main Arena on Saturday and Sunday. Check the program listing for times in this special guide.