This week Oamaru Mail sports reporter James Ford speaks to dog agility competitor Sari Robins-Laughton.
When did you first become involved in agility shows?
With my most recent dog [Hunter], our first show was on the 22nd of September but we had been training for 8 months, twice a week prior to the show.
What is your fondest memory of competing?
My first clear round! It was my first show with Hunter, we just went along for the experience, but it was a nice surprise to come away with third because of it.
What's the biggest challenge in training a dog for an agility show?
For beginners the first real challenge, especially with young dogs, is controlling them. But once you have your dog's attention and they are interested, training becomes a lot easier. I think one of the hardest things to achieve every time would be the weave poles, where the dog must enter on the correct side and complete the 12 poles or they are faulted. Also the contacts, where at the start and finish of the obstacle there is a metre mark where they must touch or they are also faulted.
What's your club's biggest achievement in competition?
The joy on the face of the dog and the handler at their first competition show when they complete their first round knowing they are both having fun after training them for 18 months.
What do you think your club offers the local community?
It offers people of every age, through Kathy and Allen's experience with dog handling, to definitely gain another level of obedience with their dog, it also keeps you fit and the learning experience is lots of fun!