Conditions at the weekend’s North Otago Dog Training Club agility and jumping championships at the North Otago A&P Showgrounds were more suited to ducks, not that it bothered Milton’s Don Leckie and Sam.
Mr Leckie has been involved in dog training for a decade and is a member of the Taieri Canine Training Club.
He has travelled to Oamaru to compete for each of those 10 years, and this year brought along 4-year-old boxer Sam, a rehomed dog Mr Leckie took on about a year ago.
Boxers are not a common sight at agility and jumping events, where breeds such as Border collies, Shetland sheepdogs and papillons are often seen.
“There’s very few of them – there would only be at most half-a-dozen competing in New Zealand.”
However, he knows how to get the best out of a boxer.
Mr Leckie won the jumpers B final at the New Zealand Dog Agility Championships in 2011 with Bob, now retired.
The jump section involves dogs jumping hurdles and navigating tunnels, while the agility section features ramps, A-frames and weave poles.
Sam, who had a clear run at the Oamaru event, was more suited to being a jumper, Mr Leckie said.
He believed a strong relationship between a dog and its owner could be formed when competing at events, which was what he enjoyed most about taking part.
“It’s just working with your dog. You’re trying to achieve something for your dog and yourself. When you pull it off, the reward you feel is terrific. When things don’t, it can be the opposite.”
Mr Leckie first became involved when he went to the Taieri club for a dog obedience class which quickly turned into something else.
“I had a look outside and saw some people doing agility. I took one look at it and thought ‘that’s for me’.”
North Otago Dog Training Club president Alison Robertson was pleased with the event, despite steady rain on Sunday.
Eighty-six competitors, some with several dogs, took part.