Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 12:45 pm | Fair 71º


Elings Park Goes to the Dogs (and Their Owners) for Weekend Agility Competition

120 teams to test their agility, obedience at free trial hosted by Santa Barbara Flyers Dog Sports Club on Saturday and Sunday

More than 120 dog-and-handler teams from all over California will participate in an Agility Dog Trial this weekend at Elings Park, 1298 Las Positas Road.

The trial is hosted by the Santa Barbara Flyers Dog Sports Club, which was formed in Santa Barbara in the early 1980s. The club’s membership is made up of local dog owners and their well-prepared athletic canine partners who really enjoy training and competing together. The Santa Barbara Flyers offers on-going classes in both dog obedience and dog agility.

Agility has become the new craze in dog sports around the world. In agility, a human handler and his dog work as a team as the handler directs the dog through a course made up of hurdles, tunnels, weave poles, a see-saw and other challenging obstacles. National and international agility competitions can frequently be seen on TV shows produced by the Animal Planet channel and ESPN.

At an authorized competition, dogs will compete in a range of classes according to their size and experience in the sport. The rules are prescribed by the various agility organizations. The American Kennel Club and the U.S. Dog Agility Association are the most well known of these organizations. This weekend’s event is sponsored by the USDAA.

“This is the second consecutive year that we have held this event in Santa Barbara, and we plan to make it an annual affair,” said club captain Karen Van Hoy. “We are delighted by the number of teams participating.

“We hope many local dog-lovers will come out and observe the action and get interested in this addictive new sport. The Santa Barbara Flyers Dog Sports Club is the city’s only source for classes and practices, and we make it very easy to become involved.”

This year’s Santa Barbara trial will start at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and run until midafternoon both days.

On Saturday, the Flyers will hold its annual fund-raising raffle, which will include many pet-related items and even some hand-crafted items. The raffle is usually worth a drop-in all by itself!

Visitors are always welcome at a Santa Barbara Flyers event. Entry for observers is free.

Awareness of the Santa Barbara Flyers’ experience hosting agility trials has spread to other dog sports clubs. On Oct. 15-16, the Flyers have offered to sponsor another USDAA trial at a very special family canine four-day event in Buellton sponsored by the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA. Click here for more information about that exciting event.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara Flyers.

— Janet Bourque is a Santa Barbara Flyers Dog Sports Club obedience instructor.


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