This Is The Weekend To Show Off Your Dog

FOCUS ON PETS

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Hopefully, you are reading this in time to attend one of the two dog events Saturday.

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The harness almost hides the tough little body of this feisty West Highland Terrier who is putting his all into pulling the 10-pound weight at Iron Dog Camp. Other larger dogs, who were bred to pull, refused in favor of easier, less strenuous and more fun events. Dogs either love or hate the weight pull and no dog would be forced to participate.

The "I Love My Dog" show is at ramada #5 at Rumsey Park. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the show starts at 10 a.m. There will be lots of ribbons and prizes, plus terrific door prizes and great fun for all.

Judging categories include largest and smallest dog, most spots, fastest tail, best-dressed, best trick, dog/owner look-alike and more.

Registration fee is $5 plus $1 to run the agility course. This event is sponsored by Soroptimists of Payson and all proceeds help children and families in the community. The weather is beautiful. Get out there and join the fun and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the park.

Several people have called Lori Chandler requesting help with their dog after reading last week's column. Lori recently completed a one-month program featuring the training methods of "The Dog Whisperer," Cesar Millan. Lori shadowed Linn Boyke, one of three people trained by Cesar. She will present a seminar at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Pine Horse Arena on Old County Road.

Lori is eager to share what she has learned to help dog owners in the area develop a better relationship with their dog. Her goal is to prevent dogs from being returned to the Humane Society or being locked in the back yard, away from family, because they do not behave properly.

Please bring a chair. There is no charge for the seminar, but, please, no dogs.

Recently, Higgins and I went to Iron Dog Camp in the beautiful mountains north of San Bernardino, Calif.

Most sports available to dogs and their handlers were being taught during this too-short weekend including dock jumping, go to ground, disc toss, trick training, agility, fly ball, weight pulling, musical freestyle and clicker training.

This Scout camp had very rustic cabins, but the terrific food compensated for that.

Higgins and I did mostly canine musical freestyle and clicker training, but I also learned how to get a dog started with disc (Frisbee) toss. It provides great exercise. I was reminded that young dogs and dogs that are overweight or out of condition need to be worked slowly into any rigorous training. This camp provided an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by other crazy dog people.

Donna and Huxley, her precious golden retriever, shared our cabin. Hearing about their recent auto accident, I asked her to e-mail the details to me. Donna, her husband and Huxley were, as usual, all wearing seat restraints while driving 60+ mph on the freeway. A car on their right suddenly swerved wildly in front of them and then put on the brakes to avoid hitting the cement divider wall. Donna's husband slammed on the brakes, but there was no way to avoid impact. Suddenly, the air inside the car was filled with the white powder talc which is used to keep the airbags from sticking as they inflate. She opened the windows so they would not breathe the heavy powder. She noticed that Huxley was making his way into the front seat and onto her lap toward the window. Turns out his seat belt harness broke in three places.

"Although parts of the harness gave way, it provided enough restraint to keep him from becoming a deadly projectile and crashing through the front windshield with tragic results.

If that is not reason enough to restrain your dog, here's another. Even though we were not unconscious or badly injured and were able to talk to Huxley to calm and comfort him right after the impact, he wanted out and was frantically pawing at the windows to make hasty exit onto a freeway filled with still-moving traffic.

Fortunately, we leave his collar and leash attached while traveling which gave us the ability to get him under control." Donna concluded, "We all think we're safe drivers and it won't happen to us. Well, it did happen to us. Even though we were driving safely, someone else sharing the road was not. If you love your dog, buckle him or crate him (rigid crate) while traveling in the car."

That is a powerful message. Hopefully we will all heed the advice.

Dog Day in the Park is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Payson Off Leash Dog Park across from the Payson Library.

There will be fun and games for dogs and people plus booths, the Barkery Bakery and the Weenie Wagon.

Get your costume finished and work to perfect that crazy dog trick. See you there.

-- Christy Powers can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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