Dogs demonstrate agility for American Kennel Club judges | Local

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Diane Townsend studied the 6-year-old lying on the grass on Sunday at the Plex South and took a hit in her thoughts.

“Do you think about the run and how you did that jump?” Townsend asked.

Unsurprisingly, Moosie – a Miniature American Shepherd – didn’t respond to Townsend’s encouragement about his performance minutes earlier on a course for the American Kennel Club’s agility trial.

The Fort Wayne Obedience Training Club hosted the three-day event, which featured about 150 canine participants, said Townsend, the trial chair.

Moosie owner Bonnie Kellams accepted responsibility for her mistake when talking with Townsend.

“I ruined it,” said Kellams, who has been with the Fort Wayne club for nearly 50 years. “He was so close.”

In addition to clearing several jumps, Moosie was tasked with navigating through a tunnel and trotting on an A-frame as well as a seesaw – equipment resembling a playground swing.

As judge, Annette Smith from Florida designed the courses for the weekend, which were adjusted to the size of the dogs. Managers were given digital course maps, Townsend said, and they could further determine their strategy by running through courses before being scored.

“They have to know their dog,” Townsend said.

Townsend offered commentary as the pairs tackled the course. She explained that a dog had stopped because he had lost sight of his master; a barking dog may be more difficult for handlers to communicate; and it’s never good when Smith throws both arms up like a football referee.

“It’s not a touchdown,” Townsend said. “It means you have just been disqualified.”

She and Kellams agreed that predicting a dog’s performance is difficult.

“The dog is the boss,” Kellams said.

Jennifer Daggett — a member of the Fort Wayne club who lives in Bryan, Ohio — practiced jumping in a small fenced area with her 4-year-old toy poodle, Poe, while other dogs competed in the ring.

She and Poe do three or four shows a year, Daggett said, but she would love to do more.

“COVID has really slowed us down,” Daggett said.

Elsewhere in the Plex, Fort Wayne club member Mendy Miller snapped photos of Lainey, her 11-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi in front of a fall-themed setting.

“She didn’t want to stay home,” said Miller, who also brought 7-year-old corgi Gizmo. “That’s her brother barking for her over there.”

Gizmo – who is like “a ball of energy” – will compete in Michigan this weekend, Miller said, adding that she did not enter Lainey.

“She’s got a lot of titles,” Miller said. “She doesn’t need to run all the time.”

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