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Shelties, border collies take gold at Agility Dog finals
By Craig Lamb
Great Outdoors Games staff

  • Final results Large Dog Agility
  • Final results Small Dog Agility

    The key to winning the Agility event is teamwork and training.
    LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — What is described as the sport for all dogs regardless of their pedigree wrapped up in gold medal style at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games held in this Olympic town.

    Thirty dogs competed at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games Agility Dog competition in two categories. Winning gold with 139 points in the Small Dog class was Jag, a Shetland Sheepdog handled by Erin Schaefer of Phoenixville, Pa.

    "I still can't believe this because I'm just stunned," said Schaefer. "The key to this medal was the teamwork that I have with Jag. Without teamwork and a lot of training, there is no way we could have pulled this off. The best agility dogs in the world are competed in this event."

    Schafer is indeed correct. Shimmer, another sheltie that is owned by Barbara Davis, took the silver medal with 131 points. Shimmer has won the silver each year the games have been held since 2000. What is more, Schaefer has been active in agility training and competition for more than a decade.

    Another familiar name to agility dog competition took the bronze. Turbo, a sheltie handled by Barbara Lombard of Simi Valley, Calif.., took the bronze medal with 132 points for the second consecutive year of the games.

    In the Large Dog class, Luz, a Border Collie, struck gold with 145 points along with handler Olga Chaiko of North Hollywood, Calif. Defending silver medalist Secret, handled by Stacy Peardot-Goudy of La Porte, Col., made a repeat medal performance again this year. Defending gold medalist Spring took the bronze medal with 140 points along with handler Julie Daniels of North Sandwich, N.H.

    Agility trials are considered a sport for all dogs regardless of pedigree. Most of the breeds represented here excel in the sport because of stamina and loyalty to their handlers.

    In this sport, a handler directs the dog over a timed obstacle course. At the Great Outdoor Games, there are 20 obstacles ranging from tunnels to teeter-totters and A-frame shaped ramps. The most popular obstacle is the weave, a series of a dozen offset poles spaced 19 inches apart.

    Scores for the medal round were determined by combining the shortest running time matched to the fewest points deducted for faults such as missing contact with an obstacle. The dog and handler team completing the course with the fewest number of faults in the shortest time is awarded the win.

    All the dogs in the competition are either national or world agility trial champions, lending great credibility to the event. In fact, their handlers have come to look forward to competing with their dogs at the Great Outdoor Games.

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