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Fri, Feb. 28

A couple of great dog events to check out the next two weekends

This might be a little young for the agility tunnel, but you get the picture! Have fun with your dog! <br>Photo by Heidi Dahms Foster

This might be a little young for the agility tunnel, but you get the picture! Have fun with your dog! <br>Photo by Heidi Dahms Foster

A friendly, happy, well-behaved dog just has a way of making things look up.

A problem dog, on the other hand, can frustrate owners and neighbors beyond belief - just check out the numbers of calls animal control officers in local municipalities get in a year.

I've been a "dog person" for more years than I'd like to admit, so I've seen a lot of changes in the pet world. One of the best is that there are more activities and sports for dogs than ever before, and well-behaved dogs are accepted in more places than ever.

It used to be that most dog events were geared toward purebred dogs, but that is no longer the case. All dogs can participate in events such as agility, herding, dock dog, obedience, lure coursing and flyball.

Dogs have become part of the family and that's a good thing, because they are social creatures. Many folks don't realize that neglect of this fact is often why their dogs bark, chew, dig and otherwise wreak havoc. Day after day, they have nothing to do and no interaction with humans or other animals.

When I had more time, I used to teach beginning obedience classes. I told my students that lack of training and exercise probably sends more dogs to the shelter than overpopulation.

I've enjoyed breeding the occasional litter and showing Aussies since 1990. It's a pleasure to place a beautiful, intelligent dog in a great home and watch the relationship grow. I recently had a friend ask if I could find him an Aussie, as he walked 5-8 miles a day, and needed a companion. I happened to have just the right dog for him - a year and a half old boy that didn't turn out for show but needed a job to do.

Sailor and Don bonded instantly, and they walk, and walk, and walk. And then they go to agility classes. Every photo Don and his wife, Darlene, send to me depicts the now very spoiled Sailor contentedly asleep on their leather couch! He is mentally stimulated, gets plenty of exercise, and can be trusted completely to behave himself. That's the kind of relationship every dog deserves with his family.

One of the best ways to attain this kind of relationship is to find something you and your dog can do together, and then determine to spend time at it as often as you can. You don't have to be as active as Don and Sailor - adapting is easy.

My friend Tammy has the ideal situation. Her dogs Tyler and Diamond go to work with her at a local nursing home, and they are like family to the residents. Those are two busy, happy dogs that add so much to others' quality of life.

Several upcoming Quad City events will give you the opportunity to see what's available for you and your dog to do.

The Chino Valley Canine Training Club has a match coming up on Sunday, May 5, at Memory Park, starting at 8 a.m. For information, check out their website at or email

This coming Saturday and Sunday, check out the Top Dog Performance Club's Agility Trial at Pioneer Park in Prescott. It starts at 8 a.m. both days.

An Australian Shepherd dog show will be going on at the same time.

Throughout the Quad Cities, we have agility, obedience, herding, relationship classes, flyball and many more activities. If you're interested in local opportunities, send me an email at and I'll supply some possibilities.

Get out and have some fun with your dog - you'll be amazed at how some quality time spent will benefit both of you!

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