Tracy Munro took to competing in dog agility competitions when she could no longer ride in horse show jumping events.
While there are similarities – the dog runs around a course conquering a variety of obstacles including A-frame, dog walk, seesaw, and tunnels – the big difference is she is not riding the animal.
“Sometimes I think it might make it easier,” the Cambridge woman said after her border terrier dog Jock went through the wrong tunnel in his excitement during the Huntly and District Kennel Association’s championship show in Cambridge earlier this month.
Dog agility sees the handler direct a dog through the course in a race for both time and accuracy.
The courses are so complicated, a dog could not compete it without human direction.
“On a horse you’re on there giving the commands and with a dog if you don’t give the demand strong enough or soon enough, that’s it.”
Tracy started dog agility five years ago when Jock was two.
“He’s now in the top grade,” she says proudly of her dog who wears a nervous cover before the event because he gets scared by other dogs.
“They’re (border terriers) a working dog and his mum was a show dog and so he loves doing a bit of agility.”
And was it Jock’s fault he went through the wrong tunnel or hers as handler?
“Probably me not giving the right signals but he does love those tunnels.
“I didn’t say tunnel, I said walk which is up the dog walk. He should have known but he’s a terrier, he does what he does,” she said.
The walk through – which often amuses bystanders with little knowledge of the dog agility sport – gives handlers time to walk around the course and work out where best to stand as the dog competes.
The event was held over two days at the Cambridge Dog Obedience Club grounds at McKinnon Park in conjunction with the Waikato Gundog Club and the Hound Club of Auckland.