The United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. (USDAAR) is midway through its 2018 Regional Championship qualifying season and will shine its spotlight on New England July 13-15. The New England Regional Championship will attract nearly 500 dogs to the Wide World of Indoor Sports-South, 1610 Davisville Road in North Kingstown. Canine athletes and their handlers will compete for top honors as well as qualification to the Cynosport R World Games, the National Dog Agility Championship to be held in Arizona this fall.
Valori Duff of New Boston, New Hampshire, has been the New England event organizer for the past six years. This year the regional U.S. Dog Agility Association-sanctioned event is hosted by Riverside Canines (RiversideK9.com) and will attract up to 250 handlers from the East Coast, Canada and as far away as California.
"We will be running agility competitions nonstop all weekend and it is a great place to learn more about the sport," she said.
Spectators at the New England Regional Championship are admitted free. Competition begins at 8:30 a.m. each day and runs through 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
A full-time nurse by profession, Duff has three border collies of her own that she competes with when she isn't organizing trials through her K9 Agility Services. Her passion for dog agility is strong.
"I like the excitement of running my dogs and the camaraderie of the exhibitors. Even if you aren't interested in competing, agility has great benefits where you can focus on your dog and friends and have fun. It's also a good workout and
helps fight depression, too."
Guided only by voice and hand signals from their human partners, the canine athletes race against the clock, flying over hurdles and through hanging tires, weaving around poles, scuttling through tunnels and bounding off the see-saw. Obstacles are set according to the dogs' height and experience level, allowing dogs of all breeds and sizes to compete.
Dog agility as a sport traces its roots to Great Britain in the 1970s. It found its way to the United States a decade later with the creation of the United States Dog Agility Association in 1986. The USDAA has continued to advance the fast-growing sport internationally, this year hosting regional championships in Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Spain, in addition to the U.S.
The United States Dog Agility Association is the world's largest,
independent canine sports authority, dedicated to promoting the sport of dog agility as a recreational, family sport that fosters responsible pet ownership. For more information visit USDAA.com.