BOZEMAN – The Galloping Dog Agility Club hosted touch & go agility courses at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds on Saturday to get dogs and their trainers ready for a trial competition in Belgrade on January 19-20.
Tux, a rescue dog who will be competing in the trial, sits patiently at the beginning of the course waiting for his trainer Jean Sather’s signal to start.
Tux first got his name because his black and white fur makes him look like he is wearing a tuxedo. Don’t let the suit and tie fool you, Tux is fast and extremely focused on each obstacle in the course.
“You train them to work as a partnership,” said Sather. “It is sort of like dancing with your dog. It is a fun thing to do.”
Once Tux is finished with his first lap around the course, he goes into a crate at the edge of the arena. He must focus on getting ready for the second time through, which will be in about a half hour.
While Tux rests, other dogs and their trainers make their way through the same courses. The dogs range from all different breeds, sizes, and competition levels.
“It is so much fun to do with your dog,” said Club President Sandra Francis. “It is trained positively, you can’t force them to do this kind of stuff. So it is all very positive and it just makes for a bond between an owner and a dog.”
The ages of the dogs range from six-month-old puppies whose trainers are working to keep their attention, to dogs like Tux who have competed in thousands of trials.
“He’s got a boatload of ribbons and trophies at home,” said Sather, chuckling. “My husband says we are gonna have to add a room on the house because he is running out of room to hang them all.”
It is clear Tux wants the expansion on the house as he flies through the tunnels, jumps through the hoops and crosses the finish line gleefully barking at Sather. He knows he has nailed the second run through.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News