Top Dogs Coming To Tulsa

Tuesday, March 25th 2008, 6:10 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa County Fairgrounds is going to the dogs this weekend as the American Kennel Club has its National Agility Championship. The News On 6's Steve Berg reports the best of the best will be here this weekend, to figure out who is top dog.

The only thing faster than a little dog is the way the popularity of dog agility competitions has grown.

"That has definitely grown, more venues," said Dog Agility Trainer, Susy Harris.

Susy Harris drove all the way from Idaho for the National Championships in Tulsa this weekend. She and Diva, her Border Collie, were getting in some practice at John Muehlberg's course in Glenpool.

In the past, he says you'd see a few dozen dogs at the Championships. But, that has grown in leaps and bounds.

"You'll see well over 900 to 1,000 dogs of the nation's best dogs competing, and those are just the ones that were able to make the trip. There were a lot more that would have been qualified but couldn't make the trip, but this is really a big deal," said Dog Agility Trainer, John Muehlberg.

So why is a sport that nobody heard of 20 years ago, so popular now? Harris says there are a lot of empty nesters.

"The baby-boomer age; because as their children have left home, they want activities to do, and they're enjoying their pets, and a lot of people have dogs. And agility is very addictive," said Harris.

And it has to be very precise.

"And one wrong shoulder pull or not quite fast enough on a command and dog takes a wrong course, drops the bar," said Harris.

"And you don't get to go to nationals?"

"You don't get to go," said Harris. "This is a big honor. Just to qualify for nationals is a big honor. Very few of the dogs that run all year would qualify."