Lassie and Rin Tin Tin were naturals, of course. But for almost any other canine, to be known as one of the world’s most physical dogs takes hard work, tough competition and good old-fashioned praise.
More than 1,000 dogs of all shapes and sizes were entered in the Cynosport World Games this weekend at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
Some of the most athletic dogs from more than a dozen countries participated in what is known as the canine olympics, according to event organizers.
With high-energy events such as dog agility, flyball, flying disc, herding, dock jumping — which, as the name implies, has each competing dog dive from a dock into a large pool — and even freestyle dancing kept the eager dogs busy throughout the weekend.
The event, hosted by the U.S. Dog Agility Association, is now in its fifth year in Scottsdale.
Even dogs that might not destined for Hollywood or to one day pose beside one of those huge “Best in Show” trophies were allowed to participate in some fun events. “Course a’ Lure” is open to all breeds, of all ages to participate in a race.
Utah residents Bob and Cyndi Conwell said they travel around the country in order to give canines the chance to let loose and exercise, while not requiring any training to participate.
Annie DeChance, spokeswoman for the dog agility association, has two dogs in the agility competition. DeChance’s dogs have been competing for 10 years and have participated in Cynosport in Scottsdale for four years.
DeChance described the event as “great fun” for the public saying, “People will get to see any dog sport possible and will learn about the competitions.”
“Events like this do wonders for the dog owner’s relationship with their dog, and it’s just darn fun,” she said.
DeChance said training for competitions such as Cynosport usually takes about a year. Dogs must be at least 18 months old, and many methods are used for training, depending on the dog.
The best training method, in DeChance’s opinion, is “positive reinforcement.”
Along with the competitions, Maricopa Animal Care and Control was on site with their Pet Adoption Bus featuring many breeds of dogs. Bill Cutillo, animal placement specialist, said on Friday by noon that two dogs were adopted, and they anticipated more dogs finding homes through the weekend.
Other special events include demonstrations from the Phoenix Police Department K-9 Unit today and Sunday .
With more than 30,000 feet of vendor space, there was a variety of places pet lovers and their dogs could visit. Offerings included eco-friendly products from Planet Blue Dog and training equipment from Cool Champions.
There was even an animal whisperer, who had a long line of owners and dogs to talk to Friday.
Cynosport World Games continues 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday . Tickets can be purchased at WestWorld at $12 for adults and $6 for children. For information on the event and how to get involved, visit www.cynosport.com.