Dog agility a growing sport for man's best friend

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Three years ago, a Belgian tervuren dog named Wylie had no owner or home. Now, the former Roice-Hurst rescue is a dog agility competitor thanks to his owner Sarah Marshall.

"It can build confidence in them and a good rapport with their handler, which is really what they need," Marshall said.

The Western Colorado Agility Club held the first day of the annual Mother's Day Dog Agility Trial Friday, which Wylie, Marshall and about 100 other dogs and owners competed in.

The sport requires the owner to guide the dog through an obstacle course. The dog has to finish in a limited amount of time and the more obstacles they jump before finishing, the more points they rack up.

"It's amazing, the process and the bond," said Janet Douglass, who has been in the sport of dog agility for 10 years. "Just being out there, having a trained dog. He can think what I want him to do practically."

Owners train the dogs from the time they're puppies for hours a week.

"From the time you bring it home, for 18 months you train, you teach it tricks, you bond with them," Douglass said.

The competition continues Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. It's free for any dog lover to stop by and enjoy.

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