Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna resident Linda Jacobsen tells her dog Trace to wait for five seconds before continuing through the agility course Monday at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials at the Kenai Little League Fields. Jacobsen said having the opportunity to go through the course with her dog despite her limited mobility has been a rewarding experience.

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna resident Linda Jacobsen tells her dog Trace to wait for five seconds before continuing through the agility course Monday at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials at the Kenai Little League Fields. Jacobsen said having the opportunity to go through the course with her dog despite her limited mobility has been a rewarding experience.

Dogs put agility to the test

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Monday, September 1, 2014 9:45pm
  • News

The Kenai Little League Fields went to the dogs over Labor Day weekend.

Nearly 100 energetic dogs and their enthusiastic owners from all over the state put their canine’s athleticism and obedience to the test at the Kenai Kennel Club Agility Trials, a three-day event that concluded Monday in Kenai. Following the cues of their handler, dogs ran through a timed obstacle course full of jumps, tunnels and weave poles. From speedy Australian shepherds and border collies to dachshunds and poodles a variety of working class and toy class were represented.

After each dog and owner ran through the course, which ended with one final hurdle, the crowd offered applause and the owner praised the dog.

Kenai resident Barb Eagle, who has participated for seven years, said the competition is more about bonding with her dogs and having fun. Eagle owns six Pembroke Welsh corgis, small herding dogs with a long bodies and short legs. Two of her dogs, Flush and Vash, participated in the agility trials.

“Corgis are a herding breed and they tend to not run away but stick close to my side,” Eagle said. “Flush isn’t the best jumper so we go through it gracefully and get out. It is all about having fun.”

Soldotna resident Linda Jacobsen didn’t let her trouble walking stop her from competing with her dog Trace. Jacobsen stopped seven years ago when knee problems and the onset of Parkinson’s disease made it too painful to compete. After talking with friends who encouraged her to use a mobility scooter, she was back guiding her dog through the course.

“It is rewarding to still have the opportunity to do this despite not having the mobility I used to,” she said. “Being out here perks me up. The relationship you develop with your dog is really special.”

Trace is a three-year-old Chinese crested dog, a small hairless breed. While he may not be a common Alaskan dog, she said he is a ham, is really playful and lively and likes to put on a show for the audience.

Jacobsen participated in the novice course, which included objects like a teeter-totter, A-frame structure, tunnels and a hoop to jump through. All the handlers were given eight minutes to familiarize themselves with the 18-object course without their dog. The courses are set up differently each day to add an element of surprise for the dog and owner.

Trace got off to a great start on the course. He climbed the tall A-frame structure and jumped through the first set of obstacles in order, but then became distracted and lost some points for missing a couple objects. Jacobsen got him back on track and finished the course.

Kenai resident Kathy East said handlers don’t get to see the course before the run through, which can make it hard to remember the pattern. It can be challenging to instruct a dog as they maneuver the course, but that is also part of the fun, she said.

East has two dogs, one a golden retriever, the other a black lab. Her nine-year-old black lab, Ben, completed his retirement run Monday. Ben is a certified therapy dog and will continue to work with patients at Central Peninsula Hospital, she said. Her other dog is a rookie who has some things to learn, she said.

“I’m happy for Ben, but also sad this is his last run,” she said. “They both have different personalities. One command works for one but not the other. Its just fun to share this activity with them.”

Jacobsen said she enjoys the camaraderie between all the dog owners who camped out for the weekend and travel together to various shows and competitions.

“Dog people are really neat and supportive,” she said. “Everyone roots for each other and every breed of dog is welcome.”

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Kenai resident Barb Eagle guides her Corgi, Flush, through a jumping course at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials Monday at the Kenai Little League Fields. Nearly 100 dogs of various sizes and breeds competed in the three-day competition over Labor Day weekend.

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Kenai resident Barb Eagle guides her Corgi, Flush, through a jumping course at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials Monday at the Kenai Little League Fields. Nearly 100 dogs of various sizes and breeds competed in the three-day competition over Labor Day weekend.

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Ingrid Oliver runs with her dog Zeke, an Australian Shepherd during a jumping course at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials Monday at the Kenai Little League Fields.

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Ingrid Oliver runs with her dog Zeke, an Australian Shepherd during a jumping course at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials Monday at the Kenai Little League Fields.

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna resident Mike Mildbrand runs along his dog Benz as he completes a jumping course at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials Monday at the Kenai Little League Fields.

Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna resident Mike Mildbrand runs along his dog Benz as he completes a jumping course at the Kenai Kennel Club agility trials Monday at the Kenai Little League Fields.

More in News

Two snowmachine-triggered snow slabs are seen below the weather station of Seattle Ridge in Turnagain Pass on Dec. 3, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Chris Flowers and the Chugach Avalanche Center)
Multiple avalanches in Turnagain Pass reported Friday

The center reported Saturday that current avalanche danger was considerable above 1,000 feet and moderate below 1,000 feet.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School district changes COVID policy for close contacts

The policy went into effect on Nov. 29

This 2010 photo shows the soon-to-be-replaced Tustumena come into Homer after spending the day in Seldovia. Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Saturday the state would be replacing the ferry. The replacement vessel has not yet been named, and a statewide contest will be held to name the new vessel, Dunleavy said. (Homer News File)
State moves ahead with replacement of Tustumena

The state has other plans for updating the marine highway.

A sign urging COVID-19 mitigation measures hangs at a free vaccination clinic at the Y intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways, on Tuesday, Nov. 30 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Omicron variant spurs travel restrictions locally, nationally

It’s still unclear if the omicron strain is more dangerous than other COVID variants.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Junetta Delong browses the shelves at the Soldotna Library Friends’ book and art sale at the Soldotna Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Something for everyone’

Library holds art and book sale fundraiser

Danny Dommek takes photos with Santa at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘And to all a good night’

Soldotna celebrates Christmas in the Park

The badge for the Kenai Police Department (Clarion file)
Walmart briefly evacuated after bomb threat

The investigation is ongoing.

The new Homer Police Station, as seen Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. Members of the Homer Police Department officially moved into the building on Thursday. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
K-9 trooper team finds lost girl

A 12-year-old girl, poorly dressed for the elements, ran away from her downtown Homer home.

Most Read