Some dog owners enjoy the competitive world of canine sports, but a North Georgia business owner hopes to take the pressure off those who don't.
"Many dog owners would like to participate in dog sports but don't want the stress of competition or getting a title," says Debbie Tringale, founder of Me And My Dogs, a boarding and training facility in Rising Fawn. "They'd really rather have their dogs play just for fun."
So Tringale is about to debut Recreational Dog Sports, open to everyone and offering three activities: agility, disc dog and flyball.
"There are judges, but participants can choose to be judged or not," Tringale explains in a news release. "Scores will be based on an additive point system. Each time the handler and dog team successfully execute in their sport, they get a point. Results are given immediately to the participant, who can chose to share their score or not. No titles, no trophies."
The first events, which Tringale calls training seminars, are scheduled Saturday, March 8, and Saturday, April 19, at the indoor Circle A Arena, 1379 Newsome Gap Road in Rising Fawn. These are designed as an introduction to the sports, with experienced trainers giving instruction.
"Recreational Dog Sports has modified equipment, setups and rules to make it fun for people and dogs of all skill levels," says Tringale.
There are three classes: special, easy and hard. Handlers choose the class they want to participate in. There is no qualifying. Skilled handlers do not have to complete any requirements to participate in the hard class, Tringale says.
Starting May 10, RDS events will be held on the second Saturday of each month, with all three sports available for participants.
"This is a great opportunity for new people to learn the skills of a dog sport in a noncompetitive setting," says Tringale. "It's also a great opportunity for seasoned dog-sport enthusiasts to practice in a low-stress trial-like venue. There are no breed restrictions. In agility there is a class for 'special' teams, and accommodations will be made to help them succeed."
Cost of the training seminars is $30 per dog. Doors open at 8 a.m., and registration begins at 8:15 a.m. Seminars will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Spectators are welcome.
To register, visit www.MeAndMyDogs.biz/RDS.