Eagle has gone to the dogs, literally.
More than 500 people and approximately 100 hounds, attended the first annual Canine Carnival at the Eagle County Fairgrounds last weekend. Proceeds from the event benefited the Eagle Valley Humane Society and Vail Pet Partners.
The Canine Carnival was hosted by Mountain Dogs, whose mission is to promote happy and healthy canine relationships with dog partners, raise awareness for the safe, responsible and healthy well being of canines, support community canine organizations and provide the canine community with opportunities for education, training and recreation, including bringing multiple canine organizations, sports and activities together at an annual event.
Dockett was one of the Top Dogs at the event, competing in the Doggie Dash, the Doggie Mudder and Agility. But the proudest moment for Dockett's owner, Joanne Cermak, came when he received his AKC Canine Good Citizen Award. The test is a tough one, as dogs need to display 10 skills on leash:
• Accepting a friendly stranger
• Sitting politely for petting
• Appearance and grooming
• Walking on a loose lead
• Walking through a crowd
• Complying with "sit" and "down" commands and staying in place
• Coming when called
• Good reaction to another dog
• Good reactions to distraction
• Supervised separation.
"He was an Eagle Valley Humane Society puppy," said Cermak.
Dockett and his siblings were picked up a few days after birth and were bottle fed by staff members at the shelter. Eagle Valley Humane Society director Char Quinn remembers it well. "We picked that litter up in Glenwood on Christmas Eve." After brutal snowstorm, Char, along with another employee and two of their kids, were stuck in Glenwood for the night. "All of the puppies did well," said Quinn.
Once a dog is adopted, free lifetime training is offered through the Eagle Valley Humane Society, and that's good for any dog adopted from any shelter. Now 3 years old, Dockett is a happy, healthy, well-behaved member of canine society. Even though he acquired new experiences, skills and canine friends last weekend, Dockett didn't forget his old tricks. Kids from his home neighborhood, who had come to watch him run the agility course, prompted him to happily roll over for a celebratory tummy rub.
Along with entertainment and contests, the Canine Carnival featured several clinics and demonstrations. One popular option was K-9 Scent Works.
Dog trainer Troy Mills, from Guy and a Leash, showed how you can take any dog and turn him into a scent sleuth. It works by determining the motivation for the dog - usually food or toys - and incorporating that into the game.
"This can be done with any dog," said Mills. He noted his training is merely for fun and enrichment. Big dogs, small dogs, young and old are welcome to participate. Mills has trained blind, deaf and reactive dogs in nose work - all dogs can learn it.
"It's really good training for dogs that don't do well with other dogs. Since the work is so individual, those types of dogs are very successful."
One of the most popular competitions at the Canine Carnival was Dock Dogs. The event was both days and competitors went for biggest air, most extreme vertical and fastest speed retrieve honors.
For those not familiar with the sport, it involves dogs jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water - and it's super fun to watch. From the looks on the faces of the people and dogs, the Canine Carnival is sure to become a highly anticipated, annual event.
For more information on Mountain Dogs, go to www.mountaindogs.com. For more information on the Eagle Valley Humane Society, go to www.adoptafriend.org and for more information on Vail Pet Partners, go to www.vailpetpartners.org.