Pooches put through paces

October 04, 2006|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN REPORTER

It's a workout for dogs and humans alike. In an event called flyball, four-dog relay teams compete in a circuit in which each dog jumps four hurdles, triggers a box that releases a tennis ball, catches the ball and returns over the hurdles.

There was plenty of energy in evidence over the weekend at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, as 41 canine relay teams and their human handlers took part in a two-day flyball tournament sponsored by the No Speed Limit flyball team.

There are a couple of flyball teams in Maryland and several more in Virginia and Pennsylvania, said Deborah Besche, an organizer of the No Speed Limit team, which is based out of the Oriole Dog Training Club near Security Mall. Her team also travels - including trips to Nova Scotia - to attend tournaments.

Dogs typically run 20 heats a day over a two-day tournament and earn points over their lifetimes that translate into titles or awards. "The dogs absolutely love it," Besche said. As for the human handlers, "I don't think most of us take it too seriously. We just like being with them and knowing they are having a good time."

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