When the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to drop, I usually find myself propped in front of the TV to watch the Sunday marathon of professional and college football games.
Although this past Sunday, while switching from game to game, I found myself watching one of the greatest sporting events I had ever seen.
The Incredible Dog Challenge is a fast-growing phenomenon that puts clever canines to the test. There are five different main events dogs and owners compete in:
Incredible Jack Russell hurdle racing
This mix of horse racing and track puts six Jack Russells, aka Parson Russell Terriers, to the test making them chase one lure down a track with hurdles leading them to a small foam tunnel. The goal is easy, be one of the first dogs in the hole less than one foot wide.
Although this may sound boring, the excitement is found by watching the tiny dogs fly through the air only to land right on top of one another tripping them and throwing them both out of the race.
Both small dogs and large dogs compete in this event to prove their athletic abilities. They are timed through classic courses such as weave poles and tunnels. For each mistake the dog makes, time is added making their chances of winning less likely.
This event encompasses the classic dog obstacle course that relies on which dog has memorized a set path. I personally think this event does not truly prove a canine’s athletic ability but rather a dog’s intelligence and should not be included in the judging of this competition.
The incredible head-to-head 60-pole weave
If you have a deep love for the pole weave, this event has only been in your wildest dreams until now. The head-to-head pole weave starts by lining up eight dogs and racing them through the longest weave known to any Purina competition.
Watching the dogs gracefully weave through each pole makes me truly appreciate their athletic ability. I find myself imagining what the human equivalent of this event would look like – our top track runners would trip and fall face first into every closely placed pole.
Incredible diving dog
This event consists of dogs diving either vertically or horizontally into a pool. A pretty easy concept with impressive results of dogs jumping 12 feet horizontally.
The record for the highest vertical jump by a dog was broken this weekend with an 8’ 1” jump by Brox, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois.
As I watched Brox try to top the previous record of 8 feet, I sat on the edge of my seat only to yell with joy when he accomplished what he and his owner worked so hard for.
Incredible freestyle flying disc
This event is a crowd favorite. Owners train their dogs to do flips, jump over them and sprint to catch discs. This event is often done to a catchy modern tune and could be considered doggy break dancing.
Although many love this event, I believe it is not a fair standard of what is an incredible dog. Many dogs can do tricks, but it takes an amazing dog to jump 8 feet into the air. For heaven’s sake my dog can catch a Frisbee.
Although this competition just seems like a lot of fun, it has a much deeper purpose. Many owners take in abandoned dogs that are often deemed over-energetic, then transform this energy and make truly incredible dogs.
Next weekend I am giving football a break and parking myself in front of my TV to watch the National Incredible Dog Final.
Jeri Kohn is a sophomore actuarial science and public relations major from Lincoln, Neb. She is the Scout assistant sports editor.
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