Obedience Training Club hosts dog agility training competition

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MENOMONEE FALLS -- Sit, roll-over and speak are typical commands for dog owners. However, one competition in Menomonee Falls takes dog training to the next level through an obstacle course where the team is the dog and its owner. The sport is known as agility training.

"You train your dog how to execute each obstacle independently and then you put it together in sequences anywhere from 16 to 20 obstacles, " Johanna Ammentorp, the co-chairwoman for the K-9 Obedience Training Club of Menomonee Falls Agility Competition said.

The team consists of one dog and one human. Dogs move on and around various obstacles, and go through tunnels. Just went they get going, their handlers stop them in the middle of the course, and then they are at it once again, jumping over more hurdles. The goal is to finish with the fastest time, without any mistakes. If a dog jumps over a barrier and knocks it over, they are immediately disqualified from the competition.

"The clean is more important and once you get the clean down, you push the dog to go faster," Loret Bartol, who ran her Australian Shepherd "Willow" in the competition. "Focus because as you see you have to keep up with the dog constantly. You have to know where the dog is and you have to know where you're going," Bartol said.

"When your dog gets there they know your movements, your verbal commands and what you're doing," Ammentorp said.

It's a game of patience and most importantly -- communication. Even though everyone is competing against each other, dog lovers enter the competition for similar reasons.

"Dogs were really not meant to be couch potatoes. Dogs were meant to do things for us and be with us and doing things with us," Ammentorp said.

"The companionship, the friendship, the teamwork," Bartol said.

The competition was open to all breeds of dogs, no matter what size. The competition was put on by the K-9 Obedience Training Club of Menomonee Falls, which is a non-profit organization devoted to training dogs and their owners.