Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Over the years we’ve talked about all sorts of recreation opportunities – for people, but since we live in one of the ‘dog friendliest cities’ we thought it is overdue to highlight canine friendly opportunities in our Valley. There are plenty of parks and trails that are great for dogs. Check out the Nellie and Norman Byrd dog park at the Greenway off of State Highway 24. This off-leash park gives dogs a chance to run and root around. The City of Yakima is also developing another off-leash park at Randle Park. In addition to these options check out Cowiche Canyon's trails - you'll find they are tailor made for our canine friends.
Beyond parks and walking opportunities a growing number of Yakima folks are getting their dogs into a different kind of competition. Dog agility has quickly become one of the fastest growing canine sports in the world. And although Australian Shepherds are no doubt the first type of dog to come to mind when thinking about dog agility, this sport can be done by any type of dog, with the right training of course.
“I absolutely love this sport and the bond that you form with your dogs is incredible,” said Erin Madsen, trainer at Acme Canine Center in Union Gap. “I got involved 11 years ago when I got my first Border Collie, Maya.”
The way the sport works is, the dogs are directed through a series of obstacles by their handler in a race for both time and accuracy. Courses can include fabric tunnels, hurdles, stairs, hoops, teeter totters, and other structures. The courses have been designed so that a dog would not be able to complete the course without following the instruction of the handler.
“It’s a really great way to keep in shape for you and your dog,” said Madsen who is an active competitor in addition to teaching the sport. She recently qualified to compete at the national level with two of her dogs, Nike and Reno.
If you would like more information on this sport, you can visit Acme Canine Center and sign up for classes. Not quite ready to take the dog agility leap but still looking for a great dog friendly event? The Yakima Humane Society holds an annual spring 5K run/walk that you can do with your dog.
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