PHOTO: Junior Caelan Rairdan holds her dog, Milo. Milo is a 10-year-old toy poodle.
By Lauren Lee and Renee Xiang,
Juniors Caelan Rairdan and Esther Kim play with their dogs in a different way. Rairdan’s dog, Milo, and Kim’s dog, Oakley, jump over a series of short fences for fun. This dog shoe event is called agility.
Normally, agility is practiced in dog shows but Rairdan and Kim only focus on this section because they are horseback riders and have experience with animals jumping.
Milo, a 10-year-old toy poodle, has been casually training in agility for around five years. Rairdan and Kim started training him just for fun and they don’t actively participate in dog shows.
Kim also started training her own dog, Oakley, about a year ago when he was a puppy.
“I started training him early on, so now […] he can do it pretty well,” Kim said.
But with Milo, originally he was scared to jump over the fences. As time progressed, he overcame his fears.
“At first, like he was so scared of just a pole on the ground, but he got better and then I think he just started to like it because he just jumps it even when you don’t ask him to. If he sees something, he’ll go over and jump over it,” Rairdan said. “He’ll even do it without a leash sometimes, too,” Kim added.
Even after many years of training, Milo can be reckless when he runs through the agility course.
“He just tumbles over and crashes into things. He never stops, he always goes for it most of the time, unless it’s too big. He does it even when it’s not convenient. That’s why he always just ends up crashing,” Rairdan said.
Rairdan isn’t considering entering Milo in any dog shows because of this age but Kim still sees that option for her own dog.
“Since Oakley’s still young and has energy, I would [enter him in a dog show], but maybe if I get a chance I’ll try because it sounds pretty fun,” Kim said.
According to a dog training hub called “The Local Bark,” agility training can help with building confidence, self-control, control and better communication.
In addition, Rairdan and Kim believe that their dogs enjoy the agility training as well as themselves.
“I enjoy it because it’s fun to see your dog get better and better, and learn new things,” Kim said.