The competition was dogged during the semifinals of the Dog Agility Steeplechase event on Thursday. Of course, the competition is dogged in every event at the World Cynosport Games at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
The games are the Super Bowl of canine sports. The events measure, time and score the goofy things dogs do naturally — running, jumping, burrowing, fetching.
There’s no sniffing competition yet, but give the U.S. Dog Agility Association time. The array of events is extensive and growing as the popularity of dog competition surges.
Consider this: More than 900 four-legged competitors of varying ages from 11 countries are entered in the headline event, the Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championships.
The Grand Prix and Steeplechase both involve timed dashes through obstacle courses. Dogs leap hurdles, climb wooden A-frame structures, dash along balance beams, scamper across teeter-totters, zig-zag through lines of poles and burrow through artificial tunnels.
Their owners guide them with hand signals and verbal commands. The best teams run around the course together, though the humans leave the jumping and climbing to their dogs.
"You see the handlers turning around looking every which way for the dogs sometimes. They can get disoriented out there and send the dog the wrong way accidentally," said Kenneth Tatsch, association president.
Tempe resident Gail Chadwick and her border collie Tessa qualified to compete in a B league for rookie and senior-circuit dogs.
"She absolutely loves this. She couldn’t be happier," Chadwick said. Tessa didn’t disagree.
Games When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road
Cost: $10 for adults, $7 for kids
Information: (888) 244-5489 or