Whitehorse is about to go down in Canadian canine history.
Yukon’s Predator Dog Puller Sport Athletic League is about to introduce a new dog competition to the country.
The group will host the First Canadian Dog Puller Championships in Whitehorse on Saturday.
“It’s a brand new international dog sport – it’s never been done in Canada,” said Predator founder and president Erika Rozsa-Atkinson. “We’ve worked on it for two-and-a-half years and we have a league called the Predators Dog Puller Athletic League. It’s a non-profit organization that’s just been founded.”
The sport is centred on the use of two soft but strong purple rings.
Saturday’s event will include a two-directional retrieve competition in which dogs chase the rings that roll and bounce with zeal.
In the other competition dogs jump to grab the ring in the trainer’s one hand, let go to grab the ring in the trainer’s other hand, over and over again in a set time, in a “vertical figure-eight.”
“The sport is based on boxing,” said Rozsa-Atkinson, who runs Canines & Company Dog Obedience School. “You use two Pullers and you are offering the dogs in equal value so they are very motivated to come back to you to switch and trade for the other item. So their recall is going to be much more developed.
“Because (the ring) is very agile, when you throw it, it picks up the energy of the land and they just swiggle and don’t fall over very easily. It creates a trigger in the dogs brain that they are just about to catch the prey, then they are the most intense. Because of that, it’s very successful at getting the dogs physically and mentally drained.”
The Puller sport was developed in 2012 in Ukraine. It has since been introduced to Japan, Hungry, Italy, Spain, and it’s “all over” Russia.
Saturday’s competition will have two very special guests. Serhii Shkot, the inventor of the Dog Puller and Dog Puller Sport, and Varvara Petrenko, president of the International Federation of Dog Puller Sport, are visiting from Kiev, Ukraine, and will act as judges.
“The main goal was to create a sport for all kinds and all breeds of dogs,” said Shkot, through a translator. “At this point in every dog sport, there are a couple of breeds that are leading. In our sport, any kind of dog, any breed, can take part, from the smallest ones to the biggest ones. And you do not need a lot of preparation or extensive training for that.”
“It’s going to be incredible because Erika invested a lot efforts into creating the whole environment to prepare all the participants,” said Petrenko, also through a translator. “I want to see the athletes aspire to the game and enjoy their time.”
The First Canadian Dog Puller Championships will start with running events in the morning, will feature dog demonstrations after lunch, and will finish with the jumping “vertical figure-eight” events in the afternoon.
It will be held outdoors at Ecole Emilie-Tremblay from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. So far 26 dogs are registered.
“Anybody can register, they don’t have to be part of the Predators league,” said Rozsa-Atkinson.
As for the figure-eights: “Our best dog has done 66 in one and a half minutes … The record is 78,” said Rozsa-Atkinson.
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