In these events, participants are actively discouraged from
getting a leg up on the competition--or a judge--no matter how
upset they may be with a call.
The Dog Chow Incredible Dog Challenge is a four-legged
pentathlon that includes a long jump, in which dogs sprint down
a turf track and then leap into a pool filled with water; a high
jump (last year's winning height: 5'4"); flyball, a relay race
between two teams of four dogs who sprint over four hurdles,
grab a tennis ball and then sprint back over the hurdles; an
agility test in which dogs tear around an obstacle course of
hoops, teeter-totter ramps, equestrian-esque fences, tarp chutes
and a short, tight slalom course; and the flying disc toss, in
which dogs, well, catch easily identified flying objects. This
year's national finals will be held in St. Louis on Saturday.
The other big event in an extreme dog's life is the Alpo Canine
Frisbee disc Championships (pictured on these pages), in which
competitors are only required to do what dogs are born to
do--catch and fetch. Competitors are judged on leaping ability,
execution, degree of difficulty, showmanship and distance.
Among the favorites for this year's Frisbee finals, scheduled to
be held in Washington, D.C., on September 18, is the team of
Nasty Sassy, a 3-year-old border collie, and Ping Latvong, a
32-year-old hairstylist (of people only) and trainer (of dogs
only) from Anaheim. The two have successfully defended their
1998 Southwest Regional title and hope to improve on their
second-place finish in last year's finals. Pressure? What
pressure? Nasty refuses to sit for interviews, but Latvong says
the championship is just like any other day spent playing in the
park with his dog--"only you get judged."
FIVE COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY TODD BIGELOW
Competitors are judged on distance, degree of difficulty and