With another cold Alberta winter looming on the horizon, the Lakedell Mighty Mutts agility dog group is hoping for more members to join the organization and keep both themselves and their canines active through the chilly months.
While welcoming new members with open arms and wagging tails, Mighty Mutts representative Barbara Wildman says the group is not a drop-in organization. She explains owners cannot come and go and expect to see vast improvements in their dogs overnight.
The Mighty Mutts also insist dogs have a few basic groundwork skills in their repertoire, such as sit, stay, lineup skills, pivot in position, on and off leash manners and know the ‘leave it’ command before looking to join the group.
“We have an eight-week orientation program. We call it eight weeks but we’re flexible,” said Wildman.
The Mighty Mutts charge $40 for the orientation and if the dogs and handlers progress past that they are asked to become members.
However, the organization also encourages owners with younger dogs to come out and visit the meetings simply for socializing, free of charge.
While not affiliated with the Mighty Mutts, says Wildman, the Wetaskiwin Animal Centre offers agility and other kinds of classes such as obedience and puppy kindergarten with trainer Brenda Brown.
Wildman suggests younger or more wild dogs take advantage of the opportunity as a precursor before coming to Mighty Mutts.
During the summer months the Mighty Mutts practice outside at the Lakedell Agricultural Complex and during winter they are inside the society’s heated arena. “That’s the time a lot of people are looking for something to do with their dogs,” said Wildman.
Meetings are every Wednesday, barring extreme weather, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Mighty Mutts mainly meet for fun and love of the sport but members have the opportunity to work toward competitions and three of the group’s members competed in the Canadian National Agility Finals this year.
While they did not place the Mighty Mutts are quite proud of Linda Cummings and Skye, Brenda Brown and Mission, and Kathy Neiman and Daisy.
“All I can say is they did very well,” said Wildman.
The Mighty Mutts Sept. 16 meeting hosted two potential new members with an interest in agility.
Jean Friesen, who owns a collie Australian Sheppard cross named Maggie, has seen the Mighty Mutts perform as the Lakedell County Fair the last few years and her interest was piqued. “It looked like these ladies had fun. It looked like they really enjoyed their dogs.”