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Dogs jumped for joy at Cassio Pet Resort & Training Center, 175 Mt Pleasant Road, for the Doggie Fun Zone, from September 1 to 8, and the Barn Hunt Fun Clinic on Monday, September 4.
For roughly a decade, Doggie Fun Zone has visited Cassio every May and September to offer dogs of every size, breed, and training level the chance to run through its action-packed agility course.
The track has a variety of components, including hurdles for dogs to leap over and short tunnels for them to run through. Dogs chase a small contraption on a line that mechanically speeds through the entire course.
Lee Rebalko, founder of Doggie Fun Zone, has patented his invention as an instant animal behavioral training method.
He says the device appeals to dogs’ natural predatory instinct as it twitches and replicates the movement of potential prey. That adrenaline rush sends dog into an excited state, eager to race through the course.
Mr Rebalko said the agility course he has created “is fast and furious — that’s F-U-R-ious.”
He chose to design it to appeal to all dogs and their owners. In doing so, it has drawn large crowds to local events, as well as Doggie Fun Zone appearances all over the country.
“I really love dogs,” Mr Rebalko said. “My passion in life is dogs.”
In addition to overseeing the course during Doggie Fun Zone, he also photographs doggy participants and posts them to the organization’s Facebook page.
On Friday, September 1, mote than 20 dogs came out to try the Doggie Fun Zone, including 2-year-old rescue dog, Brutus.
Despite not having prior experience with agility courses, Brutus showed his athleticism and raced through the course multiple times at breakneck speeds.
Brutus’s owner Jolyne Dudas said, “Brutus loves to run, and he absolutely loves this.”
Shortly after Brutus completed one of his runs, Alden Rivers and his 2-year-old dog, Zack, approached the course.
Mr Rebalko said Zack is an “experienced veteran” with Doggie Fun Zone and proved so when Zack expertly finished his first run in just 11.7 seconds.
Both Zack and Brutus even did a run-though of the agility course together, racing to see who would come out victorious.
Despite Brutus leading at various points in the course, it was Zack who successfully grabbed the contraption at the end, solidifying his win.
Mr Rebalko said races like theirs appear competitive, but actually inspire the pack mentality behavior that is used for collective hunts.
Barn Hunt Fun Clinic
After rescheduling its Sunday, September 3, program due to rain, Cassio hosted the first of four scheduled Barn Hunt Fun Clinics on September 4.
The Barn Hunt consists of a hay bale course where dogs test their agility and scent tracking skills in an allotted 2 minute time-frame.
Lisa Kareuser ran the September 4 event from inside the enclosure and gave instructions to handlers and their dogs.
Before each Barn Hunt, she hid her two pet rats, Tom and Jerry, which were placed inside a sturdy tube with air holes, under the hay.
Dogs would individually go in with their handlers to sniff out the scent, search for the rats, then let their handler know once they found them.
Ms Kareuser explained that the Barn Hunt is a training tool for dogs who compete, but also a fun activity for many dogs.
The next Barn Hunts at Cassio are scheduled for Saturday, September 23, October 14, and October 21, from 10 am to 3 pm. The event is open to all dogs that can fit through an 18-inch-wide by 20-inch-high opening. Two runs are $10, cash or check.
To stay up to date on Cassio Pet Resort & Training Center’s upcoming events, visit cassiopetresort.com or call 203-426-2881.