Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge returns to Huntington Beach for Western Regionals

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Little terrier Mac is warming up for a big competition. He's running, catching and weaving around an obstacle course in hopes of a win.

"This is our 18th year, and the ideas is to find ways that we can not only get people more involved with training their dogs, but also build a better relationship with them," lead dog trainer Lourdes Edlin said.

Edlin is talking about the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge held in Huntington Beach State Park this weekend, where four legged athletes will have opportunities to shine.

The dogs compete in activities such as the high-flying disc catch, pole racing, agility courses and even dog diving.

"This is like an Olympic-style event where you'll see dogs of all kinds, all ages doing some amazing things," Edlin said.

Edlin has some advice for those considering entering their dogs.

"What motivates your dog, whether it's toys (or) maybe your dog likes to chase things. It's up to you as your dog owner to build that relationship. Start training. Work with a trainer if you need to at a dog club and go from there," she said.

The next step is to make sure you are ready to compete.

"If you're going to keep up with your dog and you're going to throw a Frisbee or you're going to throw a ball, you can't just get out there and do it," trainer Marco Reed said.

He adds that it can depend on the exercise.

"Just mimic the movement slowly. Start just by moving your arm, getting some blood flow. Start to go a little bit quicker with your arm and then pick up the ball, and then actually start doing the movement before you throw," Reed said.

Many people have day jobs where the glutes are literally turned off, so if you're going to be working with your dog, make sure you warm up your ankles, knees and especially your hips. You should also have your dog warm up.

"First starting very gradually. You never want to do anything that's extreme, so short walks around the block to start, make sure that they can handle it okay and you can handle it okay as well," said veterinarian Julio Lopez, of Studio City Animal Hospital.

Friday is qualifying day, and Saturday is the main event from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Anyone who misses the event can take their pup to the Ultimate Dog Festival at Columbia Park in Torrance, on June 13 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Attendees will be able to try out various sports such as agility, small dog racing and disc dog.

A portion of the proceeds that day will go to 4 Paws 4 Patriots, an organization which trains dogs to be service dogs and provides them for free to disabled veterans across the country.
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