June 06, 2020

Dogs’ playground ‘Back To Basics’ Newport facility site of agility, obedience training program for canines

NEWPORT – C.C. and Jake like the teeter-totter and the slippery slide at the new playground on Route 7. These “kids,” however, are of the four-legged variety participating in the new agility training program at Back To Basics Obedience Training.

Agility as a sport for dogs, and their owners, was developed in Great Britain, according to Back To Basics owner Betsy Newman Miller. The agility program at the Newport site is a new feature for dog obedience in Sebasticook Valley.

A playground of colorful equipment including numerous jumps, climbing walls, tables and tunnels entertains the canines as much as it exercises them. The new playground and the running and jumping dogs have sparked curiosity on busy Route 7.

Agility training can be used for competition and for training search and rescue dogs, Miller said. She uses the program as a supplement to her regular obedience training to help dogs gain confidence, enhance their owners’ ability to control them, provide a structured outlet for high-energy dogs and an alternative to repetitive obedience practices.

“It’s just fun,” said Laurie Wilber of Palmyra as she ran her black Lab, C.C., through the course.

Some participants hope to train their dogs for agility competition, while Wilber uses the program to reinforce commands with her high-spirited Lab.

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