NILES - Mac has been competing in American Kennel Club Dog Shows for three years.
The 6-year-old Keeshond will for the first time be able to perform before area residents this weekend thanks to the American Kennel Club dog agility trials being held Saturday and Sunday at the Ralph Infante Wellness Center. The shows begin at 8 a.m. both days.
"We've traveled to agility shows throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states," said Michael Coates Jr., Mac's owner and partner in the trials. "Mac loves doing these shows. He does it for the treats."
Coates Jr., a Niles resident, said Mac has been participating in the show since 2009.
An estimated 600 dogs and 300 owners are expected to participate in the event, said Sandra Irish, a member of the Youngstown All-Breed Training Club in North Jackson and the organizer of this event.
The dogs will compete on three levels: novice, open and excellent.
WHAT: AKC dog agility trials
WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: Ralph Infante Wellness Center, 213 Sharkey Drive, Niles
In the trials, the dog and handler teams compete for qualifying runs on different courses, including the Standard course, the Jumpers with Weaves course and the Fast course. The Standard course includes obstacles such as the teeter, the dog walk, the A-frame, weaves and jumps. As dog / handler teams earn qualifying runs, they advance from novice to open to excellent and then onto advanced titles.
They run though timed obstacle courses in which they must show both ability to successfully complete a series of jumps, weaves and other activities at a fairly rapid pace.
Two AKC qualified judges are coming from Texas and West Virginia for the event.
Scott MacMillan, general manager of the Ralph Infante Wellness Center, 213 Sharkey Drive, said this is the first time that a dog show of this type will be at the center.
"We will have to tear down most of the building, including tearing down the basketball hoops, removal of tennis nets and bleachers to prepare for the show," he said. "There will be two arenas with dogs performing occurring at the same time."
The city is setting up camp sites, and area hotels have been filling up due to the competition.
''We expect this to be one of the top five events happening at the Wellness Center this year," MacMillan said. "It will be a fun, family event. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend."
There also will be food vendors and people selling dog-related items on site.
Only dogs entered in the trials will be allowed in the building.