In these events, participants are actively discouraged from getting a leg up on the competition—or a judge—no matter how upset they may be with a call.
The Dog Chow Incredible Dog Challenge is a four-legged pentathlon that includes a long jump, in which dogs sprint down a turf track and then leap into a pool filled with water; a high jump (last year's winning height: 5'4"); flyball, a relay race between two teams of four dogs who sprint over four hurdles, grab a tennis ball and then sprint back over the hurdles; an agility test in which dogs tear around an obstacle course of hoops, teeter-totter ramps, equestrian-esque fences, tarp chutes and a short, tight slalom course; and the flying disc toss, in which dogs, well, catch easily identified flying objects. This year's national finals will be held in St. Louis on Saturday.
The other big event in an extreme dog's life is the Alpo Canine Frisbee disc Championships (pictured on these pages), in which competitors are only required to do what dogs are born to do—catch and fetch. Competitors are judged on leaping ability, execution, degree of difficulty, showmanship and distance.
Among the favorites for this year's Frisbee finals, scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., on September 18, is the team of Nasty Sassy, a 3-year-old border collie, and Ping Latvong, a 32-year-old hairstylist (of people only) and trainer (of dogs only) from Anaheim. The two have successfully defended their 1998 Southwest Regional title and hope to improve on their second-place finish in last year's finals. Pressure? What pressure? Nasty refuses to sit for interviews, but Latvong says the championship is just like any other day spent playing in the park with his dog-"only you get judged."