AUGUSTA — Cue was cruising through an obstacle course on Sunday morning before the 5-year-old Jack Russell terrier started barking.

In all, the run was “not too bad,” but “not perfect,” said owner Gina Snow, of Mount Vernon, who attributed the barks to the dog’s impatience with a slow pace.

“She likes to run,” Snow said.

Cue was one of approximately 25 dogs to compete in the first trial held by Central Maine Rally Enthusiasts, which was founded this year with members in Maine and New Hampshire, said Keri St. Peter, a group member from Carmel. Similar clubs in cynosport, the competitive activity where dogs proceed through courses as they take commands from their owners, also exist in Lincolnville and Saco.

At the rally at the Buker Community Center on Sunday morning, leashed dogs went through a course with their owners with signs mandating different commands, including walking at a slow pace, making 270-degree turns, sitting and weaving through cones.

St. Peter said that people and dogs of many ages can compete, including older dogs that can’t handle impact sports, and competitors encourage each other.


“We’re competing with ourselves and our dogs to see how well we can do,” she said.

Many of the dogs were distracted during the early runs, often sniffing the signs or stopping to look at people or other dogs. Owners can’t drag dogs through the course and have to wait for them to respond to cues. Later in the day, they would compete off their leashes, but Snow said dogs generally get better as the day goes on, their focus improves and they get used to their surroundings.

“Most of the time, they’ll sniff, they’ll go slow, they’ll look at people, and usually, as the day goes on, you’ll see better runs,” she said.

That distraction didn’t spare Georgia, a 5-year-old Boston terrier who would often stop after commands to look around the room. But that didn’t bother her owner, SaShell Nofsker, of Casco.

“I’m fine with it. I can’t complain,” she said. “We finished.”

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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