‘High Desert Dog Sports’ Host Fall Events & Expand to New 20 Acre Facility

PHOTO: HD Poodles

Participants in the Ruff Run 5k must navigate through rough terrain and large obstacles along with their dogs at the HDDS new 20 acre facility.

After two years of county permitting and legal hoops, the High Desert Dog Sports organization was finally able to host their first-ever event on its newly expanded 20-acre property. On October 14th, the new facility–High Desert Dog Sports- South- hosted the 7th Annual Ruff Run obstacle course, where dogs and their owners competed in a 5k race that included over 20 obstacles to navigate through.

The top winners of the 2023 Ruff Run 5k at High Desert Dog Sports-South. (Photo by: HD Poodles)

The larger facility is still in Phelan, near their original 2.5-acre lot, which opened in April 2018. Since then, the classes offered, and events held have expanded tremendously to where HDDS owner April Vaillancourt said they needed more room on the original property for all the activities they host throughout the year. High Desert Dog Sports is committed to helping owners build relationships with their dogs and allowing them to bond with their pets. April says her approach is centered around sports versus obedience “The HDDS is a place where they can be free and just be a dog. There is literally a sport for every dog.”

While the smaller location currently holds an above-ground pool for dock diving competitions, a complete agility course, and a shed area for barn hunt games and scent work training, the new facility opens even more opportunities for people and their pups. With a larger space, April says she plans to add a dog frisbee league and is partnering with a dog toy company to develop a new sport called the “Loop & Launch.” The Loop & Launch is a dog toy similar to a Chuck-it where a ball is thrown with a device, but the design is meant to be easier on the wrists while the ball goes further and is more durable than a regular dog toy.

April Vaillancourt (right) pours an ice cold beer for dogs at The Wrightwood Place. Tail Wagger Beer Co. offers pet safe, non-alcoholic brews with vegetable, chicken and beef broth flavors. (Photo by: Leandra Moreno-Prince)

But with the new facility comes a lot of prep work, including planting trees, installing irrigation, and constructing the courses. In order to raise funds for the various projects, the HDDS hosted a Fall Canine Carnival on Sunday, October 15th, where dogs could participate in fun activities at The Wrightwood Place. Some games included bobbing for hot dogs, where dogs “bobbed” for hot dog treats in a kiddie pool. A painting station was also offered, where a canvas with drops of paint was placed inside a zip lock bag, and peanut butter was smeared on top for dogs to lick and move the paint around to create their own “Pawcasso.” Of course, it isn’t October without beer. A doggie beer tasting was offered for pups to indulge in pet-safe, non-alcoholic brews by Tail Wagger Beer Co. with vegetable, chicken, and beef broth flavors. For the two-legged animals, wine tasting was offered along with a cornhole competition throughout the day.

Partner is ready to paint his “Pawcasso” masterpiece during the High Desert Dog Sports Fall Canine (and People too) Carnival at the Wrightwood Place. (Photo: Leandra Moreno-Prince)

A Barn Hunt was also set up for dogs to test out the sport. This game is based on scent work where dogs smell and locate safely enclosed rats hidden amongst hay bails. If you missed the opportunity to have your dog try out the sport, don’t worry; fun classes like these are offered weekly at High Desert Dog Sports in Phelan. Be sure to follow HDDS on Facebook, where they have over 4,000 followers, and class schedules are posted monthly. April would like the community to know that the classes are open to everyone and are enjoyed by all dogs, young and old. Not only are the games fun, but also beneficial. “Every dog can have a job, which actually helps dogs to be better, happier, and more confident,” said Vaillancourt.

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