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    3rd Infantry Division Band musician and her dog win Top All-American Dog Award at Westminster

    3rd Infantry Division Band musician and her dog win Top All-American Dog Award at Westminster

    Photo By Pfc. Bernabe Lopez III | Brio, a 5-year-old mixed breed dog, awaits an agility demonstration at his home in...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Bernabe Lopez III 

    3rd Infantry Division

    “I am so proud of my dog for what he has accomplished,” said Master Sgt. Ali Park, a musician assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division Band at Fort Stewart, Georgia. “I always felt confident during our training that he could do really well in a big competition, but he surprises me every time after each run.”

    Brio, Park’s mixed breed dog, competed at the 9th Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and won the Top All-American Dog Award June 18, 2022.

    “It’s really exciting because he’s kind of famous now,” said Park. “Westminster is one of the most famous dog shows in the world, so there’s a lot of recognition there.”

    Brio competed once before at Westminster, but he also competed in other national events such as the UKI US Open in Jacksonville, Florida, which he won twice, and the AKC National Agility Championship in Ocala, Florida. Such events, along with Park’s training, helped pave the way towards Brio winning his category in his second appearance at Westminster.

    “I’m just so proud of him for what he accomplished at Westminster,” said Park. “After any local trial when he does really well, which is often, it surprises me and he makes me really proud.”

    Proper training and communication result in great output, regardless of a dog being purebred or mixed breed.

    “I knew what she did, but until I really saw her at the Westminster competition, I was like, ’Oh my gosh, that is incredible,’” said Sgt. Bo Jones, a musician assigned to 3rd ID’s band. “Especially because she got her dog from the pound. You’ll see other dogs that are purebred and are very expensive. People get them as puppies and immediately train them, but she rescued her dog from the pound. That’s just really amazing.”

    Park oversaw Brio’s entire training.

    “I personally train my own dog,” said Park. “However, I have been fortunate enough to have classes, private lessons and seminars with some great trainers over the years. I started agility training a little over six years ago, and I started competing five years ago. I’ve grown a lot through great instruction, and I feel that they have all contributed to our training and to our success at Westminster.”

    She became an active member in the sport by watching other handlers and dogs compete.

    “When I first discovered this sport, I was so excited,” said Park. “I wanted to learn all I could about this sport, so I was really diligent about taking lessons, going to classes, looking at [training] videos on the Internet and just learning by watching other handlers. I really worked hard with my dog to gain a lot of skills to be able to do a high-level competition.”

    Agility training isn’t just for athletic dogs and people but can be a good venue for anyone interested in dog training.

    “I just want to let people know if they have a dog, or are interested in getting into the sport, go adopt a dog,” said Park. “Look into this sport of dog agility; it's a lot of fun, and anybody can get into it.”

    Jones wholeheartedly recalls trying moments with her own dog during training; however, conversations with Park showed her that training is more than just giving a command.

    “It’s really interesting too because before, I was kind of like ‘Oh, he’s so bad, he doesn’t want to do anything in the world’,” said Jones. “And the more I talked to her, the more I realized it was all me. It was how I was trying to communicate with him, so I’m really grateful for her because she has taught me to communicate better with my dog, which has made our relationship better and stronger.”

    With any victory comes its own reward, and in Brio’s case, that reward was food.

    “My dog is food crazy,” said Park. “That is his biggest motivation for doing agility, so after each run, he gets paid really well with some good food. He loves it, and he goes crazy for it.”

    When it comes to agility training and competitions, one of the rewarding moments for Park is sharing the experience with her dog.

    “Anyone can get into this sport,” said Park. “It’s a lot of fun, and I really want to give more exposure to this sport because it's a great thing to be able to have a bonding experience. To have something to do that builds your connection with a dog.”



    Date Taken: 07.11.2022
    Date Posted: 07.11.2022 13:52
    Story ID: 424731
    Location: FORT STEWART, GA, US 

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