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— Learn How to Handle, Groom, Show Your Dog and Compete in Agility —

The American Kennel Club® is offering a golden opportunity for Raleigh-area dog owners to learn about and get involved in AKC-sanctioned dog shows and sports. On Feb. 23, 2008, the AKC® will host the second annual “AKC Canine Experience” (formerly called the AKC Education Match) at Dorton Arena on the N.C. State Fairgrounds.

The AKC Canine Experience is a large, local, multi-club, multi-sport event that introduces and welcomes owners of newly AKC-registered puppies to and educates them about the sport of purebred dogs. The day-long event features educational presentations followed by a match, during which new exhibitors and future fanciers practice their newly learned skills.

From 9 a.m. to noon, the educational portion of the event is free and open to anyone with an interest in dogs. Programs will showcase the spectrum of fun and competitive dog activities that AKC offers. Topics to be covered include grooming and handling for both children and adults, finding and joining a local kennel club, dog show entry assistance and preparing to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Demonstrations of AKC companion events such as Obedience, Rally and Agility will be ongoing throughout the day and area trainers will be available to discuss these activities with attendees.

“Many people enjoy watching dog shows, such as the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, on TV but don’t realize how easy and family-friendly the sport is to get involved in. We understand that aspects of showing your dog can be intimidating to newcomers, so we are holding this event specifically to create a welcoming environment for those who want to learn more about AKC dog sports,” said Robin Stansell, Vice President of Event Operations. “There are many dog show opportunities available in the Triangle area for those who want to participate. We hope that the AKC Canine Experience will give dog owners the confidence and background knowledge to do so.”

Practice Obedience and Rally course run-throughs will be held at 10 a.m. at the cost of $5 per run. At 1 p.m. an AKC-sanctioned dog show intended for newcomers or those who want to practice dog handling without competing for Championship points will be held. A conformation dog show is the type of event often seen on television that is intended to evaluate how well a dog conforms to its breed standard as well as its quality as potential breeding stock. The entry fee for the match is $5 per dog; the run-throughs and match are open to all AKC-registrable breeds 3 months of age or older with current vaccinations.

Local dog club members, groomers and trainers will be on hand to answer any questions, and a dog supply vendor will be onsite with an assortment of pet products available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring their dog with a collar and lead, as well as a water bowl and crate, if available.

For more information about attending the AKC Canine Experience, contact (919) 816-3712 or