Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Finals 2014: TV Schedule, Events and Results

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2014

In this image provided by Purina Pro Plan, Purina hosts the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 2, 2013. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Invision for Purina/AP Images)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

One growing tradition on Super Bowl Sunday is networks airing different athletic events featuring animals. The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge is an Olympic-style showcase for dogs of all shapes and sizes to highlight their incredible skill.

From navigating their way through agility courses to racing over hurdles and things as simple as playing fetch, there's seemingly a contest for every breed. The dogs first had to go through regional finals, with the best of the best earning a trip to Gray Summit.

The finals actually took place last October, but NBC is showing them leading up to the Super Bowl when there's a greater potential audience as viewers seek out the athletic animals. So let's take a quick glance at the different events, followed by the top finishers in each category.

 

Where: Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Mo.

When: Sunday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

 

Events

Small Dog Agility and Large Dog Agility

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

The two things that will stand out during both of these competitions are the amazing speed the dogs can reach when they get into full stride and how well trained they are by the time they reach the final. They understand the course and complete it with tremendous precision.

Some of the different obstacles include hurdles, weaves and rings. The pace at which the finalists move through the course makes it seem much easier than it really is. As VetStreet noted back in October, these are actually some remarkable feats:

 

Jack Russell Hurdle Racing

Blink and there's a good chance you'll miss the championship race in this category. The rambunctious Jack Russell terriers come flying out of the starting gate, make a couple of jumps and cross the finish line in the amount of time it takes Peyton Manning to say “Omaha” twice.

All of the dogs are extremely quick, so the biggest difference seems to be the jumps. The dogs capable of getting over the hurdles without losing stride have the edge, even if they don't possess the same straight-line speed as their opponents. Technique is crucial.

 

Diving Dog

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

When a dog wants to chase down his toy, there's nothing that's going to prevent it from happening. Not even a dock with a long pool attached. It's always interesting to watch as the dogs go soaring through the air, appearing as if to fly for a brief moment.

One key factor in this event is the throw. If it's too short or too long, it will impact the jump and prevent the perfect dive. Otherwise, it all comes down to how much air time the dog can get before splashing down, often over 30 feet away.

 

Fetch It

This event is a variation of diving dog. Instead of the trainers throwing something for the dogs to chase, there's a pole a set distance away with an object to grab. It keeps getting moved farther away until the dogs reach their limit.

Although the general jumping into water concept is the same, it's different because the pole is set a couple of feet above the surface, which means height is a major factor. Despite that, they still end up jumping pretty far.

 

30 Weave Up and Back

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

This is a simple but exciting contest. The dogs are forced to go through a long line of poles, make the turn and come all the way back through the same course to beat their opponent. It's another event that happens very quick.

The best part about it is seeing how shifty the dogs are moving between the obstacles. They are able to contort their body to weave in and out in one fluid motion, which looks very cool when they are zooming through the poles.

 

Freestyle Flying Disc

Finally, there's the freestyle contest, which brings together a dog's catching ability with some unique skills. The dogs are then scored based on the entire routine, which means every toss and every catch is important in the end.

The routine is a test of a dog's short-area quickness and long-distance ability to chase down a long throw. Add in the rapid pace at which everything moves, and it's something that comes off very well for television viewers.

 

Results (via ProPlan.com)

Small Dog Agility

Small Dog Agility Results
RankCompetitorsTime
1Bode with Julie Martinez35.13
2Riot with Gosia Skowron37.11
3Sasha with Debbie Hartzell53.50
ProPlan.com

 

Large Dog Agility

Large Dog Agility Results
RankCompetitorsTime
1Kate with Sarah Duke32.74
2Steeple with Kim Terrill33.71
3Grit with Monica Bush35.52
ProPlan.com

 

Jack Russell Hurdle Racing

Jack Russel Hurdle Racing Results
RankCompetitors
1Huntmoor Diamond with Joy Owens
2Leinenkugel with Sheila Quinn
3Drako with Daren and Fran Shiver
ProPlan.com

 

 

Diving Dog

Diving Dog Results
RankCompetitorsDistance
1Vhoebe with Lise Ann Strum32'0"
2Baxter with Tony Lampert31'9"
3Remy with Jon Langdon30'8"
ProPlan.com

 

Fetch It

Fetch It Results
RankCompetitorsDistance
1Cowboy with Jason Kidd23'
2Maddy with John and Lori Caloia23'
3Nash with Cathi Wilcox19'
ProPlan.com

 

30 Weave Up and Back

30 Weave Up and Back Results
RankCompetitorsTime
1Jill with Jeannine Doepke17.807
2Cisco with Keith Highleyn/a
3Steeple with Kim Terrilln/a
ProPlan.com

 

 

Freestyle Flying Disc

Freestyle Flying Disc
RankCompetitorsPoints
1Laika with Mona Konishi100
2Moxie with Andrea Rigler91
3Solar with Andrew Han90.5
ProPlan.com