Let’s be honest: The 21st century is a fast-paced time for most of us. We live at a time where everything is almost within our reach thanks to science and technological advances. At the same time, personal relationships are in a whirlwind motion – sometimes, it just never lasts.   

Both kids and adults alike are glued to their phones, missing out on the world slowly revolving around them. This kind of detachment to the actual world affects even the most loyal, friendly, and lovable companion humans could ever hope for – our dogs.

Some humans may be too busy to spend even a minute outside to walk their dogs. But part of being a dog owner is to live up to your responsibilities to at least provide your animal companion a loving environment and a healthy lifestyle in their lifetime.

That is why a group of people set up an activity best suited for those looking to make exercise and outdoor activities more engagingly fun for both humans and dogs.

Fun sport for all

At first, there was an Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) for humans. But founding members realized that aside from their love for the race, they too, were all dog lovers. Thus, OCR Dogs was born.

Founding members and ambassadors of OCR Dogs during the media launch last June 1 at OCR Dogs Sports Factory. (Photo by CJ Raquion)

“The team and the founding team behind OCR Dogs are really like through and through dog people, so meaning, we experience what you guys experience on taking care of dogs,” Keith Salas, general manager of OCR Dogs, said during the media launch last June 1.

Aside from handling OCR Dogs, Salas also supervise the Save the Laguna Pit Bulls Sanctuary site, which is under Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines, and is a fur-mom to her adopted dogs. Meanwhile, president and founder Jay Lim has been a professional trainer for dogs for 20 years now, which involves protection dogs, dog sports, detection, and search-and-rescue.

 “We, along with my ambassadors, wanted to introduce something that will not require so much money, so much time, and effort [in] training,” Lim said. Other activities such as protection sports, he added, would require you and your dogs to train every day before joining a competition.

With OCR Dogs, the goal is for humans and their animal companions to enjoy this activity together and have a healthier lifestyle.

“You don’t have to be like the super award-winning trainer who have about 10 years experience to be able to enjoy the sport,” Salas said.

How to get OCR-ready

You do not have to be too fit or athletic to join the obstacle race. All dog lovers and all dog breeds are welcome to join, as long as you are willing to have the best time with your companions!

The obstacles are based on the world’s standard for obstacle course training, which means your safety is guaranteed. No matter what body type you have and whether you are with a big or small dog, you are safe to join the obstacle course.

In training for the race, Salas assures anyone interested that you do not have anything to be scared of if this would be a first time.

“We start gradual,” she said. “We, [as coaches], evaluate first how is the obedience of your dog and your relationship with your dog.”

Trainings for the obstacle race take place at the Obstacle Sports Factory in Guadalupe Nuevo Makati every Saturdays and Sundays from 6pm to 10pm. Those interested could join by registering through an online form found in OCR Dogs’ Facebook page (@ocrdogs).

Ambassador Anne and her dog joining one of the OCR races. (Photo from OCR Dogs Facebook Page)

“With dog, we do it gradual – with treats [and] with praise,” she added.  “The goal is for your dog to work happily with you while going through obstacles.”

For only P300 per dog registered, humans and furries alike can enjoy and train at the obstacles for an hour.

“What’s the logic behind one hour? Because your dog gets tired [and] we do not want to overwork your dog,” Salas explained. “You end your training with your dog while the dog is still interested.”

Strengthens human-pup relationship

Aside from providing a healthy lifestyle, OCR helps both humans and dogs become a better individual and improve their relationship together.

 Kitch Gam, one of the OCR Dogs amabassadors, shared that she and her dogs had always been actively running around their neighborhood. But, when she joined one of her pups to OCR Dogs last year, she saw a change in Iggy, her dog.

“When we got home from [the first event we joined in Tiendesitas,] Iggy was so happy,” Gam said. “[Iggy and I] formed a special bond na parang I don’t get with my other dogs. ‘Yung bonding time namin every time we finish a training session, iba.”

Rodelio, another ambassador, and his dog Daisy are active members of MMDA K9 Search and Rescue. At first, he said his goal was to have a wonderful bonding time with Daisy, but something more came out of their experience.

Ambassador Rodelio and his dog Daisy during the media launch. (Photo by CJ Raquion)

“Daisy inspired me to be more active,” Rodelio shared. “I was about to give up on our first time with Ninja Dogs, but then it was Daisy who somehow turned to me na ‘we can do this.’”

“Maraming advantages [ang OCR Dogs,] hindi lang siya [nagbibigay] confidence, exercise and all of that, but also socialization. You will learn a lot from them,” ambassador Anne added.

Aside from running around your usual neighborhood, try out this sport as another avenue for you and your dogs to enjoy together.

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