>> See more details about Car-Dun-Al Dog Training’s facility
Last weekend’s dog agility trial at Car-Dun-Al Dog Training in Huntley IL–hosted by Smack Dab Agility Club of Warrenville, IL–was another great event with several surprises. Bob Jeffers was the honorable judge, Danielle Davis was Chairperson, and Robert Olsen was Trial Secretary. Together with their club members and community volunteers, they put on a smooth-running trial.
Car-Dun-Al is located 10783 Wolf Drive in Huntley, IL. It is in the far back corner of a business complex consisting of several single-story buildings with varying vendors. Once inside–when facing the ring–it is much wider than it is long, the opposite of most agility ring setups. I’m sure some judges enjoy the challenge and creativity in designing their courses here.
Crating is in front of the ring and also along the left side. Although crating was tight, there was enough space for everyone. Parking is in a paved lot or along the sides of the building. That was also tight at times, but there is additional parking on the other side of the building if necessary.
Since there is no air conditioning at Car-Dun-Al, their trials run October through May.
The first question about Smack Dab Agility Club was ‘how did they come up with that awesome name?’ According to club President and trial chair Danielle Davis, it was originally the name of a kennel owned by Kathy Fay. That was about 30 years ago, and as a club member back then, Kathy allowed them to use the name. She also let them keep it after she left.
“The best part about being in the club is putting on trials,” Danielle said. Since conducting trials is the club’s main goal, it’s great that she loves being a part of it all. In her briefing and throughout the trial, her upbeat attitude and enjoyment of that job really shows.
Danielle has been president of the club since at least 2008, and has been chairing their trials for the past 12 to 15 years. They have about 13 members, and a great community of non-members that help out regularly. “We couldn’t do it without the support of the community,” Danielle said. “It is just amazing how much they help.” The club holds two trials a year: one in February at Car-Dun-Al, and a 2-ring trial elsewhere in May. This year’s May trial is at Go For It Sports in Yorkville on the 26th and 27th. Smack Dab’s trials usually fill, even the 2 ring trial. According to Danielle, “there’s a huge agility community in this area, with trials within 100 miles almost every weekend.”
The Greatmat floor
The biggest surprise to me was the mat floor, especially how much everyone liked it. Before I attended this trial, someone actually told me they won’t trial at Car-Dun-Al because it has a mat floor. This wasn’t at all the opinion of the ‘full-with-waiting-list’ participants. “I love this floor better than any other floor I trial on,” said club member Aimee Schilling. “It’s so consistent, which you don’t always get with turf.” Aimee runs Brittanys, and said her dogs love it too.
A couple from Iowa said they travel to Car-Dun-Al several times a year. Iowa doesn’t have that many trials, so they need to travel if they want to compete as often as desired. With all those choices of locations–near and far–they choose Car-Dun-Al mostly because of the floor.
The flooring is sold by a company called Greatmats out of Milltown Wisconsin. It is dense foam, made up of square, interlocking mats, much like the ones you can purchase at a hardware store. Some differences are their thickness – a full 5/8”, durability – they stay connected together like glue, and surface – dogs simply don’t slip on it (with the exception of handler errors). As nice as these mats are, I might buy some for my garage!
Awesome worker food
The worker food included a very nice continental breakfast with yogurt, fresh fruit and bagels. Breakfast queen extraordinaire Pam Feyereisen puts out the spread. “I’ve been doing breakfasts for the club since about 2010,” Pam said. “Usually I’m running Corgies, but right now I don’t have any I can run so today it’s just a volunteer thing.”
Lunch was catered in the first two days, and consisted of some awesome tasting food: Greek salad, shrimp kabobs, rotisserie chicken, grilled veggies, rice pilaf, Italian beef, oven braised potatoes, and more. Everything was delicious!
If I could change one thing
The one ‘easier thing’ I would change about this facility would be to add taller, solid fencing along a narrow “hallway” that one must go through to get to the restrooms, eating area, and most crating. One side of the hallway is a solid brick wall, the other side is the agility ring with low gating. I saw one dog NQ because he got a refusal when he was distracted by a dog walking through there. A few other dogs would have NQ’d for similar reasons but had already NQ’d earlier in their run. At the end of the day, having a dog work this close to other dogs is a training issue. Still, a solution seem easy enough to implement.
Overall this was a fun place to trial with friendly people and club members. Be sure and put it on your potential trial list if you plan to visit the area!