For all the background leading up to this last segment, be sure to review my posts of September 28, October 1 & 4.
Having beaten to death the process by which Phoenix's unique leash law -- an ordinance the AKC endorses as a model for other municipalities -- came to be, let's look at the guts of the law as it applies to dog sports training, and how that law is enforced.
The solution we came up with -- minus the pages of legalese that must appear in an ordinance -- can most clearly be explained by describing the field test. That is, the steps a park ranger will follow when he comes upon a person with a dog off leash in a city park.
First he'll observe for a few minutes, probably while seated in his truck. What's going on here? How under control or out of control does the dog appear to be?
Then he'll approach the person and ask her to call her dog. Fido must come immediately and directly -- not stopping to visit (harass?) someone or someone's dog. If Fido comes promptly, fine. If not, the ensuing steps in the field test won't be necessary. The owner and the dog have flunked and are subject to a citation or at least a warning.
Assuming the dog has come promptly and directly, the ranger will then ask the owner to leash Fido. The owner must produce a leash, no longer than six feet, which she is carrying on her person, not 50 yards away in her car. No leash? She just flunked.
The ranger will then ask what nationally recognized dog sport they are training for. The examples listed in the Phoenix ordinance are conformation, obedience, rally obedience, freestyle obedience, agility, hunting or field trials, tracking, herding, service animal training, flyball, scent hurdling, lure coursing, and earthdog. The ordinance specifically excludes protection or security work. And just playing ball or throwing a frisbee won't hack it either.
Assuming the owner responds by naming a legitimate dog sport, the ranger will ask to see a title certificate from a nationally recognized dog sports organization. If the person is training for but has not yet titled her dog in the sport she has named, the Canine Good Citizen certificate will suffice.
If the person has met all the requirements mentioned here, the ranger will tell her what a nice dog she has, wish them good luck in their sport and be on his way.
And with that, I'll be on my way.