How to Get Started in Fast CAT

Fast CAT is simply a timed, 100 yard dash. Dogs run individually inside a fenced course. The only requirements for a dog to run Fast CAT are (1) be at least a year old, and (2) not be lame. Seriously, that’s it. And, well, (3) you have to get an AKC number for your dog if he or she isn’t already registered, but that’s super simple.

The Dog Sport for Beginners

Ronon is a naturally athletic dog. Getting him involved in sports seemed like a great idea, but I wasn’t sure where to start. He was almost two when I adopted him, so I felt like I was already “behind schedule” getting him started with training. Plus, he was so afraid of new experiences at first, that we spent months just working on trust and relationship building before even enrolling in an obedience class. When we did start taking a class, I thought it would take FOREVER before we got through the prerequisites to learn any sort of sport.

Then I learned about Fast CAT. I registered Ronon for his first event and off we went.

It Really is Simple to Get Started

I was initially frustrated when I wanted to get started. Everything I found seemed like it would make sense if I already knew what it all meant, but I was looking for “the dummies” version. I joined a few Facebook groups and started asking questions. I finally got it sorted, so here are the quick and dirty steps, if you’re interested:

  • If your dog is not an AKC registered dog, you need a PAL # (for purebred dogs) or a CP # (for mixed breeds).
  • After you get a number for your dog, you want to find an event near you. Events are held by individual breed and training clubs, but they can all be found through the AKC’s Event Search form.
  • When you find an event that is being held near you on a date you can attend, read the “premium” that will be linked from the search results. I have no idea why they call it that… it’s just an information sheet about the event put together by the host club. It will have all the details you need and information on how to register. Some clubs have online registration, but, for some, you have to print and mail a form with a check. There will be a closing date listed in the premium. Make sure you send your registration in before that date.
  • In my experience, the organizers and participants at Fast CAT events are very friendly and helpful, so just show up early and ask “what do I do next?” If you and your dog are well-behaved, people will be nice, and you’ll have a good time.

That’s really all you have to do to get started in Fast CAT!!