When Jay Lyda wants a little entertainment, he puts on a padded suit and allows muscular, 100-pound security dogs to bare their teeth and leap on him.
"It's fun. It's a rush," said Lyda, who serves as a "decoy" for the American Street Ring organization as members teach their dogs obedience and control.
The organization is a group of dog-training enthusiasts from police, military and sports backgrounds that meets regularly to practice and compete in reality-based obedience and protection scenarios.
The public is invited to learn more about the sport at the annual ASR Trial, scheduled for Saturday at Turf Pride, 4688 Washington Road in Evans. The daylong event will showcase dogs and handlers as they demonstrate skills ranging from obedience training to bite exercises.
Saturday's trial will include competition at three levels with increasing complexity. At the more advanced level, teams have a variety of challenges, including heeling off leash, staying down and refusing food, apprehending a running decoy with gunfire, a muzzled attack on a gunman at 30 feet, searching for a hostile man in the woods and conducting a building search.
"The dogs are always working in a controlled environment," said Jerry Lyda, who co-founded the club in 2005 with Matt Hammond.
The trial will demonstrate and test the dogs' natural instincts and talents while emphasizing control and obedience, said Amber Scott, a club member.
"These are breed-worthy dogs doing the job they were designed to do. These dogs come from working lines and have been bred for generations for this," she said.
American Street Ring is open to any breed, but the sport is dominated by German shepherds and Belgian Malinois. The Augusta-area club has the only boxer to earn a Certificate of Title in the sport, and dogs of several other breeds are working toward titles.
The title is considered a stamp of approval by organizations seeking working dogs because it shows they have the strength and character necessary for protection work and will pass those traits along to their offspring, said Hammond, the owner of Quality K9 Concepts, where dogs are bred and trained for police and military operations.
Although the dogs are focused and intense when working, most are social out of the arena and are considered members of the family, said club member Tamara Tate.
The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and last all day. There is no spectator fee, and area club officials and members of the association's board of directors from Florida will be on hand to discuss the sport and answer questions. There will be a concession stand and other activities, including an auction and raffles.
"The trial is the only working-dog event held in Augusta, and we are making it an annual event," Hammond said.
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