Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AKC Rule Changes - 2010 and beyond!

I'll be honest, I haven't read them all!! There are many dealing with entries, aggressive dogs, and over various topics that I wouldn't probably ever need. That being said, if you have a dog that, barks at the judge, will run toward a dog at the start line, or any other type of behavior that could be seen as 'aggressive', I'd suggest you read that part of the rule changes.

On to Equipment!! It wasn't clear to me when some of these changes go into effect. I've heard that the table is as of 9/1/10, but not sure about the others.

First off, weave poles! I don't know about you, but I thought they were going to "Require" 24" poles as of 7/1/10, that is NOT the case! (Not until January 1, 2012) So, you might want to stay practiced in those 20"-22" poles!

A-Frame Height - The height of the A-Frame is to be set within 1 inch of 5 feet 6 inches, except for 4-inch and 8-inch jump heights, which shall have the A-Frame set to within 1 inch of 5 feet 0 inches. (I'm not sure when this changes?) I know in USDAA it's rather a hassle and there are times it's not changed, although their height isn't this low. If you're the first dog up in a class that (has or had) a varied A-Frame height, please be sure you're looking!

Dog Walk - It appears that the up contact on the dog walk will not be judged. I'm sure this is due to so many running dog walks now a days! It's almost impossible to be at both ends. This does NOT apply to the Teeter however, so you must hit the up side there.

Table (I can hear some of you cheering NOW!!!)

The dog shall pause on the table for five cumulative seconds. The judge’s count shall
start once all four (4) paws have touched the table (and the dog remains on the table top). Neither a sit or a down position shall be required.

Tire Jump’s height shall be set one jump height lower than the Bar Jump height, with the exception of the 4-inch jumping dog.
Tire Jump Height vs. Bar Jump Height
4 Inches 4 Inches
4 Inches 8 Inches
8 Inches 12 Inches
12 Inches 16 Inches
16 Inches 20 Inches
20 Inches 24 Inches
24 Inches 26 Inches

Standard Course Times - The 8" and 24" divisions will see a slight increase in SCTs.

o 8-inch Division: 1.85 yards per second, plus 5 seconds for the Pause Table
o 12-inch Division: 2.0 yards per second, plus 5 seconds for the Pause Table
o 16-inch Division: 2.15 yards per second, plus 5 seconds for the Pause Table
o 20-inch Division: 2.25 yards per second, plus 5 seconds for the Pause Table
o 24-inch Division: 2.20 yards per second, plus 5 seconds for the Pause Table
o 26-inch Divisions: 2.25 yards per second, plus 5 seconds for the Pause Table

Placements for 1st and 2nd place will no longer have multipliers as of 7/1/11. That makes perfect sense to me, as those dogs more than likely don't need the points. It might have been fun to give multipliers to the bottom two dogs in the class? Those are probably the ones that need them!

There as also new titles being added in the future, life time achievement titles, etc. That's something you'll want to follow up on if you're interested. There are 61 pages of material to sort through. I think I've hit most of the highlights!

Monday, July 26, 2010

USDAA Rule Changes! July 1st and after...

The weave pole requirements are the biggest change! It's the one that most people were hoping for, so it's nice to see that the Board was listening.

I heard a rumor that there will be a USDAA Trial in Davenport next March.

Jump Heights for USDAA Championship Classes

Over 21" = 26
21" and under, but over 16" = 22"
Under 16", but over 12" = 16"
12" and Under = 12"

(Performance Classes would be one jump height down)


The USDAA Board has released the following approved rule changes effective July 1, 2010, unless otherwise stated -

  • Weave poles specifications have been expanded to provide for greater tolerance in measure of spacing. It is important to note that existing weave pole sets that meet the 2009 specification will also meet the new specification. Effective immediately, poles shall be set officially at 22" (55cm) spacing when measured center to center, with tolerance in construction permitted of plus or minus 2" (5cm).

  • The tire jump definitioin has been expanded to permit an option to use a "displaceable" tire under a particular set of specifications stated below:

    • "Displaceable" shall mean that the tire may be separated or displaced upon impact with forces of no less than 18 pounds (18#). Tires that displace or separate with less force are not permitted.
    • For such a design, bungees and other flexible cables shall not be used as it would change the dynamics of the "break" force.
    • The tire components must remain suspended within the frame when separated or displaced so as not to have flying debris that could cause injury to the dog or handler.
    • When the tire is displaced or separated, a penalty of five standard fault points shall be assessed.
    • Other designs for displaceable tire jumps may be permitted provided designs are submitted for approval and it can be demonstrated that the designs are both functional under the rules above and safe. Such designs shall be submitted at least six months prior to their intended use. (Submission does not assure approval is forthcoming.)
  • For the tire jump in general -

    • Cabling on any tire jump, displaceable or non-displaceable, should not create a web in which a dog could become entangled.
    • The aperture of the tire shall measure approximately 20" (51cm), within standard tolerances (i.e., plus or minus 1" or 2.54cm). (This specification previously stated the aperture could be between 17" and 20".) To be effective January 1; earlier adoption is encouraged.

  • Time for a round shall be measured to the point where the dog crosses the finish line following performance of the last obstacle on a course that has a defined sequence (e.g., standard, jumpers, or relay classes), whether timed electronically or manually. (The measure of time was previously not stated in the rule book except with respect to the use of electronic timing; this rule is to establish consistency in measuring time between the two methods.)

Effective for the 2011 and subsequent tournament and/or calendar year -

  • Title name changes will be made in the Performance Program to more closely align titles between the Championship and Performance Programs (e.g., Performance Dog, Advanced Performance Dog, Master Performance Dog, Performance Dog Champion, etc.) Name changes will be implemented no later than January 1, 2011. Note that class names will remain unchanged (i.e., using levels 1, 2, 3 designations in correlation to Starters, Advanced and Masters levels, respectively). This is to avoid confusion in administration of entries in the classes of the two programs.

  • A new Veterans Program will be introduced for the primary titling classes. Details will be published on the new Veterans Program by October 1 to allow for class offerings beginning 2011.

  • The Performance Speed Jumping tournament will introduce Regional Championship classes and a Championship Quarterfinals class in the annual Championship event beginning in the 2011 tournament season (beginning September 13, 2010).

  • For the 2011 tournament season, a competitor/dog team must qualify in at least two of the three tournaments within a Program (Championship or Performance), in order to advance to the annual Championship event.

Previously announced and implemented rule changes -

  • The Standard Course Times for the Starters Jumpers Class shall be based upon the following table:

Jumping Heights

Standard Course Time Rates

Operating Range

Absolute Minimum Rate


3.00 - 3.25 yds/sec

3.00 yds/sec


2.75 - 2.95 m/sec

2.75 m/sec


3.25 - 3.50 yds/sec

3.00 yds/sec


2.95 - 3.20 m/sec

2.75 m/sec

22" & 26"

3.50 - 3.75 yds/sec

3.50 yds/sec

55cm & 65cm

3.20 - 3.40 m/sec

3.20 m/sec

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Creating "Trial Stress" at home

Mad Dog - Courier Ball Drop Exercise
(Photo By Marsha Kingsley)

It doesn't matter what type of dog sport you participate in, your dog will have 'Trial Stress'.

Stress reactions can or will vary from dog to dog. There are stress yawns, and scratches. Stress 'rips', where the dog seems to be having a lot of fun running all out, but in fact, this is how the dog's releasing it's stress. Some dogs might slow down or avoid a piece of equipment. After the first attempt, they might then willing complete the obstacle or exercise. Other dogs might bark or 'freeze' in certain circumstances. Just like people, all dogs are individuals, and will behave as such.

As Handlers, we also suffer from stress. Handlers stress reactions are just as varied as the dogs. Sometimes we move slower or faster than we would during training. Some will get louder or quieter when at a trial. Others will even feel an overwhelming lack of confidence. No wonder our dogs are stress, they look at their teammate and have to wonder, "Who the HECK are YOU!!"

I know it's silly, we are trialing because we love the atmosphere, the chance to have fun with our dogs, as well as visiting/eating with our friends. We have a common love for dogs and dog training. So, why do we get stressed?

Maybe we need 'one more leg', or 'one more DQ', or just want to be able to ..... (Input your exercise here.) I will admit, it's really hard to work past that. However, both you and your dog will benefit if you can.

Knowing 'us' Handlers are not perfect, we need to figure out a way to help our dogs work through 'Trial Stress' at home. It's really not all that hard, you just need to get 'creative' and keep it POSITIVE!!!

You're reinforcement MUST be better than the distraction.

One way you can create stress is by distraction training. You'll need to be sure that the distraction isn't too "distracting" at first. Then slowly move the distraction closer. For example, the chickens in the weave poles. Let's face it, I wouldn't take a dog that had never seen the chickens before and expect him to weave. I might let him weave 20' (or whatever distance he could successfully weave), from the chicken pen first. The birds are confined and he's not terribly interested in them. Then I might move the weaves closer to the pen. Working up to the point where chickens were loose, but not necessarily close to the poles.

If you don't have chickens, you can do the same thing with people. Although, they probably don't need to be penned up. G You can have people in various positions or wearing various things in practice. Again, work up to the level of distraction, you want your dog to be SUCCESSFUL!! Build up his confidence. Your "people" distractions can then sit down, lay down or even 'hover' over the area you are working. Maybe open an umbrella, or snap a tarp. Be CREATIVE!!!!

No People Available? How about food or food bowls? HELLO!! If someone put a 'Lock N Lock' container out on course and it appeared to have "treats" in it, you can be I'd be DISTRACTED! So, start off with a couple of 'empty' bowls at distance, that's not distracting to the dog. You wouldn't want him to 'know' they were empty of course. Then slowly move the bowls in closer. Start dropping food in the bowls and move them back. Let the dog 'see' you put food in them. Slowly move them closer. Work up to being able to drop the food on the ground. Once they are good at this, you can release them to clean it up!

I'm sure there are THOUSANDS of ways to help create and work through 'Trial Stress' at home.

What have you tried?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Got Dirt?


It is my favorite surface to run on. Granted, it can be dry, it can be wet,
it can be sandy or it can be hard clay. I don't care! I still LOVE IT!!!

I really enjoy the Muscatine Agility Club's trial.
They are a good group of agility folks and have
the right attitude!

Seeker and I are 'getting there'.
He had some moments of brilliants,
and a couple areas he can improve on.
So, I guess we're in this together!

We took home some homework,
that's for sure!

Here's a few of his runs....
I thought the music was pretty fitting for

Seeker finished his MXJ over the weekend.

Kruz finished both his Preferred Excellent
JWW and Standard titles to move into the
B Classes at the next trial.


There were also many DQs!!
Bea, Coz, Phoenix, Sydney.
Sorry if I missed anyone!

Don and Stella finished their NA!!
Out of Novice A FOREVER!

HUGE Congrats to...

Dawn and MACH2 Tess!!!

(From Laura)

Many, many thanks to EVERYONE for 3 days of hard work this past weekend to help MACI put on our second agility trial and enjoy watching all of our friends play the agility game. It was so great to see so many people out setting courses, asking if we needed any help, filling in those open spots. I believe for every class we had several extra people ready, willing and able to fill in if needed. We could never pull off a trial without every one's help!! Thank you to all for simply being the wonderful agility community that you are!!!

Both of our judges for the weekend were very impressed with how well everything ran and they both commented how great the workers were. Jacque was pleased to know that she would have such a wonderful group of people to work with when she does SCKC's trial in August 2011, and Karen was also very happy with the venue and how everything worked out.

So, thanks again to everyone. We couldn't do it without you and we are all very grateful for everything that you all do!!

Sue Ann and Barb, could you please pass to ICDOC and the Orange Shirt Crowd, respectively? Thanks :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

PAX Scamp!!!!

Liz Drexler and Scamp finished their PAX
(Preferred Agility Champion) on Saturday 6/26/10!

They are the first "Orange Crew" member to earn this title!!

Way to go Scampster and Liz!!

In order to earn a PAX title, you need to earn 20 double qualifying (2Q) scores from the Preferred Excellent B classes. A "2Q" is earned when a dog qualifies in both the Excellent B Preferred Standard and Excellent B Preferred Jumpers With Weaves class on the same date at the same trial.