AKC Dog Agility Competition Updates - Get Ready to Run!
Hey are you wondering why AKC agility judges and exhibitors are so excited about the proposed changes recently announced?
In this blog (or watch the video), I'm going to walk you through what the proposed changes are and what they mean to you.
If you're new here my name is Lisa Selthofer, an AKC and UKI dog agility judge and I'm here to demystify everything dog agility related. Be sure to sign-up for our emails to stay up to date on dog agility topics.
Here's What's Proposed:
AKC agility just announced some changes that they're putting before their board and boy has that been a hot topic, so I thought I would go through that.
First let's talk about what this means when the board of directors reviews something. The board of directors actually reviews all of the rule changes and this is different than the agility advisory committee. The agility advisory committee takes a look at the AKC agility sport overall, takes suggestions from exhibitors and then comes forward to the agility director and staff with proposed changes. That is not happening right now, rather this is the agility director and staff coming forward to the board of directors saying "Hey, we'd like to make these changes."
Let's go ahead and talk about some of those right now because you have questions.
The first is 'For Exhibition Only,' or FEO. FEO is a training run in AKC agility where you can bring a toy into the ring to train with your dog. FEO does have some rules around FEO such as, you can't throw the toy and it must remain in your hand. It is similar to UKI's 'Not For Competition' (NFC) so the toy can be used to reward the dog. In AKC, the toy cannot make noise, cannot have food in it, and it can't leave the Handler's hand. Also, the Handler can't use more than the standard course time, so they're not getting more time than anyone else.
The proposed rule is to allow For Exhibition Only, FEO, in all classes. Right now it's only allowed in the Time 2 Beat and Fast class as well as the ISC class at the club's discretion. By allowing it to be in all of the classes, that would be Jumpers with Weaves, the Standard courses and also the Premier courses.
The concern is it'll take extra time at the trial. The only drawback, is it really impacts the judge and the timer. Specifically the Judge will need to remember to brief the timer on what to do and when to actually actually hit the buzzer, which means that the person is out of time.
When this goes through, or I should say if it goes through, here's what exhibitors can do to help. As soon as your time is done, you and your dog should make your way as quickly as possible to the Finish Line area. That will actually help because we want the dog that is on the line, ready to go to know exactly what the rhythm is in terms of time that they are going to be expected to go.
Open Course 1x Wheeling:
This is really only only going to impact judges. What they're proposing is reduce the wheeling of the open course by the Judge to just one time.
A little bit of History, previously, they actually did reduce the number of times that judges were required to wheel the Novice course. Judges used to wheel that two times. Now, we only have to wheel it once, and they're just going to say the same thing for Open, that we only have to wheel it one time. This is not going to impact course times because basically, everybody is going to be working from the 20 inch path, which is in theory the longer path, so this isn't going to impact anybody. Again, it's not going to have an impact on times, it really just is the judges that are going to have fewer steps during the day.
Excellent and Master Course Time:
Next, Excellent and Master course times. This is going to impact only the 8 and 12 in height and the corresponding preferred heights. The proposal is to increase the course yardage to allow for the 8 and 12 inch Heights, and of course the corresponding preferred Heights, to increase the course time.
As a bit of history, judges fill in course time sheets after they wheel. So the 12 inch path on the worksheet, which impacts 8 and 12 and of course the 4in preferred and the 8 in preferred, is the only thing that is going to be changing to allow the increase of the time.
Course Design Changes:
The next several items have to do with coarse design.
Judges are required to have certain obstacles in certain certain classes and so right now the pause table is one of those that we are required to have in the standard class. Right now the Table is required and it can only be taken one time on a course when it comes to design. What they are proposing on the pause table is that it is removed as a required obstacle.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the pause table is going away. What I believe it means is that the pause table will now become optional, so don't go toss that pause table Into the fire just yet because it will more than likely, in my opinion be an optional item. As a judge, I am really excited for a couple of reasons. Number one, it takes forever to change the pause table between all of the different jump heights. Also making that 5-second table count. While in a normal weekend competition this really won't make a difference in terms of the ability of the judge to be consistent in doing that 5-second count, because quite frankly the time frame of literally the hundreds of a second on a normal weekend isn't going to make a difference, but I think it'll be nice for flow of courses and it it will allow different types of course design now you don't have that required table
The next is the bar jump and I've had so many people ask me what this is. The proposal is to no longer have a bar jump required in any course. So a bar jump, and this really is something that judges will know, a bar jump is the jump that has two bars on it. It's different than a one bar jump. Right now as a judge, I'm required to have this two bar jump somewhere on my course and now I won't have to as it will be optional. I happen to like the two bars at the start and the Finish jump that's just my personal preference, so this is going to be more than likely an optional type of item.
Next the tire obstacle and they are proposing to limit the number of passes, or how often a tire can be taken on course and I actually think that's a fantastic thing. I just love that I really do and here's why. In course design, getting the tire absolutely perfect so that dogs have a nice straight on approach can be a challenge once, but to do it two times, in other words if they're taking it in the opposite direction. sometimes it's not as perfect getting that dog set up for a nice straight approach.
They are proposing to allow the use of a wall jump in the Excellent and Master Class classes to add obstacle variety. I believe this will be in the standard and the jumpers classes and will be an optional item, not a required item.
What do you think of all of these changes?
They more than likely won't go into effect until after April. I'm sure they're going to let us know as things are approved and when that will go into effect
Have a great day!
- Lisa Selthofer
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