Friday, July 16, 2010

September is right around the corner!

I just mailed off an entry for my first "new regulation" trial in September...It seems like a fitting time to revisit some of the new AKC agility regulations that will take effect September 1st, 2010:

Wait Lists
--Clubs may now offer a wait list that can be filled after closing. 
So if you find yourself wait-listed for a trial and it's after closing, depending on the club you might still get in off the wait-list!
A-Frames for the little dogs
--A-Frame set to 5'0" for 4" and 8" jump heights. AKC regulation  
A-Frame is now within one inch of 5'6" (which means 5'5" through 5'7"). All other heights will continue seeing the 5'6" A-Frame.
Dogwalk UP contacts
--Dogwalk up contacts are no longer judged. 
I am relieved for the judges on this one! This will save footsteps for tired feet. 

Teeter Calibration:
--Teeters must be calibrated prior to the start of every trial - clubs are responsible for having calibration materials. 
I'll have to watch for this one. I've NEVER seen a teeter calibrated. Prior to the start of the trial leaves some room for interpretation though - if the folks at Max200 calibrate the teeter before they load it in their trailer does that count as "Prior to the start of the trial"?
Table Behavior
--Table behavior is now position-less. Table count begins as soon as four paws are on the table. 
This is certainly an advantage for dogs that don't have trained table behaviors (or fast behaviors) and a disadvantage for the folks who had super-fast table behaviors (downs and sits). Those with fast sits and downs on the table often had a time advantage over those dogs that were slower to get into behaviors on the table. I've already switched to training exclusively for a down - and am asking my students to do the same.
--Dogs must restart weaves at pole one (can't fix pop-outs in the middle of the poles) and limited to three attempts. 
I'm a pretty spacial person - but I never knew how people knew where to put their dogs back in the weaves - and I've seen NUMEROUS times where handlers put their dogs back in incorrectly and weren't called on the fault (so judges don't know either). This means judges can look for entry and exit and not worry about where the dog popped out.
--During windy weather a panel jump can now be replaced by a bar jump. 
Of course - what a great idea!
--Tire heights now are 4" lower than the standard height. 24" dogs will jump a 20" tire. 
I'm worried about this one - not for Teller per se - but for some of the faster, looser less careful jumpers out there. I'm even more disturbed to hear AKC judges say things like "yeah we know that there will be MORE tire crashes for a while with the lower heights and people will have to consciously retrain the tire". Of course they will - but to expect MORE crashes for a while? I'm hoping that the weird tire heights will encourage more judges to put the tire as the first obstacle for a while. I still think the better answer is a break-away tire.
--Changes in YPS requirement (slower pace) for the 8" and 24" dogs - in Standard and JWW.  
I've done some math on this based on Tellers runs. In JWW this will net us an additional two points (on average) in standard this would be another 4-5 points (again on average) per run. Dogs that are truly 24" height dogs aren't built like 20" dogs. I'll be curious to see what results/points look like for other 24" dogs.
Training in the ring
--Handlers may now reattempt contact obstacles (and the chute) if a dog falls off. After the one reattempt the dog will be excused. 
I think handlers have always done this - if a handler was thinking quickly they got back on the obstacle right away then partied out of the ring. Letting them do so legitimately is a good thing.

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