Tuesday, March 01, 2011

So you've finished your first novice title - Part One

For those new to AKC agility there are often more questions after one finishes their first title (or titles) than there are when they're getting ready to hit their first trial. I know my agility "kidz" have had some questions regarding "what happens next".

So, you've finished your dog's NA, NAJ or NF (or NAP, NJP, NFP).
If you're new to AKC agility you've probably finished these titles out of the novice A class - Congratulations! Titles are always fun to finish - but there's something special about that first agility title on your Novice A dog - Mine was Murphy's NAJ at the 2006 Southern Berkshire Golden Retriever Club's agility trial - seems like forever and yesterday all at the same time. There are a few rules around move-ups that you'll need to be aware of:

1) If you finished that novice title out of the A class you do not HAVE to move up to open, but you do need to move your dog into Novice B for any future trial that has not closed yet. So, for day two of the current trial you stay in Novice A. For the trial "next weekend" that has also closed - you'll also stay in Novice A. For the trial in 4 weeks that hasn't closed yet, you'll need to send a note to the trial secretary and change into the B class. If you've titled out of novice B or the Novice preferred class there's nothing else you need to do (until you're ready to move up).

2) If you finish your title on the first day of a multi-day trial you do have the option of moving up to Open (remember there isn't Open A/B - just Open and Open Preferred). You do not have to immediately move up in AKC (some venues require move-ups after finishing titles). You should not feel bad about picking up bumper legs if that's what you want to do.

3) If you decide to move up for the next day's trial you MUST do so by 30 minutes prior to the start of classes the next day - some secretaries enforce a "by the end of the trial day" rule - but if you know that you want or plan to move up, don't wait until the last minute - make the trial secretary's life easier and fill out a move-up form (the trial secretary will have copies for you to fill out) and submit it (completely filled out) as soon as the class results are finalized. Remember to make the same move-up requests for other upcoming trials by contacting those trial secretaries. When you arrive on the next day, make sure that you're on the Open gate sheets, check in early in the event that if there's a problem you have time to fix it and then prepare yourself to have an awesome open run!

Part TWO of this very timely series will help you decide whether or not to move UP - and to expect  in Open!

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