Thursday, December 3, 2009

Agility Venues & Oregon's Civil War Game 2009

In tonight's post I wanted to talk a bit about the different agility venues. There are quite a few common ones in the area: Canine Performance Events (CPE), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA), Australian Shepherd Club of American (ASCA), American Kennel Club (AKC), and North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC). I'll begin by talking a bit about each venue.

CPE: The following is the CPE philosophy: "For the dog and handler to have fun while successfully competing for performance titles as a cohesive unit, achieved through positive training and teamwork." Participants can run at one of four levels: Regular, Veteran, Enthusiast, or Specialist. Regular is as it states - regular. Veteran entrants run at 4" less than their measured "P" card height and usually are given extra time. Enthusiasts run at 4" less than their "P" card height, too; and Specialists run at 8" less. CPE also has a junior handler program for handlers under 18. There are 6 levels in CPE - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and C. The championship awarded is called a C-ATCH. No training is allowed in the ring in CPE trials.

The following types of events are included in CPE: Standard, Colors, Wildcard, Jackpot, Snooker, Fullhouse, and Jumpers.
  • Standard includes all obstacles, except weaves in level 1. 
  • Colors is a game course whereby two nested, or overlapping, courses are set up in the same ring. The handler chooses the color s/he wants to run and is not required to inform the judge. An off course and automatic NQ is taking any obstacle not of the color selected. 
  • Wildcard is a game course also, but pattered after a standard course. There are three sets of obstacles designated as wildcards, though. The handler must complete a certain number of wildcards of varying point schemes based upon competition level. For instance, a single jump and a tire might be set up. The single would be worth one point and the tire worth two. Other included wildcards could be the a-frame and a tunnel, and the weaves or a jump. At the lower levels, handlers must successfully complete two one-point wildcards and one two-point wildcard. 
  • Jackpot is run as a two-part course. The first part consists of the handler and dog working the course, attempting to accumulate at least the minimum required points for their level, in the stated amount of time. The end of the accumulation time is signified by the timekeeper’s whistle. (See course variations at end of Jackpot rules for different types of gambles) In a traditional Jackpot, the handler and dog then proceed to work through a series of gamble obstacles within a time set by the judge. The handler must stay out of a designated area, while the dog works within this area, with commands from the handler. The obstacles must be executed in the correct order, without faults, and cross the finish line (may be table), to earn the gamble points. The required points (including gamble points) must be within the total game time, in order to qualify.
  • Snooker is an interesting game whereby the handler must complete 3 out of the included 4 "red" obstacles on the course (always jumps), each followed by a "color" obstacle. Sometimes two or even three sequential obstacles count as a color. So, a successfully completed Snooker is red, color, red, color, red, color. That completes the opening sequence. Then, the handler must be in a position to begin the numeric course with #2 and complete as much as possible up to #7. If s/he accumulated enough points, this constitutes a qualifying run. 
  • Jumpers is pretty much as the name implies. It is a course almost completely jumps, usually with either a couple of tunnels or a set of weave poles thrown in. 
In level one, a handler must qualify in two standard runs and one of each of the games courses. Doing so accomplishes the Level 1 title, known as CL1. With each level, the number of qualifying standard runs is double the level (E.g. 2 = 4, 3 = 6, and so on), while qualifying in each of the games courses the same number as the level.

Also to note, the highest jump height in CPE is 24".

USDAA: The United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) is "the world's largest independent authority for the sport of dog agility, with more than 25,000 registered competitors and more than 200 different breeds of dogs, including mix breeds. USDAA represents more than 100 affiliated groups conducting more than 400 days of events each year throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and Japan.

Organized in 1986 to introduce and "Promote International Standards for Dog AgilitySM" patterned after the British standards for the sport, USDAA has evolved into an international organization with the most comprehensive and diverse certification program for dog agility anywhere in the world" ( 

Participants can run in USDAA sanctioned trials in the following classifications: Championship ("for those interested in competition under standards congruent with international rules for competition in dog agility"), Performance ("for those interested in competition without the more rigorous physical demands of the sport"), or as a Junior Handler ("for school-age children and their pets, with emphasis on team camaraderie and learning the basics in responsible pet ownership"). In the Performance classification, jump heights are reduced by 4" for each dog. Therefore, as a Great Dane, Vegas would have jumped 26" in USDAA, but under Performance classification, she would just 22". In addition, the height, and thus the steep incline, of the a-frame is reduced by 9" (to 5'6" from 6'3"); no spread or hurdle jumps are used; and timing is extended by 3 seconds. I won't get into additional details of the Junior Handler program, but they are available on the USDAA website at:

USDAA has standard classes as well as the following games: Gamblers, Jumpers, Snooker, and Relay. 
  • Standard classes include all obstacles including 3 contact obstacles (teeter, a-frame, dog walk) and two types of tunnels (open or chute). Scoring methods may vary and are detailed on the organization's website. 
  • Gamblers is a games course similar to CPE's Jackpot, with the goal of accumulating as many points as possible. The Gamble is typically a short sequence set up behind a line the handler cannot cross. There are slight variations for non-traditional Gamble courses, but this is the most common and the judge may also set aside a set period of time to complete a challenge, too. 
  • Jumpers in USDAA is a course comprised primarily of jumps but will include tunnels and, at times, weave poles. Scoring criteria may be based upon standard course time (SCT) or time-plus-faults and is at the discretion of the judge. 
  • Snooker is a bit different with USDAA than in CPE. he snooker class consists of an opening sequence immediately followed by a closing sequence, both of which must be performed in the overall performance time allotted by the judge. "The opening sequence is "Red-Color-Red-Color-Red-Color, and so on until all "Red" obstacles and their following "Color" obstacle have been performed; however, if a "Red" is faulted while performing the sequence, the "Color" opportunity immediately following that "Red" is lost. It is frequently said that you must perform a "Red" successfully to earn the right to perform a "Color" for additional points. No points are earned for faulted obstacles. Once all "Reds" have been performed (including the "Color" of handler's choice following each "Red" that is successfully performed, the "Closing Sequence" begins. The closing sequence is "Yellow-Green-Brown-Blue-Pink-Black (i.e., the "Colors other than Red" in increasing point value as defined). The round is over when the course time allotment expires, when a fault occurs in the closing sequence, an improper sequence of obstacles is performed, or the course has been completed. A competitor's score is the number of points earned during their round."
  • Relay is a team class whereby dog/handler teams complete all or part of a course and pass a baton between them. USDAA says 12" and 16" dogs should work together as a team and 22" and 26". Most of the time, the purpose is speed; therefore, most times time-plus-faults is the method for scoring. 
In USDAA, there are two primary types of titles - one for the games courses and one for standard. They are called Versatility and Standard. For standard, at each level, a handler/dog team must achieve three qualifying runs for Starters and Advanced and 5 for Master. To earn the Versatility title, you must have the Standard title from the corresponding level plus 1 qualifying score in each game for Starters and Advanced. For the Masters Versatility title, handlers must have 3 qualifying scores from standard (not the 5 it takes to achieve the standard title), and 1 qualifying score for each game. In addition, Versatility titles require scores under three different judges; standard under two. 

(More To Be Continued....)

2009 Civil War Game - Oregon State University (OSU) v. University of Oregon (U of O) - 12/3/2009

This is one of those occasions I was glad I had agility league. My boys were at home watching the game on with a couple of friends and probably doing more yelling than anything else. They tend to get more amped up than the crazy Shelties seen on course in agility when it comes to football. To say they're fanatics is putting it mildly. So off to agility league I go. Surprisingly, I didn't hear much from the boys. I finally checked in around 8:30 or so and got a text back telling me the score (which I don't recall now). A little later I checked my phone again and I had missed a call from them. I attempted to call back and ended up accepting their incoming call. I do not remember exactly what Kane said, but this is a Civil War game that I will never forget. The gist of his problem was this: the computer kicked them offline with a minute-twenty to go, the Ducks had the ball, and were at some down or another. Oh my goodness, a crisis!! Laughing my butt off, telling those around me what was going on as they knew I was calling home and could get the score/status of the game, I looked up and gave him the password to log the computer back in. In all of the hubbub of our daily lives trying to get homework and dinner done plus getting ready for agility and getting them set up to watch the game, I had forgotten all about the internet protective program I have installed - K9 Protection (Go figure!). Yeah, so I have it set up to not allow internet between 9pm and 7am. So 9 o'clock rolled around and despite the intense urgency of the game, K9 sent the game packing. Fortunately they were back online in moments, but the strain probably aged their poor little souls. =) And it was a Civil War game I'll never forget.

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