Proposed Rules changes – TDAA 2010

This document summarizes the proposed rules changes (and changes to the TDAA By Laws at the end) that will appear on the upcoming member ballot. I’ve taken the liberty here to include my own annotations and observations about each. Mostly these are straight-forward and logical proposals. But you’ll find some of them to be quite controversial.

Proposals appearing in blue type were added to this document on September 3, 2009.

1.0 General Provisions

1.3 Dogs Eligible to Compete

Proposal: Change the upper jump height limit from 17” to 19”.

Alternative Proposal: Change the upper jump height limit from 17” to 18”.

A change in the upper jump height limit would also require changes to jump height definitions:

3.4.3 12″ jump height – Restricted to dogs measuring 15″ or less at the withers; or dogs with a jump height exemption measuring 18″/19″ or less.

3.4.4 16″ jump height – Restricted to dogs measuring 18″/19″ or less at the withers.

Any change would also require revision of the summary table at 3.4.6.


It is an excellent idea to raise the upper limit of the 16” jump height. 16” is very narrowly defined as dogs measuring from 16” to 17”. As a consequence participation at this jump height has been a very small.

The downside that some might consider is that small dogs tend to feel safer without a lot of big rambunctious dogs on the trial site. What we really should be considering, however, is making our rules intolerant of any dog that shows aggressive behavior towards other dogs.

1.3 Dogs Eligible to Compete

Proposal: Add this new paragraph: “All dogs must be TDAA registered to compete in TDAA trials.”


This proposal seeks to address an omission in early versions of our rule book.

Proposal: Add this new paragraph: “A dog may not compete under a judge who is a member of the same household.”


I personally don’t support this rules change. The TDAA is very small and we tend to rely on the basic honesty of the players. If we have to institute “cheaters” rules we are all diminished. Frankly, I would prefer that the TDAA sanction a judge for showing partiality to a family member… than penalize the families of the rest of the TDAA for the actions and behavior of a small minority.

OTOH, I’ve heard it said that the appearance or potential for impropriety is as severe and dreadful as the impropriety itself. Vote this with your heart.

1.4 TDAA Rules and Regulations v 2010

Proposal: Add language that makes this rule book, the “king” rule book. This rule book (version X.XX) supersedes all previous versions of TDAA rules. It is the sole source for TDAA rules except as noted in its text. Addendums to this rule book may be published from time to time at Check our web site!

[This requires a new section 1.4.]


This is an important change to our Rule Book. It allows us to “version” our Rule Books. It’s been handy having an Rule Book available through electronic distribution. But the problem with electronic versions is that earlier versions will always be out in the world keeping us all confused.

2.0 Titles

Proposal: Amend the existing paragraph “A dog moving up on the Fast Track will not be eligible for placement within the class that he received the qualifying score.” Add the following sentence: “A dog eligible for Fast Track competing in Games 1 may only move up to Games 2 whether or not he earned a score satisfying the qualifying requirements for Games 3.”


The purpose of this provision is to codify previously unwritten rules.

Proposal: A club may charge a reasonable fee for an application to fast track. The application pertains to that trial only; and the fee is considered compensation to the club for the extraordinary labor associated with managing running order for fast track dogs.


I have to agree. The fee should go to the club, and not to the TDAA.

Proposal: Include a clear statement of how fees are paid for Fast Track. 1) The fee should go to the club (and not to the TDAA); 2) The fee for Fast Track not a one time fee; inasmuch as a Fast Track requires extraordinary work by the trial secretary during the conduct of the even… the fee goes to the local club. 3) The exhibitor will be required to provide proof of equivalent level titling from another organization with the submission of a request for Fast Track. 4) A club is not required to provide Fast Track.


And… if you agree… vote yes.

Proposal: Create a new division for veteran dogs. [This proposal would have sweeping consequence within the TDAA Rules and Regulations.]


The TDAA already makes broad accommodations for veteran dogs, allowing them to work at a reduced jump height and allowing a provision for additional time on course. The key to the TDAA’s current approach is that the veteran dog is not sloughed off into a “second-class” status, but is allowed to stay in the championship program; and compete at the Petit Prix. Do we really want to change the veteran dog’s status? Note that voting YES on this proposal will increase costs to host clubs (another 12 placement ribbons).

Perhaps the real question is whether the veteran dog can be competitive with younger dogs; this is complicated by the current rule requiring wins at the Superior/GIII level in order to earn the TACh title. Maybe we really need to re-examine whether the TACh should require wins.

Proposal: Create a new “Super Veteran” division, for dogs 12 years of age or over.  Dogs in this division get to jump 2 heights below their measured height, plus an additional 4 seconds in addition the regular vet SCT.  These dogs would be scored separately from the rest of the field.  These dogs could get an equivalent TACh title, perhaps with the letter S (for Super Veteran) before it, like so: S-TACh. [This proposal would have sweeping consequence within the TDAA Rules and Regulations.]


I’m not too sure what I should think about this one. I retired my own boys at 12 years of age (the 2007 Petit Prix was their last competition ever). It strikes me that a lower jump height isn’t a complete accommodation at all… we should really be considering lowering the A-frame and (possibly) removing the teeter from the field.

I think I’ll hold my vote on this one close to my chest.

Clearly any change will require broad changes to our Rules and Regulations and possibly set us back to manual scorekeeping for awhile because the software doesn’t currently support this type of change.

2.1 Teacup Beginner Agile Dog (TBAD)

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “To earn the TBAD title the dog must earn three qualifying scores in standard courses.” Remove the phrase: “under two different judges.”

2.2 Teacup Intermediate Agile Dog (TIAD)

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “To earn the TIAD title the dog must earn three qualifying scores in standard courses.” Remove the phrase “under two different judges.”

2.3 Teacup Superior Agile Dog (TSAD)

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “To earn the TSAD title the dog must earn five qualifying scores in standard courses under three different judges. Remove the phrase “under three different judges.

2.4 Teacup Games I (TG1)

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “To earn the TG1 title the dog must earn three qualifying scores in at least two different games.” Remove the phrase “under two different judges.

2.5 Teacup Games II (TG2)

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “To earn the TG2 title the dog must earn three qualifying scores in at least three different games.” Remove the phrase “under two different judges.

2.6 Teacup Games III (TG3)

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “To earn the TG3 title the dog must earn five qualifying scores in at least five different games.” Remove the phrase “under three different judges.


Each of these rules removes the provision that a dog must earn an individual title under two or more judges. Frankly it has been a complete nuisance to require a second judge, especially on trial weekends where a dog gets four or six opportunities under the same judges for a title requiring only three qualifying scores. Either another exhibitor (who is also a judge) has to interrupt his day to step into the ring; or, we have to deny the title to someone who has earned it; or, we waive the requirement altogether.

It’s time for this foolishness to end.

2.7 Teacup Agile Dog Champion (TACh)

Proposal: Remove the provision to require three wins each in the Teacup Superior and Teacup Games III classes.


I have mixed feelings about this change. The initial vision was that the TDAA champion would be a true champion… meaning that he beats other dogs in order to win the championship. However, there’ve probably been inequities in the system. A dog competing at 4” or 16” often will earn a win with no competition… while dogs competing at 8” or 12” contend with a great deal of competition.

Vote with your heart. My thinking is that we probably should dispense with the requirements for a win. Competing against the standard seems to adequately and legitimately measure the quality of the dog without requiring the dog to win.

2.9 Teacup Master Agility (TAM)

Proposal: Revise the paragraph (revised phrase in braces) to read: To earn a TAM title the dog must earn ten (10) qualifying scores in the Superior class subsequent to the TSAD title. The dog can earn multiple TAM awards, titled TAM2, TAM3, and so on [for each ten qualifying scores]. This award will be given to teams as they work towards their TACh title.

2.10 Teacup Master Agility Games (TMAG)

Proposal: Revise the paragraph (revised phrase in braces) to read: To earn a TMAG title the dog must earn ten (10) qualifying scores in the Games III class subsequent to the TG3 title. The dog can earn multiple TMAG awards, titled TMAG2, TMAG3, and so on [for each ten qualifying scores].


Both the TAM and TMAG titles measure a dog’s success in either standard classes or in games classes. It is our desire to recognize excellence in either endeavor (while they might be struggling at the other!)

3.0 Conduct of Agility Test 3.2

3.2 Application for Sanctioned Tests

Proposal: Add this paragraph: “The Trial Chairperson or the Trial Secretary must be a TDAA member in good standing.”


We have previously not required that the Trial Chairperson or the Trial Secretary to be TDAA members. This proposal seeks to address that oversight.

3.3 Ring Dimensions and Conduct around the Ring

Proposal: Revise the following paragraph: “The area allocated to a Test should measure 4,000 square feet minimum with a maximum of 6,000 square feet. The area should have a suitable surface and be clearly defined.” … to 2,100 square feet minimum.


We’ve learned over time that it’s completely possible to conduct a trial in an area smaller than 4,000 ft sq. If we approve this language as written it probably will require us at some future date to be more specific about the dimensions of the ring; for example, specifying that one side of the ring be a minimum of 30’.

Proposal: Add to the final paragraph: “The warm-up area is reserved for dogs entered in the trial.”


Lately we’ve had some difficulty with people taking dogs that are not entered in a trial into the warm-up area (sometimes big dogs!). It looks like we need a rule specifically forbidding this practice.

3.4 FEO Runs

Proposal: Establish a clear rule that allows dogs to run FEO in classes lower than their level of play even when they have a dog competing in titling classes. This should be allowed only when their titling class is run first and the FEO classes subsequently (courses are often nested; and we don’t actually want them to practice elements of their titling class). An FEO run would obviously not be eligible for placement; though the exhibitors might like to be judged and scored.

Benefit: Aside from giving exhibitors more time in the ring with their dogs it will provide host clubs with additional income for the conduct of trials.

[This requires a new section 3.4; take out the discussion of FEO in existing 3.3 Ring Dimensions and Conduct around the Ring; Renumber existing 3.4 and everything higher.]


During 2009 we’ve allowed FEO runs by Board policy. The intention of this rules change is to codify the practice. Provisions for FEO give everyone an opportunity for additional practice and obstacle familiarization and raises additional income for the host club.

3.4.5 Guidelines for Jump Height Exemptions

Proposal: Establish a jump height exemption and reduced rate of travel for the handicapped handler;, likely could be the same as veterans accommodations (one height lower and a little more time on course)


This might be a pretty good idea. I know that NADAC and some of the NADAC clone organizations make accommodations for the handicapped handler. It would require that we establish guidelines for what handicapped means. There are some things that are obvious… like somebody is in a wheelchair. But we might want to consider bad knees and arthritis as qualifying handicaps as well.

3.5 Mulligans

Proposal: Provide an exhibitor with a single opportunity on trial day to declare Mulligans to rerun a standard course or game. At the end of a class the judge will call for “Mulligans” giving exhibitors a very narrow window to declare. The exhibitor should understand that the second score will be the final score for the purposes of placement and qualification; the first score shall be negated. Mulligans shall be available only to exhibitors who’ve entered in all classes for the trial.

Benefit: This will give exhibitors a great incentive to enter their dogs in all classes enhancing the potential income for a trial. For exhibitors it is a fun notion and unique in the agility world.

[This requires a new section 3.5. Renumber existing 3.5 and everything higher.]


I personally believe that the “Mulligans” run will be a lot of fun and will set the TDAA apart and distinct from other venues that take themselves too serious.

I’ve heard the argument that such a provision would be yet another opportunity for players in other venues to hold us in disdain… as not being very serious. But to tell you the truth what agility really should be about is the fun we have playing it on the weekends. And if we can’t make fun rules… then what’s the point?

There’s some potential for the Mulligans score to make the Trial Secretary’s job more of a headache. If we approach it in a rational manner, it really shouldn’t be hard to implement at all. For any reruns (Mulligans) the scorekeeper would simply over-write the dog’s previous score and retabulate the results. End of story.

3.5 Guidelines for the Trial Premium

Proposal: Remove all discussion from the rulebook; and replace with a notice that the requirements for the premium are detailed at; approved as policy, and then made available on the TDAA web site. This allows the Board of Directors to modify the requirements if needed without modifying the rules.


This proposal will actually allow us to simplify the guidelines for the trial premium without being constrained by the dictates of the Rules and Regulations. The BOD is now studying ways to simplify the trial application and guidelines for the premium. It would be good to be unshackled from the codified requirements..

3.6 Move Ups

Proposal: The decision to take move ups after receiving an entry and during conduct of the trial is strictly the province of the host group. The policy, method and any deadlines for move ups must be stated in the premium. If a club allows move ups within a trial day, it is to be understood that a dog may never move up within the same suite of classes. It is also to be understood that Move ups and Fast Track are two separate options. A club may allow Fast Track and not allow Move ups.


This proposal represents a codification of existing policy.

3.6 Course Design Criteria

Proposal: Revise the discussion of distances between obstacles to read: “The average distance between obstacles shall be 10 feet. In some cases, intervals as short as 8 feet are allowed (jump to tunnel, for example). On the approach to a contact obstacle, the weave poles, the tire, or technical challenge, the dog shall be allowed 12 to 14 feet.”


We’re working very hard to teach our judges to reserve enough distance between obstacles so that fast dogs have room to respond to the handler’s cues. In the beginning judges were a bit too literal with spacing between obstacles. It’s one thing to have only 8’ between obstacles when they are presented in a straight line. However when a dog has to turn or when he’s presented with a wrong course option or trap, then the handler needs more room to do his job. Changing our rules will help takes some of the pressure off of TDAA courses.

3.6 Course Design Criteria

Proposal: Remove from the TDAA Rules and Regulations… move to Judges’ Guidelines.


This is self explanatory. We want to take our course design guidelines and move them to the Judges’ Guidelines (a separate document), where they truly belong.

4.0 Equipment Specifications

Proposal Option A: [For all contact equipment] Allow Contact-A-Coat rubber granule surface or rubber surface if a club so desires. (This proposal affects 4.6 A-frame; 4.7 Dogwalk (and crossover); and 4.8 Teeter.

Proposal Option B: [For all contact equipment] Change the wording for equipment specifications to require a well textured surface that allows for good traction without causing the dog’s feet discomfort. (This proposal affects 4.6 A-frame; 4.7 Dogwalk (and crossover); and 4.8 Teeter.


I believe that our rules allow for the use of a rubber granule surface already. However, our rules are not specific about surfaces for contact obstacles at all. I would very much like to see wording that specifically prohibits surfaces that are too slick for a dog’s feet to get proper purchase; and equally prohibit surfaces that are sharp and scratchy and may injure a dog’s paws.

4.2.3 Tire

Proposal: Revise the specification to read: “The inner diameter of the tire may be no less than 16″ wide, and may be no greater than 24″ wide, with a preference to the smaller size of 16”.”


Self explanatory. The rule formerly said 15” wide. [By the way, most bicycle repair shops will give you a 16” tire for free if you ask them. It’s a standard size… and they just throw them away anyhow.]

4.5.1 Collapsed Tunnel

Proposal: Add (as the third bullet) “The barrel of the chute, the entrance, and the exit must be of uniform size. The step up/jump into the entrance to the barrel of the chute may not be more than 1”.”


This is a safety issue. You should vote YES for this proposal.

4.6 A-Frame

Proposal: Modify the second bullet to read: 30” to 36”; with a preference to the smaller dimension of 30” wide.


The purpose of this proposal is to address stability problems we’ve had with A-frames of smaller dimensions.

4.7 Dogwalk

Proposal: Modify the second bullet to read: 11” to 12”; with a preference to the smaller dimension of 11” wide.


I’m ambivalent about this proposal. For many years the USDAA allowed dogwalk planks as narrow as 9” (and all dogs did them!) Some believe, however, that even in the TDAA there are dogs a little broad in the beam who could use a wider and more stable surface.

4.7 Dogwalk and Crossover

Proposal: Restore the use of the Crossover to the discussion of specifications

• Ramps will measure one of 12′, 10′, or 8′. For a 12′ board the apex will be set in a range from 4′ to 4’6″ (96″ to 106″); for a 10′ board the apex will be set in a range from 3’4″ to 3’9″ (40″ to 45″); for an 8′ board the apex will be set in a range from 2’6″ to 3′ (32″ to 36″).

• 9″-12″ board width; with a preference to the smaller dimension.

• 36″ contacts

• On a crossover the center platform width must be in a range from 2′ by 2′ to 2’6″ by 2’6″.

• Cleats are optional. When used cleat spacing in the range 9″ to 1′ cleat to cleat. 1″ to 1-1/2″ wide by 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick.

Dependency Rules Change Wrong-course

A dog committing to the wrong decent ramp on the crossover with all four paws shall be deemed a wrong course.


The provisions for the Crossover were removed during the last rules change without any real mandate from members. I would personally like to see it restored as a piece of regulation equipment. The way the crossover is most often used is as a straight-over obstacle in lieu of the longer dogwalk. This is an asset to clubs that have a smaller area for competition.

People tend to be afraid of things they aren’t familiar with. I’ve personally never seen a dog refuse the crossover, or not understand that it’s a “Walk”.

4.8 Teeter

Proposal: Modify the second bullet to read: 11” to 12”; with a preference to the smaller dimension of 11” wide.

Proposal: Modify the discussion of the 3 lb weight to read: “A three-pound weight placed 12” from the up end of the teeter, must drop the teeter in less than three seconds but not so quickly as to create a safety issue for dogs.”


The intention of these proposals is to make the teeter a more stable and consistent obstacle in the TDAA. Handling Faults

The rule currently states: “The dog shall not be faulted for incidental bumping or excited jumping on the handler that has no benefit to the dog.”

Proposal: Revise the sentence to read: “The dog is faulted when the handler touches the dog with the single exception being that the dog shall not be faulted for incidental bumping or excited jumping on the handler that has no benefit to the dog.”

Proposal: Revise our rules to make it clear that petting, stroking or touching the dog with a soothing hand will not be faulted so long as this touching is not conducted in order to assist a dog with the performance of an obstacle (e.g. handler “soothes” the dog into the down contact of the dogwalk).


This is a controversial proposal. The rule literally seeks to allow a handler to put a gentling hand on his dog or even to pat or hug the dog without being faulted.

Purists will argue that no other venue allows such a thing [and the handler should be summarily taken out and shot]. If you really think about it though, almost never is the handler touching his dog of any benefit whatsoever, especially if you consider that both dog and handler are probably stopped when the handler is stroking or petting the dog.

Once again, it’s one of those things that might make us look not so “serious” to folks from other venues. But they are going to disrespect small dog people no matter what… just for having small dogs. Are we really going to take their “respect” as a measure of our own merit.

Vote with your heart on this one.

5.2.9 Elimination

Proposal: Currently the rules provide for a score of elimination for “use of food in the ring”. Revise our rules to explicitly allow a handler to have food in his pocket, so long as the food stays in pocket so long as the handler is in the ring with his dog.


Again, this is a controversial matter. Should a dog really receive a score of Elimination because the handler had food in his pocket? Other venues say yes. But truly, they take themselves way too serious.

5.3 Scoring and Faults

5.3.2 Standard Course Times

Proposal: Change the Superior Standard yards per second (yps) requirement for 12 and 16” dogs from 2.2 to 2.0. The current leap from 1.9 yps for 4 & 8” dogs to 2.2 yps for 12 & 16 creates a differential in the range of 8 or 9 seconds on an average Superior standard course.

[This will also require a change to the summary table in section 9.1 Standard and Games Course Time Rates.]


There is presently a considerable disparity between the rates of travel for 12” and 16” dogs at the Superior level. This proposal seeks to address that disparity. [Vote yes]

9.0 Judge’s Aids

9.1 Standard and Games Course Time Rates

Proposal: Remove stipulation for “Judge’s choice” for additional time for veteran dogs. Use the additional time currently shown in parenthesis in the table as a firm rule.


Veterans dogs should always get a time advantage in competition. And, it should not be a matter of the judge’s discretion.


SECTION 6.   Voting

Proposal: Restore section (e) stating: “Members in good standing may assign their voting rights by proxy to any member in good standing.    A proxy form shall be included with all notifications of meetings or special meetings. The properly completed proxy form must be received by the Secretary by the midnight hour of the day prior to the posted date of the meeting.”


Awhile back we had a “committee” revise the TDAA By Laws to allow us to conduct business in an electronic format. All of the old verbage required physical attendance at meetings. While this “committee” was at it, they removed the provisions for proxy voting from the By Laws. This seeks to restore the deleted section.

Actually the committed didn’t really do a very good job at editing out the provision for a proxy ballot. The current by-laws still mention and allow the proxy. What was actually removed was the requirement for the BOD to issue a copy of the proxy ballot with the election ballot. This needs to be restored. Vote yes.

23 Responses to “Proposed Rules changes – TDAA 2010”

  1. Maggie Says:

    Interesting discussion points Bud. I have to say I am disappointed to see some of these rules changes, agree with you on some, and am ecstatic to see others.

    I’d really hate to see TDAA become a bigger dog venue though… just wondering why you really see this as a good change. Is it even physically safe for the dogs on TDAA courses? I’ve seen some current 16″ dogs that struggle with the tight courses… can’t really imagine a bigger dog on them.

    • budhouston Says:

      You know Maggie, to tell you the truth I’d support going all the way up to 19″. To be sure the TDAA requires these dogs to be keener and for their handler’s to be sharper. My boy Bogie (who won 3 or 4 TDAA 16″ championships)… measured at about 16-1/2″. For the TDAA I was always gearing him down. Small dog people typically don’t even understand this skill.

      What makes it a good change is that it invites hundreds of new players into the TDAA who’ll be perfectly comfortable playing in the TDAA.


      • Maggie Says:

        Yes, bringing new people in is great and it does seem there is a recent trend to have courses a little more open and not so boxy, but still with challenges. There are some courses though that even my geared down 12″ dog could have landed across two jumps in the not-so-far-away past…

        The reality is.. it requires the handler to be sharper (absolutely) but the question really lies in how many are and how many are making sure what they are doing is physically safe for their dogs?

  2. Judy Casserberg Says:

    As you might expect, I am not very happy with the idea of larger dogs. There are plenty of venues for large dogs, but this is the only small dog venue. It is nice to say that behavior will be monitored but in reality people don’t like to make waves in the dog world about badly behaved or dangerous dogs. I am still considered by local dog people to be the ‘bad guy’ for forcing the local law enforcers to deal with the dog that killed mine. In much of today’s agility world, high drive is synonyms with out of control dogs. If we do plan to change the height, I would prefer 18″ to 19″. And I am also afraid that the larger dog people will increase in numbers that will eventually see those of us with small dogs be in the minority, equipment and courses modified to be more user friendly for the larger dogs and we will lose our venue entirely. I am not sure what the rational for larger dogs is other than encouraging increased registration for the upper height jumps. We are just getting people with small dogs to realize there is a place for them in agility. I’d rather see the numbers grow for small dogs than large.

  3. Maggie Says:

    Judy – you’ve got my concerns exactly right… soon the jumps will be too narrow, the tunnels will be too small, etc. etc. We will no longer be a small dog sport.

    There was a border collie this past weekend at our trial. It was a VERY small border collie, I’d say for certain it would fit in the 18 or 19″ category. It was not entered and was in the weave poles. It was causing quite a problem with a LOT of the small dogs. I was pushed to ask the person to remove the border collie. A short while later someone showed up to watch the trial with a golden (a very clearly laid back golden) and a person at the trial took it upon themselves to ask the visitor to remove the dog because “this was a small dog venue and the bigger dog was scaring the little dogs”. The golden was just standing there but I think this was exacerbated by the border collie incident. I can see this change actually turning AWAY small dog people. So the bigger dog people we bring are just going to off-set it, not increase revenue.

    • Judy Casserberg Says:

      I agree, Maggie. I see no reason to make this venue grow by adding larger dogs. We had 6 new dogs, two were older dogs who had been pulled out of agility class because of behavior of larger dogs. They were thrilled to be able to bring their dogs to a ‘safe’ venue and one where the equipment is geared to their 4″ jumper. There are still many, many small dog people who are discovering TDAA. There is still tons of growth in these sizes. Why chase them away to get the larger class grow.

    • budhouston Says:

      Making the 16″ division more healthy will also make the financial returns to our host clubs more healthy. This is an important consideration.

      A change in the 16″ cutoff, while increasing the number of eligible dogs, WILL AFFECT NO OTHER JUMP HEIGHT BUT 16″.

  4. Karissa Says:

    Okay, I can’t say that I’m in favor of allowing the bigger dogs into TDAA simply because I’m not so sure it’s “safe” for them. I already think that some of the 16″+ dogs have enough difficulty getting through some courses.

    But these comments that alude to big dogs not even being allowed at trials because the smaller dogs could be “scared” of them?? I find that completely ridiculous. When I show my 14″ dog in TDAA, you can bet that my 27″ dog is going to be along for the ride because I live alone and don’t have anyone at home to care for him. He might stick out like a sore thumb when I take him out for potty breaks, but I’ve never had anyone tell me he shouldn’t be there — and if they did, I’d pretty much tell them where they can stuff it….

    I found the majority of these proposed changes very interesting. Don’t say I agree with all of them, but they are interesting to ponder.

    • budhouston Says:


      A lot of small dog people won’t find it so ridiculous. To be sure, I was clearly not talking about your dog. Did you know that a big dog registered with the AKC can actually kill another dog in practice… but the AKC won’t revoke the dog’s right to play if it doesn’t actually happen at an AKC trial? It’s a dangerous world out there… the gentle nature of your own big dog notwithstanding.


      • Judy Casserberg Says:

        Thanks Bud. The dog that was killed at a practice was my Yorkie. The dog who killed her trials in AKC still, shows in AKC obedience and I understand now trials in CPE. I no longer trial in AKC except at our Yorkie Specialty. My Emma, who had never seen the killer dog, was noticeably upset at the only AKC trial outside our specialty that she had been at. The dog in question was in it’s crate about a yard from where she was being measured staring at her. Except for when she was running, she was in her enclosed crate for the rest of the trial and I had friends patrolling the area making sure that during runs he didn’t leave his crate. Another dog that was there when my dog was killed is still upset when she sees a dog of the killer dogs breed. You bet some of us are very careful and yes we know that there are nasty little dogs too but if I run into one of those, I still have a chance of bringing home a live dog at the end of the trial.

  5. Karissa Says:

    I do have to wonder, though — Is it the DOG who has a problem with the big(ger) dogs, or is it the OWNER? If the owner is projecting their negative feelings about a particular dog or dogs, their own dog is likely to react in a negative manner……

    This is not to say that you don’t have REASON to have these feelings — it’s perfectly understandable that you do. But realize that the reason your current dog has these reactions is likely because of the feelings you project, not a born hatred or fear for large dogs.

    • budhouston Says:

      I can buy the proposition that the owner might be the problem. I understand your discussion of “projecting”… but it even goes beyond that. Many dog owners are “without clue” as to the temperament of their own dogs and don’t properly engage in study and training that will draw the dog out of dangerous predatory conduct.

  6. Nora Says:

    I’m not trying to take away from anyone’s pain, but I’m guessing that a dog that kills another dog at CLASS is not going to be barred from competition in ANY venue–why specifically call out AKC in this? It’s impossible for any organization to ban a dog for an incident when that incident didn’t happen at one of their competitions.

    >But they are going to disrespect small dog people no matter what… just >for having small dogs. Are we really going to take their “respect” as a >measure of our own merit.

    That’s a nice “us and them” attitude to have in your rule proposals. I don’t know a single person who disrespects “small dog people”–and if you do, perhaps you should, oh, I dunno–IGNORE THEM?

    That said, if you change your cutoff to 18″ or 19″, you will no longer be a small dog venue (technically, IMO, you currently aren’t–my 16.5-inch dogs are eligible for TDAA right now, but they are considered LARGE dogs in USDAA, and they’re on the biggish side for AKC competition at 16 inches). I think you’d be watering down your brand.

    • budhouston Says:

      Nora, I expect that if the TDAA were notified by affidavit that a dog has a history of dangerous aggression we would have no problem denying them access to this venue. Why would we wait for the dog to hurt another dog while playing with us? So you see, it’s not impossible at all.

      And, I don’t have an “us vs them” attitude. By the way… have you ever noticed how animal planet during the “National Championships” (as if) will cut away to a commercial while the small dogs play? But they always manage to give proper air time to the “real dogs”.

      As to your last paragraph… yes, that’s the question that will be on the ballot. IMHO the 16″ division is watered down already by being so narrowly defined. Increasing the cut-off will affect no other jump height but the 16″ division. And they’ll have to play under the aegis of TDAA rules and course design philosophy.


  7. Nora Says:

    Obviously I don’t know what exactly was done in the aftermath, but unless there is an actual police report with charges filed, how is any organization going to be able to gauge what happened if it didn’t happen (and was reported) under their auspices? Say I didn’t like someone–could I send a letter, notarized, signed by friends in collusion with me, that said “Dog A killed my dog in the front yard” and you would ban Dog A?

    BTW, I am surprised the dog in question was not euthanized. There are plenty of incidents of dogs that kill other dogs or cats being put down.

  8. Judy Casserberg Says:

    There was a police report but different states and different communities have different laws. In MN the law is that any dog that kills another domestic animal is considered ‘dangerous’ by law and a judge can order any number of things – if it gets to a judge – and euthanizing is one option, as is the dog not being allowed off the owners premise except wearing a muzzle. However, if the dog’s owner pays for a replacement animal, the case will never reach a judge. The dog’s owner sent us $100 which we returned with a letter formed by our lawyer that gave the cost of a new puppy from our breeder and a date that the money had to be paid by. The dog owner did pay us that amount an the last day. The owner chose not to put the dog down and has used him in her breeding program since.

    And I have someone in our agility class who was made the comment about small dogs and agility that she doesn’t see why if a dog can’t run a ‘real’ venue why bother to have them in agility. I have had people taking down their easy ups at the end of a trial as my dog has run and I have set my own bars for a run because the trial is over to most people and they are ready to go home.

  9. Chris MOsley Says:

    Could we limit please the discussion to TDAA rules changes and take the aggression issue (the who is to blame part–I realize a proposal has been made to kep big dogs off the warm up equipmment, but this has gone farther afield!) off this thread? Judy I don’t want to diminish your issues, but there is a LOT to be discussed here and review of the MN laws on dangerous dogs……well, let’s get back to MULLIGANS!!

    • budhouston Says:

      Hey Chris,

      Note that this is not an official venue for discussion. It’s my blog. I don’t mind if the conversation drifts. People will say what they will, and frankly give background that that mightn’t necessarily stay completely on track, but with certainly give us all background as to the writer’s state of mind.

  10. Barb Says:

    I have had people taking down their easy ups at the end of a trial as my dog has run and I have set my own bars for a run because the trial is over to most people and they are ready to go home.>>>

    Sometimes, the trials (at least around here) run small to tall, so the “big” dogs end up going last. Same thing happens. It’s nothing personal to whatever height is running, it’s just one of those things that happens. People are done – they go home.

    As for the person who talks about ‘real’ venues, ignore them. They are not worth your energy. Enjoy what you do and don’t worry about what everyone thinks.

  11. Maggie Says:

    I’ll go back to mulligans!!! Can we get the proposed rule cleared up some more? 🙂 What does narrow time window mean? Do they get placements or just Q/NQ? Does the second score supercede the first?

    • budhouston Says:

      Narrow window of opportunity means that the judge will call for “Mulligans”. It’s the exhibitor’s one chance to sign on.

      The second score supersedes the first. The second score will be the score… and so is eligible for placement.

  12. Pam Says:

    Comment on the Veterans proposals. My dog is 12 years old this year, and I think this will be her last Petit Prix. We started doing TDAA when she was 10, so she’s only run as a Veteran. Unfortunately, though, she hasn’t been given any jump height advantage because she’s a dachshund and 4″ is the lowest we go. I have appreciated having the 4 second time advantage at least, but have thought she should have been given the extra time in games as well, even though she hasn’t needed them the past 2 years. I have been glad that she was able to be scored with the other 4 inch dogs so she could compete at the Petit Prix. So I don’t think I’d want to have a separate Veterans class. I’m not sure that would be any advantage because she’d still be running against younger dogs (7 years old or so). It’s a big difference between 7 years and 12 years. If anything, maybe it would be better to just add more time to the run after a certain age, such as 2-4 more seconds for 10 years and older. A lower A frame would also help for 10 years and over. Maybe dogs that aren’t given a change in jump heights, such as dachshunds, should be given more time than dogs that do get to do lower jumps.

    • budhouston Says:

      I think you pretty much understand the essence of our decision to give “exemptions” to dogs, rather than putting them in a separate class.

      I’d really like to see us “codify” the practice of giving exempt dogs additional times in the games. I’m already working with the concept when I review courses and games for the TDAA.


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