Archive for September, 2009

The Blind Approach and Other Foibles

September 10, 2009

A “blind approach” means that the dog has no natural path in a transition to the next obstacle, and so it must be shaped by the handler. Here’s an example:

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The AKC Changing Course

Note that the AKC has disallowed pipe tunnel to A-frame transitions. The real problem is that most people don’t know how to do it… and it often creates an unsafe performance, or at least something that sucks the confidence out of a dog.

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Note that the transition from pipe tunnel to A-frame is a “Blind” or “Managed” approach. I could show about anyone how to do it safely with their dogs. But, the AKC is so right. We are not in the age of the great handler.

A Riddle with Teacup Spacing

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I would tend to take a Post & Tandem approach to jump #3, with a Tandem turn on the landing side of #3 only after the wrong course  line into the dummy pipe tunnel has evaporated. I’m going to save up a Back Cross at jump #7 to take advantage of the turn tightening attribute of the Back Cross to help solve the transition to the dogwalk.

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Clearly the interesting moment in this sequence is the exit from the pipe tunnel at #7 tucking the dog neatly past jump #6 for an approach to the weave poles at #8.

I have about five more sequences based on this set of obstacles. But I have run out of time for today (I’m sorry! I went fishing.) You’ll have to use your imagination.

Angie and Skeeter

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at www.dogagility.org/store.

Just Sayin’

September 7, 2009

Okay, I’ve been outside doing major kinds of projects for like the past three days. I gotta tell you something. I have so much stuff on my to do list that whatever I do, I manage to feel guilty about what I’m not doing. That’s a cold corner to be in, if you know what I mean.

Anyhow, I cleaned up an area down by the lower cabin that was apparently a favorite dumping ground some 40 years ago or so. I moved a load of red bricks. It was a funny thing that reminded me of an ice berg. There was a little stack under a tree… and I started pulling them up and loading them on the John Deere trailer. But you know, I just kept going down and down, and there were more and more bricks. I also discovered another ice berg of river worn paving stones. This was a big load too. And I put it to work in Marsha’s lily bed.

Hauling stones and bricks is no work for children. Though I’d submit it’s no work for old men either. Mostly I reckon I spent three days mining ancient forest compost though. The previous owner had stacked lots of derelict lumber many decades ago. A lot of this simply was falling apart and got raked up in a couple hundred pounds of compost which wound up in my garden. However, a good deal of the wood got burned in the fire pit. It burned hot all three days.

I also dug up a lot of scrap iron, including this rather cool round saw blade that measures about 3′ across. But that makes sense… don’t you think? You have an old mill saw you don’t know quite what to do with… so you toss it outside, under a tree, on a pile of lumber. Makes sense to me.

Back to Agility

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Okay, I made this for my own amusement. I expect I’ll set it up in the building tomorrow. I have plenty of teaching duties coming up in the next couple weeks. So I wanted to move everything around so we don’t have that déjà vu feeling about the set of equipment on the floor.

I remind myself this evening that it’s cool and fun and settles the mind just to draw an agility course for the fun of it. Agility courses with the dogwalk running through the center of the course tend to suck considerably. I’ve seen very few judges pull it off with much success at all. The best thing about them is that the down contact isn’t jammed up against the ring rope so that there’s six guys there co-judging the contact with you (from the great vantage-point of their lawn chairs.) Anyhow, I didn’t begin the design with a mind to jam the dogwalk in the middle of the course, that’s just where it wound up.

Mostly I was trying in this course to trap the handler on what might feel like the “wrong side” of his dog. It’s not such a terrible riddle really, because I have at least a couple students who adore working the wrong side. But for the rest of them (the sane ones)… this should be an interesting ride.

I’m also always keen to provide ample real estate between the obstacles. This is always a trick—or an art form—in a space constituting about 1/2 what you’d find in the big dog venues.

I’ll let you know how it runs!

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Cincinnati Subway?

http://www.cincinnati-transit.net/subway.html

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at www.dogagility.org/store.

Team West Virginia Makes a Run

September 3, 2009

Tonight we played Helter Skelter. On the face of things this looks like a perfectly simple game; though in the running of the game it will expose interesting challenges.

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The dog will start and finish on the table; running the white numbered sequence first, and then turning back to run the black numbered sequence. The game will be scored time, plus faults.

Teaching Points

Although it was a “fun run” night, I’m really not capable of containing myself in routine teaching points.

You’ll note that the course has six pipe tunnels. That’s just enough to catch out the handler who insists on turning away from the entry (towards the exit) before the dog actually gets in. So we have refusals, wrong-courses, all kinds of stuff happening on course.

Teaching the handler his job for a pipe tunnel is really a statement of the obvious. The handler should keep working to the entry until the dog gets in. And note that to the dog’s point-of-view we point more surely with our toes than we’ll ever point with our hands.

The Helter-Skelter course is a classic country-driving/ city -driving kind of exercise. On the outer loop the handler should run and push the dog’s lines; in the inner loops the handler should gear the dog down for efficient turning. I found an interesting thing as this was run… the turns that a handler was most likely to be in the wrong gear were the white #7 to #8 and the black #5 to #6. These are modest 30° turns.

I worked with one of my students on a strategy to tighten the turn from white #11 to #12… in the pinwheel. His dog is this very nice moving Sheltie with a very obstacle focused work ethic. Over time we’ve found that this dog is hard to turn. He doesn’t respond well to a static Post; and a precue with the handler on the landing side of the jump #11 might as well have just been a simple Post and shoulder roll for the weak influence on the dog. What we actually played with was giving the precue with the handler on the approach to the jump; it’s just a simple RFP with a counter-arm instruction intended to gather the dog into handler focus. I think it worked. My student will have to practice the movement so that he can own it. He tends to do his homework.

For the sake of our youngest player this evening, I’m reminded that most dogs miss the down contact for racing their handler. Her little slip of a Yorkie managed to do the dogwalk several times without bothering to touch anything with yellow paint on the dismount. I had her practicing running ahead of her dog over the dogwalk… coming to a stop down at the bottom of the yellow. Her little boy trotted right down through the yellow.

Oh… and I should mention the weave poles. I know we get a lot of ugly approaches in competition. But I am perfectly content with testing a dog in a straight ahead attack in a speed building sequence. For dogs whose brains explode approaching the weave poles at a full run, I had the handler practice a little gathering (& regrouping) RFP on the approach. It helps the dog check his stride and get his brain together for the entry.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at www.dogagility.org/store. This is new! You should buy it! I need a new pair of tennies and a haircut.

Proposed Rules changes – TDAA 2010

September 2, 2009

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.

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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 http://www.k9tdaa.com. Check our web site!

[This requires a new section 1.4.]

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.]

DISCUSSION

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.]

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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].

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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.]

DISCUSSION

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)

DISCUSSION

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.]

DISCUSSION

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 http://www.k9tdaa.com; 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.

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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”.”

DISCUSSION

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”.”

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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

5.2.2.4 Wrong-course

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

DISCUSSION

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.”

DISCUSSION

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

5.2.2.5 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).

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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.]

DISCUSSION

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.

DISCUSSION

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

TDAA ByLaws

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.”

DISCUSSION

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.