Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Announcement!!


It's Official, and we are more than excited for this awesome opportunity!

Terry Simon's will be coming here to Lethbridge!

Terry & Kim Simons' Flying Dog Agility is a private dog training facility in Southern California. Located on a half acre in the San Fernando Valley, FDA offers private and semi-private lessons to dog agility enthusiasts at all levels. FDA presents seminars on competitive agility at various locations throughout the West, Canada and Hawaii. Owners Terry and Kim Simons have been competing in agility since 1994 and are internationally recognized in the sport.

Mark Your Calendars February 7 & 8, 2009
Working spots are limited, more info. to come!

Here is a small taste of what will be offered:

Sat AM Is intro to handling
Sat PM Advance/Masters Handling

Course Analysis Seminar for all on Saturday evening.

Sun AM - Beginning distance
Sun PM - more Masters Handling

email: sarah.novak[@] if you can't wait for more info and want to know more :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

AAC Changes for the New Year

Everyone needs to take notice of the upcoming changes to the AAC program for the new year. I have bolded the most important info.

This is copied from the AAC Bark list on yahoo.

AAC Board Meeting Highlights
November 14 - 16, 2008

More Challenge
The Board is excited to introduce to the AAC mix a new game that recognizes competitors' calls for increased variety and challenge in course design, more emphasis on "on-the-day" competition and a serious nod to the sorts of handling technicalities seen in international competition.

The class, to be called the AAC Challenge, will be open to dogs competing at the Masters level in Standard classes. Required equipment will be the same as in Standard courses with the possible addition of the table and/or broad jump, but course design will emphasize more technical handling challenges than would be seen in a Standard or Steeplechase class. Judges, competitors and course approvers will be consulted in the process of establishing design criteria in the coming months.

To add an element of strategic, on-the-day competitiveness, for the purposes of qualifying the standard course time will be determined after each height class runs by multiplying the fastest clean-run time achieved in that height class by 1.2. The Masters Challenge Dog of Canada title will be awarded to dogs earning ten Challenge Qs under at least two different judges. Additionally, Challenge Qs will count toward the games Q totals required for the post-ATChC titles.

More Options
Effective January 1, 2009, Team Relay will be moved out of the SGDC, AGDC and ATChC requirements and become a title stream unto itself. The Masters Team Relay Dog of Canada will require two Starters, three Advanced and four Masters Team Relay Qs. Masters Team Relay Qs earned prior to or after January 1 will continue to count toward the MTRDC title and the games requirements of the post-ATChC titles.

With the removal of Team, the requirements for the SGDC, AGDC, Masters Games and ATChC titles have been adjusted as follows:

SGDC will require two Qs earned under two different judges in each of Starters Jumpers, Gamblers and Snooker. Moving to Advanced in a given game will require two Starters Qs in that game earned under two different judges.

AGDC will require three Qs under at least two different judges in each of Advanced Jumpers, Gamblers and Snooker. Moving to Masters in a given game will require three Advanced Qs in that game earned under at least two different judges.

Each Masters game title (MJDC, MGDC, MSDC) will require four Masters Qs in that game earned under at least two different judges.

ATChC will require four Masters Qs earned under at least two different judges in each of Jumpers, Gamblers and Snooker plus three Masters Standard Qs earned under at least two different judges

Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards of Merit, along with the Lifetime Achievement Award, will stay the same in terms of the number of standard and games Qs required. AAC Challenge class Qs will count toward the games tally for each of these awards.

These new titles come into effect as of January 1, 2009, and will be awarded retroactively to dogs that have met the requirements. (This, of course, will take some time - please be patient.)

Comprehensive details outlining grandfathering during the transition period will be released within the next few days but, in general, no Qs earned to date will be "lost." Dogs will not have to go back a level to pick up Qs in order to be eligible for the SGDC and AGDC titles but will rather be considered to have met the requirements in a specific game if they are eligible to move up in that game as of January 1, 2009. Details are being finalized and documented. Here, too, please be patient and all will become clear(er) very soon.

More Post-ATChC Titles
Earlier this year, the AAC Think Tank came up with a number of recommendations for post-ATChC titles that recognize expertise in single events and well as versatility across the range of skills tested in AAC classes. These include "Expert" awards for each game and "Versatility" awards recognizing a combination of skills.

For each Masters class (Standard, Jumpers, Snooker, Gamblers, Team Relay):

Expert "class" Bronze 10 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges
ExSt Bronze, ExJ Bronze, ExSn Bronze, ExG Bronze, ExT Bronze

Expert "class" Silver 25 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges
ExSt Silver, ExJ Silver, ExSn Silver, ExG Silver, ExT Silver

Expert "class" Gold 50 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges
ExSt Gold, ExJ Gold, ExSn Gold, ExG Gold, ExT Gold

Expert Steeplechase Bronze 25 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges ExSc Bronze
Expert Steeplechase Silver 50 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges ExSc Silver
Expert Steeplechase Gold 100 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges ExSc Gold

AAC Challenge
Expert Challenge Bronze 25 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges ExC Bronze
Expert Challenge Silver 50 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges ExC Silver
Expert Challenge Gold 100 Qualifying Scores under at least two different judges ExC Gold

Versatility Bronze Award Any 3 Bronze Expert Titles VBA
Versatility Silver Award Any 4 Silver Expert Titles VSA
Versatility Gold Award Any 5 Gold Expert Titles VGA
Versatility Lifetime Award Any 6 Gold Expert Titles VLA

Losing Letters
Effective January 1, 2009, Specials and Veterans titles will no longer carry the "S" and "V" designations. An ATChC is an ATChC is an ATChC, and the same goes for all of the other titles. This change recognizes the fact that, in many cases, titles are earned with qualifying scores accumulated in a mix of Regular, Specials and Veterans classes.

Even More Options
Handlers running a dog in Specials will have the option to move into Regular classes once during the dog's career. Such a switch will require the handler to notify the AAC via the appropriate Regional Director (a form will be developed and available on the web site), but will not require justification or approval. A switch from Specials to Regular cannot be made mid-trial.

Junior Handlers
The Junior Handlers program will be expanded to allow juniors to run in and earn qualifying scores in all classes, including games. As is currently the case, juniors will have veteran times and may run at a height lower than that at which the dog normally competes, and can accumulate their qualifying scores with different dogs. To earn JH titles, juniors must enter under their JH ID number as opposed to that of the dog they are running. Juniors running for JH Qs at a given trial may not also run for "dog Qs" at the same trial, and no dog will be permitted to run the same course twice. (That is, a dog cannot run in a class under his dog ID number with a non-junior handler and also run the same class with a junior handler showing under a JH number.)

Trial Hosting Issues
To update the rule book to reflect common practice, a number of changes to the trial hosting section will be made. These include allowing for the acceptance of entries after a trial's closing date if the trial has not filled, allowing for electronically posted confirmations provided each competitor is sent an e-mail notifying them of when confirmation information has been posted and where it can be found, and removing the requirement that all dogs must be checked in. Competitors must have their dog ID cards with them, but do not necessarily have to be checked in if (a) the card is complete (i.e., a final measurement has been obtained) and (b) the competitor has previously competed at a trial hosted by the same club. Judges and/or clubs may ask to see ID cards at their discretion. Competitors are encouraged check their confirmations to ensure that all of their information (and in particular their dog ID number) has been entered correctly.

Also, although the AAC does not specify restrictions on training equipment allowable at trial sites, competitors are reminded that host clubs are free to impose on-site bans on such things as choke or pinch collars, shock or bark collars, and so on.

Clubs and judges will now be responsible for on-site verification of course times so that errors can be caught during the trial rather than weeks later when courses are sent back to course approvers. A standardized form will be developed to make this process as straightforward as possible.

Non-sanctioned Events at Sanctioned Trials
Host clubs and competitors are reminded of an existing rule that prevents the running of non-sanctioned events at AAC-sanctioned trials unless a number of conditions are met, namely that no food, toys or corrections are allowed in the ring for dogs also entered in the sanctioned part of the trial, that dogs entered in the non-sanctioned classes are sound and more than 18 months of age (i.e., otherwise eligible to compete), that non-sanctioned classes are held either before the first or after the last sanctioned event of the trial, and that if non-sanctioned classes (e.g., a fun run or ring time) are held before the first sanctioned event of the trial, course maps for sanctioned events are not posted or distributed until after the non-sanctioned event. Clubs that do not comply with these requirements risk jeopardizing any and all Qs earned at the trial.

Rules of Play and Equipment Issues

Chute: The fabric portion of the chute/collapsed tunnel will be shortened from 12 to 8 feet as measured from the point of attachment to the opening to maintain the closed-tunnel challenge while lessening the likelihood of dogs getting caught or tangled. This change will be acceptable starting in January 2009 and mandatory as of July 1, 2009. Additionally, as of 2009, the chute will no longer be used in Regionals or Nationals courses.

Contact obstacles: Starting in January 2009, host clubs will have the option to use contact obstacles coated in a specific rubberized compound, details of which will be released shortly. Clubs using contact obstacles with this rubberized coating must inform competitors that they are doing so in their premium lists. Feedback from competitors, clubs and judges will be sought to determine the effectiveness of this coating in the improvement of footing and safety. All other elements of these obstacles will remain the same, including slats as specified in the rule book.

Weave poles: The Board gave careful consideration to the recommendations of the Standing Rules Committee concerning weave poles and determined that more information ought to be sought prior to making a decision about increasing the distance between poles; however, it was decided that, effective January 1, 2009, poles spaced at less than 20" apart on centre will not be acceptable for use in AAC-sanctioned trials. Similarly, stick-in-the- ground poles will not longer be permitted.

As of January 1, 2009, weave poles will no longer be permitted in Masters Jumpers courses.

Also, as of July 1, 2009, striping on weave poles must be painted rather than taped to lessen the chance of injury as dogs push through the poles.

Gamble times: The time allowed for the closing sequence in gamblers will be two seconds longer for mini dogs than for open dogs. This change makes an optional time difference mandatory.

Gamble challenges: Course approvers will now have a set of guidelines governing the number and mix of challenges allowable in closing gambles.

All bylaw changes must be voted on by the membership. As part of a significant updating of the Association' s bylaws, the Board made a number of recommendations for the consideration of members. These include:

More Representation: To more closely approximate the proportion of AAC members in the seven Regions, the Board will recommend to members that Ontario be divided into three geographical Regions defined by postal code and that British Columbia be divided into two Regions (mainland/Yukon and Vancouver Island). Each of these new Regions would be represented by a Regional Director, adding two Ontario Directors (for a total of three) and one BC Director (for a total of two) to the Board. Each of these new Regions would then have the option of hosting a Regional Championship limited to competitors residing in the Region.

Fewer Executive Positions: In light of the addition of three Regional Directors and the fact that many of the duties traditionally handled by Executive Directors have been assumed by staff, the Board will also recommend the amalgamation of the positions of Treasurer and Recording/Correspon ding Secretary, thereby reducing the size of the Executive by one position.

Staggered Elections: To enhance continuity and ease the transition between outgoing and incoming Board members, the Board will recommend that an election be held every year (rather than every two) and that half the positions on the Board be open for election each year. Terms would remain at two years once a transition election sets things up for staggering subsequent elections.

Board, Administrative Issues and Staff
To address the vastly expanded and complex needs of the AAC with respect to financial, legal and reporting/audit requirements as well as the increasingly heavy workload associated with administering the day-to-day operations of the Association, the Board has identified the need to hire a permanent part-time Financial Services Officer. A subcommittee of the Board has been established to fine-tune a job description, advertise the position to AAC members, evaluate applications and make a candidate recommendation to the Board.

Because Directors have also experienced an expanded workload as the Association has grown, the Board voted to introduce a number of measures that will ensure Directors are not penalized financially for carrying out their volunteer duties.

As well, a subcommittee of Board members has been struck to examine the feasibility of updating the AAC's database to better serve the needs of members, staff and directors.

Regionals and Nationals
Points: To qualify to compete at the 2009 AAC National Championship, dogs must earn a Regional aggregate score of 350 or more points.

Competitors who apply and are approved to run in a Regionals other than their own will now be able to continue to run in classes remaining after they have earned the points required to qualify, but are not eligible for placements. Their score will be recorded as 350.

Competition (the "double-drop" issue): At Regionals and Nationals, veteran dogs competing two jump heights below their regular height will be scored and placed separately from dogs competing one height lower than their regular height. This will create three additional veterans divisions for the purposes of placements:

6" divisions
A. dogs under 12" tall jumping 6" (mini time)
B. dogs between 12 and 16" tall jumping 6" (mini time)

10" divisions
A. dogs between 12 and 16" tall jumping 10" (mini time)
B. dogs between 16 and 21" tall jumping 10" (open time)

16" divisions
A. dogs between 16 and 21" tall jumping 16" (open time)
B. dogs over 21" tall jumping 16" (open time)

22" division
dogs over 21" tall jumping 22" (open time)

Timer malfunction: At Regionals/Nationals only, if a dog has a clean run but cannot be assigned a time due to a malfunction of equipment or timer error, the handler will be given the option to run again with a blank slate (i.e., both faults and time from the rerun count) or to refuse a rerun, accepting instead a score equivalent to a clean run with a time equal to the standard course time.

2009 Nationals: The Board spent considerable time discussing the form and flavour of the Nationals next year and into the future. The Ottawa group's bid to host the event in 2009 was granted conditional acceptance, with a few issues left to sort out over the next few days. Details will be forthcoming shortly.

Communications Strategy
The Board approved a multifaceted communications strategy designed to ensure members will receive regular updates on all matters related to the rules, activities, programs and future of the Association. Among the components of this approach are a substantial upgrading of the quantity and organization of information on the AAC web site, regular e-newsletters sent to members, downloadable handbooks for competitors, judges and host groups, and a comprehensive annual report. A mailing going out to members in January will include the annual report, ballots and background information related to the proposed bylaw changes, financial statements, updated rule book pages, and a membership survey covering a range of topics including jump heights, Nationals and other issues.

Annual General Meeting
The 2008 AGM will be held on December 13 at Royackers in Ariss, Ontario. As has been the case in the past, this will be a brief meeting conducted to meet the Association' s reporting requirements. Details will be available on the web site shortly.

Just a quick reminder that 2008 memberships expire on December 31. Membership forms are available for download from the AAC web site.

Wow! That's a lot of changes! Also for those of you trialing you should really consider joining AAC as you will get a copy of the rule book. For those already members you will get a new insert for your rulebook in a few months with the updates!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Last Agility Trial of the Year ...

Calgary Agility Association hosted their November trial this weekend.

Kim, Jolayne, Judy, Amanda and Sarah went up for the day Saturday, and Jan and Dave stayed both days.

Lets start with the BIGGEST news!
Jazmin got her last Q for her Masters Agility Dog Title!! And to top it off, she ran with the "regular" dog times - and she is a Veteran. At 10.5 years young, she didn't even need those extra 15 seconds Veteran dogs get! Way to go Judy and Jazmin!!

Jolayne and Tag are quickly becoming quite the team too. Tag 1st and Qd in Advanced Gamblers, and they made their Snooker debut in style, with a 1st and Q, running it in 34 seconds, you get 55 to complete it.

Kim and Maggie had a great day too! Maggie was spunky to say the least and Kim had to really run to keep up with her, and to top if off with all that speed she didn't knock any bars or miss any contacts, Kim's goals were achieved!

Kim's Bosley made his debut in Starters Gamblers, and did great! He even managed to get the Final Gamble at the end!

Amanda had Wicca and Boone entered in two runs each. Both dogs had a great time, little Boone's tail wags the whole time on course, and miss Wicca was a little pushy so she had some friendly reminders on course, that contacts are to be stuck as well as startlines!!

Sarah ran Gyp and K in three runs each, they each came home with a Masters Gamblers Q, and had some other nice runs too, both dogs ran great all day!

Jan and Dave had a good weekend with Pearl and BB too, Pearl got a Masters Q in Snooker and Standard and BB got a Masters Standard Q. On Sunday, BB didn't get enough points in the opening gamble, but had a smokin perfect final gamble!