Monday, January 16, 2012

We're back...

This weekend, we attended our first AKC agility trial since Thanksgiving. It was in Chicago, and it was snowing, bitterly cold, and way too far to go for a 2 day trial. But like a junky without their 'fix', Maggie and I made the drive and broke our winter hiatus. The courses were not difficult, but had some unusual twists and turns which was a welcome change.
The trial was also attended by an AKC rep who shared some changes we should expect to see with AKC agility in the coming months. First, the new, shorter length chute is in effect... wow, do dogs pop out of that baby quickly. Next, beginning in July, AKC will be providing awards based on the number of Qs in a single event (taking away the all-or-nothing stigma associated with the double Q). Every 25 Q's in Exc B will be an additional "title"... bronze, silver, gold, and (I think) century (?) for 100 Exc B Qs. This was interesting to me, because I am one of those people that will leave on Sunday if the first run is an NQ- in the past, there has been no real reason to stay for a second run once the double Q is unattainable.
As a side note, it appears that there are still a few people very upset about the removal of the "multiplier" in AKC.* By removing the multiplier, there is more emphasis on consistancy and less on raw speed. And in my opinion, it was, for the most part, a good decision to get rid of it, as some people were pushing their dogs to the point that it was unsafe, just to take first place and get that multiplier. And besides, in many areas, the competition is so stiff that only a fraction of a second separates the top three dogs in a height class. Anyway, the point is that I am always in shock when people get so emotional about stuff like this and get rude- which at least one person did at this trial when the subject came up.
Finally, (and I have almost NO information about this) the AKC is discussing the addition of more new games besides the Time2Beat. The rep said that she knew of 2 that were being discussed- one that will be for the higher level dogs and another that will be open to everyone (like Time2Beat). Aside from that, she didn't share any information.
Meanwhile, our first weekend back was okay- Maggie ran great, I tried some new moves we have been training, which we are clearly not ready for, so we lost 2 Qs unneccesarily... but hey, it isn't about the Qs... it is about being out competing with my best friend.

*Previously, the AKC would 'multiply' your time points by 2 if you took first place, and 1.5 for second place. This was abolished in 2011.

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