News, commentary, and training tips for the dog agility enthusiast.
This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the evolution of both course design and handling in dog agility, so let’s get right to the numbers:
In the graphs below, we’re looking at the Yards Per Second (YPS) for qualifying runs in American Kennel Club (AKC) agility over the years, for both standard (STD) courses and jumpers with weaves (JWW) courses. Notice that for both types of courses, dogs have been getting faster. In the second and third graphs, we added the data for border collies (11.5% of the agility dog population) and golden retrievers (6.3% of the agility dog population) for comparison.
I feel pretty good about making two assumptions:
- In general, courses are more difficult today than they were in the past.
- Handling and training must be getting better to more than offset the increase in course difficulty.
This data does not include qualifying rate–it’s possible that the qualifying rate has declined over the years while the YPS for a clean run have increased. Also, now that I think about it, I don’t feel so good about my first assumption, especially for the last few years.
- When will we reach the limit of speed (when will the line plateau)?
- Hover over individual dots for STD on border collies–has the breed already reached it’s speed limit?
- What impact would “judge shopping” have on this data? In judge shopping, agility clubs preferentially invite judges that design easier courses at the request of their members.
- What elements have affected this data? I’ll get you started and I’ll add your suggestions to the article as an addendum: training techniques, handling techniques, running contacts, better running surfaces, course design…
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