January 30, 2024

Episode 331: Inside Look at AKC’s New Agility Proposals with Carrie DeYoung

In this episode (44:19)

AKC Director of Agility Carrie DeYoung joins the podcast to discuss the latest round of proposed changes, giving us the insider perspective on how and why these recommendations came about and what they mean for the agility community.

You Will Learn

  • The background and details of the proposed agility updates and changes.
  • The process and considerations behind these agility regulation recommendations.
  • The fate of the table.
  • What exactly a “bar” jump is.
  • How you can make suggestions to AKC agility.


I'm Jennifer. I'm Esteban. And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 331. Today's podcast is brought to you by hit aboard.com and the new Teeter TeachIt, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter. So you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to hit aboard.com. For the new Teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys,

use discount code BDA 10 to get 10% off your order. That's hit it board.com. We have a special guest for today's podcast. I'd like to welcome back Carrie de Young. She is the director of Agility for the American Kennel Club. Welcome back Carrie. Thanks. Today we wanted to have Carrie on to talk about the recently announced agility updates that are going to the board,

recommended changes for the agility regulations. And there's been a lot of buzz all over Facebook about what they are, what do they mean, clarifying particular items in them. And so Carrie, I wanted to start off with kind of one giant step back from the recommendations that everybody's talking about and ask you a little bit about where these recommendations come from, how,

what the process is for creating new recommendations, getting them approved. When does that happen? How does that happen? Kind of like the behind the scenes of what went into this. And then we'll also get into, you know, clarifying some of the ones that people weren't exactly sure what they meant just on the initial view of the document. All right.

Well initially the majority of changes come from the fancy, you know, we get emails all the time, you know, out in the field people talk to the reps and say, this is what we would like to see. Judges send us stuff in their judges' reports. And so when we start to see some, you know, common themes and realize that,

you know, maybe it is time to make some changes, there's a couple different ways that can come about. The one that most people are familiar with is the advisory committee. The advisory committee typically is convened approximately every four years. We're a little behind because of covid and we don't have a plan date, but there will be one coming up. The advisory committee tends to look more globally at the sport and looking at the direction that we really are trying to move it in.

That's what, that's what the advisory committee does. Now, when recommendations come out of the advisory committee, obviously there are some that come out that are, you know, small ones, you know, or what we would consider smaller things. Just because if we're gonna start writing things to go to the board of directors, we might as well give 'em a list versus,

you know, one piece at a time. Because as we're gonna talk about a little bit, it takes a while to get through the process. So something like the last committee and I, I took some, some ribbing for this out in the field. I remember I had one person come up to me and say, so you all met, you spent three days and the only thing you could decide was that people could put color on their dog's tail.

Right. I remember that one. And I smiled very nicely at him and I said, Hmm, didn't I see you do a fix and go this morning with your dog? He said, well, yes. And I said, I believe some people were running FEO today also. He says, yes. I said, those were the other big real things that came out of the advisory committee,

but he was all, you know, that was the only thing we did. Anyway. So they're looking at something like that, moving into doing FEO and fix and go, we're huge movements forward for the American Kennel Club. We were the first group within the American Kennel Club, the first sport to say, let's do FEO Right now. They've got it in obedience,

they've got it in rally, they've got it in scent work to varying degrees in different ways. It didn't exist before we made that forward motion. Okay. It's kind of like deaf dogs, you know, we took the leap on deaf dogs and then the other sports followed. But those big type of things that are shifts in the way the American Kennel Club looks at our sports,

those are what the advisor committee is very, very helpful for. Some of the things in this, in this group, like, and we'll talk about 'em, but like Wheeling only one time in Open, you know, the advisor committee might ask about that because it's on the list of things people recommended, but that's not what we're bringing them together to do.

It may still show up as part of what the advisory committee puts out, potentially could have gone out in that listing, but at that time it wasn't, it, it wasn't a big issue. So on the other side, there's a second way, and that's through staff, through the field reps, through myself, and as I mentioned, we, we get feedback all the time.

365 days a year. I, I can send you my emails from Christmas. You know, we get, we get ideas all the time, plus we see things when we're out in the field or as we're working on courses or whatever that just aren't working anymore and or would just be something and a change we'd like to make. So ideas can also come from staff once a year.

The reps meet for our annual reps meeting, and that is where these recommendations came from. They were items that we brought in, either because we had judges that were bringing it up on a consistent basis, exhibitors bringing it to us on a consistent basis, or again, as as staff members, you know, we also have our own few pain points on a few things.

So we brought in some of our own topics to look at. Excellent. So, so that's really Interesting. I way more than you ever wanted to know, huh? No, I, I think it's really interesting 'cause when I first saw these, I, I assumed that this was, like you said, the advisory committee that, you know, we're used to seeing those come out of that.

And so when I reached out to you, like I hadn't made that distinction in my head. I didn't realize, and it makes a lot of sense. And you can kind of see that some of these at least are, do have to do with kind of how things are run. And, and as you and I talked, you know, some of them are completely invisible to the competitor,

right. Like the competitor does not care how many times you wheel open, you know, it's just, it's more of like how the thing runs. Yeah. And some of these are house, just what we would call internally housekeeping. Right? Just Housekeeping. Exactly. Sometimes we'll find an inconsistency in the regulations where we wrote one thing for an area and then realize,

oh, we should have hit those other points in the regulation book. And because it's in the regulation book, it has to go the board of directors. Yeah. So explain that. 'cause I, I thought that was super interesting too, so Sure. Like the, I guess the different routes of approval, I guess you would call it for these things.

Yes. Yeah. So once we decide whether it's via the advisory committee or via the staff that there are changes we would like to make, then I have to write up a memo that goes to the board of directors. But first any concepts have to go to a group called the ob ob, I'm sorry, they changed their name. The companion events committee.

The Companion events committee is a, is a committee of the board and delegates are, there's a, a group of delegates that are part of that committee. So first we take anything to the committee and if they have any questions about things, you know, we answer them at that point. And if there's anything they feel very strongly about, it may be pulled for further review.

We may change the language on something because of concerns coming from the committee. So once the committee has seen it, then it is presented to the board and it's presented the first time for what we call a read a reading. They're gonna look at it the first time, ask us any questions they have on it. If they want further research on something,

they're gonna send us back to bring it in. So after the first time, then it's published in the minutes as this group of suggestions was. And then it comes back a second time to the board of directors and they vote on it, typically the second time it comes through. Okay. So you can see it's not something where we can just flip a switch on and off for things.

Right. And by the time it makes it into the minutes, I think the impression that I think most people have, like when I'm reading all the comments on Facebook, is once it's in the minutes, like yes it has to be approved, but they're pretty much gonna trust you because you know, you're the director of AKC Agility and, and there all of AKC and,

and may not know the ins and outs of the day-to-Day to Agility and that it's probably going to go in at that point. Is that, do, do you think that's kind of accurate with the caveat that of course they can always ask you to change something? Sure, I do. And I think that that is because both the agility department, as all the areas in the AKC do,

we're really well prepared by the time we take this into the board, even for the first read, we have the information we expect they're gonna ask about it, whether it's a data or just the explanation for why we're asking for a change. So we're ready to go with it by the time it goes in. Sometimes if we're gonna hit something sticky, we'll add,

ask for advice both internally and externally to make sure that we've covered all the questions that could potentially come up. But nothing's a done deal until, until the final vote. Right. And, and in this case, with this one, this will not be reviewed again until April. So the implementation, we don't have a implementation date on this yet. Sometimes we have to look at recommendations and see if it's going to impact trial secretaries or trial programmers.

Programmers, what's the word? Yeah, like soft. The the software or the Software. Thank you. Yeah. If it's gonna impact, you know, we have to look to see if it's going to impact software providers that the clubs use for their catalogs and their entries and their run orders and everything. And ultimately the results. So the right results are submitted to the AKC.

Right. And so for the advisory committee, can you tell us a little bit about how that speeded up? Not like names, but like the types of people that it Sure. Like how big is it? How many people? Like what kinds of Yeah, people, so Typically the advisory committee is made up of approximately six non AKC people and then an AKC field rep and the,

and the director. Oh, by non AKC you mean like not AKC employees? Correct. Got it. Okay. So typically those six people are judges that also have, we usually try to find a judge who's also a trial secretary. If in that go around, we don't have somebody who is, and we're looking for a larger volume trial secretary because they understand the concerns of someone who's running more than one weekend a year.

Though that group has their own concerns. But we want someone that that can speak to what trial secretaries need specifically and how a change could impact them positively or negatively. You know, down the line when we're talking about anything that has to do with scoring, when we talked about adding fix and go, when we talked about FEO, the contributions from the trial people that have the trial secretary background was very important.

So there are, you know, five to six individuals that are again, are non AKC employees. There's, there's the one field rep and then there's myself or whoever the director is at the time. And, and as the director, you know, I act as a committee chair if anything comes down to vote, I'm the tiebreaking vote, but I'm never driving the conversation or you know,

I'm just facilitating. And so is it a different group every, like every four years when they meet, it's like a whole different group of, of your advisory committee. Usually one person is moved over from a prior one because it's nice to have the historical knowledge. Right. Because it helps in all discussions, you know, to understand how we got to where we are today,

what the committee talked about last time, how it all panned out and where we're at now. So we usually ask one person then to come back who's done it before. Awesome. All right, well I think that answers all of my questions on the process side. So let's get into some of these actual recommendations and you know, you can just throw in some color commentary about where they came from or you know,

background of them. But there's a couple of really big ones that people are most excited about. I would say excited for the most part. I'm sure there's probably people excited and not excited about almost every single one of these, but FEO in all classes. So previously FEO was just fasted time to beat, is that right? Correct. Or at an ISC only trial.

Got it. Those are now fair enough. So, so I guess this is just an expansion of that program. Yes, this is the final expansion on it. When we originally brought this one forward, it was supposed to be a test for a year. Unfortunately the year started January 1st, 2020. And we all know how that year went. Right. So we didn't really get the solid test of it.

We wanted, we knew at the end of that year that it seemed to be working. The biggest thing we were looking for were time impacts on clubs or if there were any safety concerns that were coming out of these or, or anything. Same thing with fix and go actually at that point. And so we went ahead and just left it with time to beaten fast so that really it could just be watched some more.

And now after looking at it the past few years, it makes sense to go ahead and expand it. And that's been one of those questions coming from the fancy on a regular basis. When we're out in the field, we get asked that one a lot. I'm a big fan of that one 'cause I like the option to do FEO and novice standard and novice jumpers.

'cause I get a lot of people who wanna debut doing FEO, right? But they don't wanna do 12 week polls or they don't want to do like a time to beat course. They wanna do something, something simpler. So I think a couple of people were like, well what does it matter if they do all classes? And I presented that kind of option and they're like,

oh yeah, we hadn't thought about that. So giving us the, the possibility of FEO and novice standard novice trumpers is, you know, gives people more options. So Right. Just a different kind of thought process on that for people. Yeah. And I know that some people are concerned about time. I expect that this could be regional, you know,

depending on like where you are, how people utilize the program and stuff like that. Because I haven't seen it to be too much of an issue. But are there, you know, I guess how do y'all approach the concerns that allowing anybody to FEO any run is gonna, you know, explode the day or, or anything like that? Well obviously we looked at the same things that you were mentioning there,

there, you know, occasionally we get that concern that FEO has lengthened their day considerably. But then when we drilled down for a while, we were having judges send us their numbers that they had as far as how many Fs there were in the trial so that we could look at the trial numbers, how many Fs and how long it took to run that trial and was it really an hour longer because of 10 Fs Right.

Or whatever it worked out to. So we had that information coming into us along the way and a lot of that was very early on as we were looking at it. But at that point the data was showing us that it wasn't truly extending the day as much as some people thought. Right. And again, I think people have gotten better about using it,

that they really understand what they wanna do. They're not just out there to use their full 60 seconds playing tug with their dog if they're going out because they're maybe doing a ring, some sort of situation with their dog where they wanna get 'em comfortable in the ring, but maybe they don't wanna do more than a jump that day. You know what, they're not typically spending 60 seconds out there to do that.

We are looking at a time adjustment on that, which will also help make sure the day doesn't, doesn't go long because of it. But again, we just haven't seen that out in the field. Right. As an, as an ongoing issue, a club will still have the ability to decide if they wanna have FEO or not. So yeah, that was Gonna be my next question.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if we're at an outdoor trial in some parts of the country where you're losing daylight by five o'clock during the winter, maybe that's a trial that you don't offer FEO at, but that'll be up to the clubs to decide if they want to or not. Okay, perfect. So the next one that I think people are most,

that I hear the most chatter about is no longer requiring a pause table. So, so, and, and I believe it's just for, let me see, what are the, what does it say? Says Just for excellent master, Excellent and masters. Yeah. So, right. Does that mean that it is optional in those, Oh, we're gonna read that a little bit differently,

Sarah, because they just pulled the one sentence as like the headline for the minutes. It doesn't have all the other documentation behind it. The table's actually going away. Yay. Yay. So you'll not be optional for judges to decide to use it is going away. So, So then it will be, it'll still be there in the novice and the open classes.

That is correct. And give that kind of control element. Yes, That's exactly what the notes actually in the board document says that the board of directors read. Perfect. All right. That's exciting. The next one that I think has caused a lot of confusion, so I'm looking forward to you just explaining what this actually means for people is the increase in yardage that's allowed for the eight and the 12 inch dogs in masters and excellent.

And then later on in the document there's also increased course yardage allowed in all heights for jumpers with weaves. So like what does this mean really? What does it mean in practice? Does it mean that there's gonna be more space between obstacles? Does it mean there's gonna be more time? Does it mean that there's gonna be, you know, larger yardage but this,

the dogs are running the same so their yards per second goes up and once this change is made, like how does this actually work? Well part of it is that the courses really have gotten bigger and you know, we've been encouraging the judges to spread them out more when they have the space to do it. In doing so, that means particularly at the eight and 12 inch heights in,

in standard, it, it happens once they start to spread it out, the eight and twelves are hitting their max time if the I I, I'm sorry, they're over. Whereas the large dogs, it, you know, once they hit their max, you know, that's, that's still working let's say there, but eights and twelves then are going to be over when the judge measures it.

So, so we made the, the change for the eights and twelves in standard and then when we got to jumpers jumpers with weaves in evaluating it, we realized that we wanted to increase the distance on well the times which ultimately increases the distance in jumpers. And so that's what the time changes represent. So basically it's about allowing your course designers some more flexibility to,

to spread out these courses if they want to. Correct. 'cause they were trying to do that and then running up against those limits. Right. And I, I guess the part that I think maybe is a little confusing for people is how you can increase the yardage for eights and twelves without changing it for the sixteens twenties and twenties fours. So for standard where it just says increase the yardage allowed for eights and twelves.

So do, is that just, you know, I think my tenuous understanding of this is that it's really gets into the nitty gritty of like how you determine course time for the different heights and it's like it doesn't really matter for the big dogs. Like how does that all work out? Yeah, typically for the large dogs, when the course is being measured,

it works out. But then again, when you're measuring that course, it hit maximum for the large dogs. We measure for the small, there there's a, there's a couple of places where if you were to load this into a spreadsheet and start playing with the maximum numbers for large dogs, you can see where small dogs all of a sudden bumps into that and will go over their,

their number. Got it. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to explain this, my understanding. So I think one thing that people may not realize is that you can basically, there's like formulas that judges are given that lets you take a large dog course yardage and time and convert it to what is then allowed for the sixteenths and for the eights and the twelves.

And so I, I think what I'm hearing is that just because of the magic of the math, if you did a course that was maximum yardage for the large dogs, that same course would end up being over the maximum allowed for the small dogs. And so, you know, judges were trying to expand these courses and, and I would say specifically when we talk about expanding courses,

it is to benefit the largest, largest dogs, right? It's the 24 inch dogs that have to bounce jump that people, you know, don't like that much compression on the large dogs and people question, you know, showing their large dogs on those courses and things like that. So it's the large dogs we're trying to spread the course out four. But then once we did that,

it turns out that course is now illegal for the eights and the twelves. Correct. And so by increasing the allowable eights and twelves, we can now spread everything out and everything is within the limits for their particular height So that then the judges don't wind up having to come up with an artificial number either for the smaller dogs or go back and actually adjust the course so that then it'll work for the small dogs.

You know what we're talking about, remember the judges for excellent and masters are wheeling the courses twice. So they wheel it for small dogs, they wheel it for large dogs, then they add those two together, divide them by two and that's how we get 16 inch number. So if you look in the regulation book, there is a yards per second for each height and that's where then that magical math thing happens somewhere along the way.

So the 24 inch dogs, the true 20 fours are supposed to run it in no less than 2.9 yards per second eight inch division has to run it in 2.5 12 inch and 2.7. So there's not a lot of extra room there to go from small dogs to big dogs. Right. All right. So Hopefully that helps people understand. So anyway, so looking at that,

and this was based on concerns that we were seeing from judges 'cause they're the ones out there every weekend and they would send us a note with their course maps saying this is what I wheeled and this is what happened with small dogs. Or when we looked at jumpers, this was happening across jumpers for us. So anyways, that information we've been gathering up for the last couple of years,

you know, looking at it, trying to decide where to go with it and that's where these numbers came from. Got it. So the next one that I think caused a lot of confusion even I was like, I don't know what this means was it said no longer require a bar jump in any courses. And I was like, wait, what?

Until I read more and in again the comments of Facebook and, and it explained it to me. So what do you consider a bar jump in in in terms of how these are written, these recommendations? I dunno, did Jen wanna jump in on this one? Well I have to admit that the wording was a little bit confusing to me. But my understanding and,

and this is your opportunity to fix me, is that a bar jump is referred to a jump that has two bars on it. So kind of what I consider the like a regular jump or a single bar jump is just a a wing or wing list with one bar that's kind of like the standard. And then there is requirement for, I would ref,

I would phrase it as a double bar jump I guess the verbiages bar jumper or whatever where there's two bars. Is that correct? That's correct. That's exactly what, yeah. So I, I think there's requirement now that that is required and then they're looking at lifting that. Correct? Correct. So historically when we go back 30 years to the beginning of AKC agility,

we had the bar jump, which is the one with two bars or the one bar jump, which is the one that only had the one bar. And if you've been around long enough, you know, you might remember the discussions when we would have a jump that had a ground bar and then a bar for the one bar. People say, oh no,

no, no, that's not a one bar jump because there's the ground bar. So we had to go through that for quite a while. That's why if you look back to some very old pictures you'll see jumps where there's just two stanchions and there's no ground bar on those older jumps. I mean now with our styles a lot of jumps stand up very well without a ground bar.

But that was always quite an argument was if there's a ground bar, is it really a bar jump? So anyways, so a few years ago the advisory committee said, you know what, when we all practice and train our dogs, how many bars do we put up on our jumps? Of course one one, that's all we're gonna put up. No one puts up 20 jumps and two bars on each of them Until until the dog goes under and then suddenly you,

you put that second bar All of a sudden that looks really good to you. That's correct. Right, right. So initially the switch that we made with the advisory committee was instead the the bar jump, the one bar jump could actually be all the jumps and instead we just required one two bar jump or the bar jump. Now if that didn't just confuse you,

nothing will, but it really just has to do with how many bars are up on the jump. Many judges use the bar jump for their first jump in novice and open just to make sure the dog's really seeing the jump. If they're gonna look for a good place for their, for their bar jump. Some judges prefer to have mostly bar jumps out,

particularly in novice. This isn't going to take that away from them. They still can use that bar jump as often as they want. They're just not required to make sure that they have one out there anymore. Got it. So it was, so it, it was a requirement that you have at least one jump that has the, the second bar,

the the bar that's below the jump height that you know keeps them from going under. Right. That's how I think of it, yes. And now we're saying you nobody has to do that. That's correct. But you can if you want. Absolutely because again there are still probably some places from a design standpoint that a judge may want to put up two bars,

they may build a course and you've seen this as exhibitors I'm sure where there's something with the exterior of the course, the ring barriers, the lighting, something where an obstacle isn't as visual as perhaps the judge wanted might be a good place to put another bar to help the dog really identify that this is a jump up against all this other visual noise going on behind the obstacle.

So that'll still leave that opportunity to the judges. So what that does though is it keeps them from potentially having what we consider an illegal course 'cause they didn't get that second bar put up on one jump. Also from a reviewer standpoint, I gotta be honest here I am checking for all the obstacles and I have to make sure that this one jump exists.

So it's just one more thing that when you know we review anywhere between 37 and 40,000 courses a year. So having to look for this bar jump on every single one of these courses is a little, I gotta be honest, a little tedious. Yeah, I mean that's a great reason to make it optional right there. I mean it really is like you just leave the discretion to the judges and you just don't even have to worry about it as a reviewer.

It's there, it's not there, whatever, whatever they wanna do. Yeah, I think an important point to make is it's not the proposal to eliminate it, it's the proposal to not make it required. So it does mean that we still potentially have to practice it, which you know, is, is big for me because I of all the re of all the recommendations of all the things that were listed in this,

the only one I have an opinion about is this one. You know, everybody talks about their own I feel like has a personal invested interest in something. You know, some people are really adamant the table's gone or the people want the distances change. You know, for me I was like eh, I want, I would love to see the removal of the bar jump but basically jumps with two bars.

So it, this was good clarification for me because I was under the impression it was removing it. This is just the option of it not being required. So that, that's good to know. I think in our area, this is just kind of a little a caveat on the side, it wasn't anything people paid attention to about until about six or eight months ago.

And what we saw in our areas is like a regional trend is we saw judges that started to take the second bar, so the bottom bar and angle it. Yeah. So the top bar was straight right and they would angle it and the first time it happened people were like hollering like the bar's not said it's crooked. And the judge was like, no,

no, no it was supposed to be like that. And let me tell you that trial, I heard about that trial as an instructor for like weeks and then other judges were doing it and people were so confused and it's like nobody paid attention to the double like the two bar jump until that started happening. And I'll admit I'm not a fan of that too.

And my rationale, and I talked about this a little bit on some Facebook threads is that angled bar is kind of what we use to like designate the double and like the extended spread. So I like keeping it for that but that's also why the double bar from my personal experience and I have no, you know, affiliation to the advisory committee or AKC or anything is that I like,

I would like for the dogs to start to learn that if there are multiple bars that they can expect there to be depth to the jump. So if they see two bars, it's a double. If they see three bars it's the triple. But basically if they see more than one bar, they should assume it's depth. And I think it's good for the dogs to have the consistency and the extra cue.

Especially like any ETO dogs or dogs with vision. So this was like the one that I'm the most passionate about and have the strongest opinion on. Especially because in a lot of other organizations, and I'll use like FCI going to the agility world championships or eo, they don't put a crossbar on their spreads, it's just two bars at different heights. So what I have seen through my own dogs and also some students' dogs is the confusion of when they see those two bars are they on the same height like an AKC bar jump or is there depth and then they end up having trouble with the spread.

So that's, that's kind of where I'm coming from in terms of that two bar jump. But I love that it's in there. I just, I'm pushing for let's let it be gone. Get rid of that bar jump no more two bar jumps unless it's on a spread. Alright, so we have, we have Jen or leave that to the judges.

Yeah, that's right, that's right. And and I wanted to point out too 'cause I think like Jen said, I think this is something that a lot of people maybe have never even been aware is out there unless they themselves had a problem with it. And so I wanted to point out that it's designated on the course maps. So if you look at course maps there,

if it is a jump with wings and it has the number one, then that means it's just the top bar and if it doesn't have the number one then it means that it should have that second bar. Which is kind of funny 'cause I'm looking at the course maps that I make for students and I do not follow that at all. I am not,

because I am not a judge, I am not sit going out there and making sure I click on the little one bar icon. So I should probably do that going forward so that people know exactly which kind of jump they should be using. But I think, Oh that's something as a reviewer, when I get a course in that has all two bar jumps on it,

then I have to ask them, are you really going to use all all bar jumps? Oh and by the way, if you're gonna do that then you need one one bar jump. So I mean you can just kind of see where where that just goes back and forth, Right? Yeah, exactly. And then I think there were a couple of more that I think are a lot more self-explanatory and,

and you can just give a little tidbit of maybe what you know, what you're seeing out in the field. There was a recommendation to allow the wall jump in excellent and masters. So I guess what, what is the benefit to doing that? It was, that was a request that came in from judges and some clubs. Again, it's an available obstacle in some places and as you know,

everyone is always very excited about nesting and so a couple of the, not just a couple but you know judges and horse builders and even some exhibitors occasionally would ask about it, could we use it? It's out there, it's a legal piece of equipment and we thought we would just go ahead and allow that as an option. I don't, between you and me,

I don't think we're, and everyone else who's listening, I don't think we're gonna see it a lot, you know, in the excellent and masters. But if you have an event maybe where they're doing premier excellent masters and ISC only that day, that might be a place that it makes sense to use the wall jump through all of those to net if you're looking at nesting a section.

Right? And now that we can FEO anything, if you need some extra experience on it, you could go FEO your excellent run and then and then go kill your ISC run for the day. The other one that I think probably people don't care about that's on here is the fact that you could only take the tire once and so well They don't care about it until the second or third time is a poor approach,

Right? Yeah. Then they care. Yeah. And the problem with the tire as we know is that it needs a, a good approach and a good departure on it between, you know, the legs on it and just a variety of other reasons. You want a good approach in and out. And it is very, very difficult to design that two or three times.

And then what can happen is then once it gets built on the ground, things happen in course building and all of a sudden what was an okay second time through the tire when it finally got down on the ground is no longer, you know, the best approach or exit that could happen on it. And it's a unique obstacle. We didn't feel a reason that needed to be tested multiple times on a course.

And so that was why we changed it. It was largely to improve course design on those. Excellent. Alright Carrie, before we wrap up, there was one other thing that in our preparation for this you and I discussed that I thought was super interesting and didn't remember to get to at the beginning of this podcast. And that was the difference in the process for changing a,

like a rule slash regulation versus a guideline. So can you kind of tell us what the differences between those two things, where people find the rules versus the guidelines, that kind of thing? So the rules are in the book that says regulations for agility trials and agility course tests. Those are the hard and fast items that the board votes on. We can't make changes to that without the board's approval.

And that's where you find the very specifics as far as equipment specs, times, how, you know, height cards, how to accept entries, the description of a class. All of that is part of the regulations for agility trials and act tests guidelines comes in the judge's guidelines book, which is anyone has access to, it's online. And that is where we define things or,

or discuss things such as course design. The guidelines book does not, it's not voted on by the board. This is something that is a living document and that's why it's in A PDF on the website now. Because if we need to go in and make a change or an adjustment, it's easier to just do that now than printing the books over and over again like we used to have to do.

So a guideline is, you know, is exactly that. So the guidelines are dealt with by the staff and these are things we wanna make sure that the judges are reminded of and that they have access to perhaps when they're out judging, we've got a chapter on what ifs, you know, what if this happens in your ring, what if that happens in your ring?

Well that wouldn't be something you put in the rules and regulations when we wanna make sure that, you know, distances for safety are on a course design, that's where that information goes. So that's what the guidelines are versus the regulations. Excellent. And I will put a, a link to both of those things in the show notes so that people can get to them.

There's a lot of great information in both places, but there's a lot of, there's like a lot of course maps that show different scenarios, you know, what is a challenge, what isn't a challenge? Like what is, what are all the different things that you would have in premier? Like there's some really, there's some actually some really good stuff in there for competitors to be familiar with.

Okay. And so then in wrapping up, I know that lots of people listening have, you know, have their own thoughts about what would make, you know, what changes they would love to see, you know, what would make agility even better in AKC agility. So what is the, the right kind of avenue for just the general competitor to kind of bubble their suggestions up through the organization?

Well the best thing for anybody to do that has an idea or a question is they can always send it to agility at AKC dot org. And we have different staff members that look at those emails and decide whether it's something that needs to be answered. 'cause the person has a specific, a specific question perhaps about their own dog and their titles or something.

Or if it's a suggestion for the program, those that are forwarded to me and then I have a file, it's a real file. It's not, it's not on Your computer. It's Like exactly. It doesn't just disappear for ideas that we've received in and those then are categorized by what they are. So again, we can, like with some of the changes we talked about at this,

you know, we could see that we were getting questions or concepts or ideas that we really needed to look at and see if we were ready to, you know, make some adjustments. Also, when it comes to the advisory committee for items again that are, that more global look that we're looking at, those items then would roll right into what the advisory committee is going to look at.

Typically on a lot of those, they come back in through that process already, but I have them also sitting there so that they are ready to be part of what that group looks at. So they don't just disappear, they actually are held so that we can see if it's something that we can deal with. And you know, not all ideas are great idea,

not all ideas are bad ideas. We've fortunately the sport has moved forward in a very positive manner because of great input coming from the fancy, coming from judges that have, you know, really helped us make some great changes over the years. And what I will also tell people is that a good idea is a good idea. It only takes one person to write a good idea.

I mean, all of you have probably had that happen at some point. Someone says something and a bell goes off and you're like, why? Why didn't we think of this before? This is so simple and it solves a problem. And that is important to understand too. You know, know, one of the things that we made a change to early on were where the legs were on weave poles.

If we were to go back historically, it wasn't specifically spelled out where they needed to be. And it was one judge that came to us many, many, many years ago and said, we need to make sure that there's not a leg right where the dog is entering the poles. And that's where the regulation came from that stated where feet needed to be obviously on the off side of where the dog was weaving at that point in time.

But prior to that, that didn't exist. So there was one judge saying, I think you need to look at this, and the committee at the time and the staff went, oh yes. And it, and it was a major change at the time and a lot of equipment had to be adjusted because of it. But you know, most people wouldn't even know that that ever existed any other way because we've had it for so long now the way that weave polls are Perfect.

Well, you know, thank you again so much for coming on. We always love just getting our information directly from the source and you are always so gracious to come on the podcast and talk with us and, and get all of our questions answered and get the word out there. So thank you for joining us today. Right. Thank you. Appreciate it.

And that's it for this week's podcast. We'd like to thank our sponsor, hit aboard.com. Happy training. I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I'll let you know which comes first.

Thank You for Listening!

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