March 19, 2024

Episode 338: Post 2024 NAC Wrap-Up

In this episode (39:51)

Jennifer and Sarah talk about their experiences at the 2024 National Agility Championship with Esteban providing the livestream spectator perspective.

You Will Learn

  • Jenn’s thoughts on the facility, the surface, and the organization of the event.
  • Why the Hybrid round was a surprise.
  • Esteban’s view on the target q-rate for big events.
  • Who was crowned National Agility Champion!

Mentioned/Related

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Welcome to Bad Dog Agility, a podcast helping you reach all of your dog agility goals. Whether it's competing under the bright lights of the televised finals at Westminster, or successfully navigating a homemade course in your own backyard. We'll bring you training, tips, interviews, and news about the great sport of dog agility. Are you ready? I'm ready. I'm ready.

I'm ready. The show starts with your host, Jennifer Estevan and Sarah. I'm Jennifer. I'm Estevan. And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 338. Today's podcast is brought to you by St. Rocco's Treats It's grace from Hounds of Hack. It's Amber from American Canine Country. It's Cynthia from CH Dog Agility. It's Lindsay from Y two Canines and we love using St.

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Thank you. And you can find a link to St. Rocco Streets on the show notes page. Today we're talking about the 2024 AKC National Agility Championship. Both myself and Jennifer were at the event. I was there running the before and after Jen was there running lots of dogs and Esteban was at home taking care of our family. That's right. So welcome to the podcast everybody.

And we are all back now at our respective homes, right Jen? Yes. It was a long drive home, but we made it home by Monday afternoon. Excellent. So we wanted to just do a little wrap up podcast here, talk about the event, how it went, our thoughts on everything having to do with nationals and of course letting you know who the winners are.

But before we jump all the way in, let's talk about how our team did. And Jennifer, we'll start with you, the superstar. How was your Nationals weekend? So this year's nationals, I had five dogs running. I ran lucky in Preferred and then Rio in 12 inches being 16 and two 20 inch dogs. And I was very pleased with my performance.

I would say that it is, A lot of people would ask, okay, how are things going? I'm like, it's not my best work weekend and it's not my worst weekend. You know, a couple years ago I took and ran seven dogs to nationals and all of them made either challengers or finals. This year I took five, which was less,

so should have been easier and ended up with one in challengers and one in finals. So from a percentage standpoint, I feel like it was a step down in my performance and my results, but it was kind of some weird, odd, fluky little things. It wasn't disastrous performances from my dogs or myself. I would say the, the nemesis of the weekend seemed to be the we holes.

I had three, no I had four. We pull faults over the course of all of the dogs and all of the runs, which was a little bit odd. Not something that I was prepared for, but the two highlights for my weekend is that B did make it into finals the easy way, going three for three. So she had three clear rounds and a placement in the standard round and then in finals finished third place.

And I was really pleased with that. My goal once we made finals was to try to see if we can get a top four position. I knew that was gonna be tough and we were gonna have to have a great run. We went into finals seated second and the dog who was a seated ahead of us stayed ahead of us and then we got beat out by the winner of the challengers round.

So we ended up third, but we get to be in the photo. And then high five made the challengers round, which is not a place I wanna be, but it means that she was fast enough to have a placement in a round. So that's kind of exciting out of, you know, over 320 inch dogs. For her to have a fifth place finish in jumpers tells me the potential and the capability that's there in terms of her speed and athleticism.

So those were my highlights of my weekend. All of the dogs had at least a couple clean runs, if not more. So again, not a horrible weekend, not my best, but really, really happy with our last two runs on Sunday, our challengers round and our finals round. And for those of you who don't know, at AKC nationals,

there's basically a kind of like a warmup practice day. They have some, some runs. And then the main actual competition has three preliminary rounds, right? A, a jumpers course, a jumping course, a standard course, and a hybrid course, which you know, is a, is a mix of the two minus the dogwalk. So there will be an A frame and a teeter in the hybrid round.

And they take the top dogs cumulatively through those three rounds. And those are the dogs that bait the finals, both preferred and regular high classes. And when Jennifer's talking about the challenger round, that's a, that's a special round. It's almost like a second chance round, right? So high placing dogs in each of the three preliminary rounds, essentially the top four who have not already qualified for finals.

So Jennifer casually mentioned the easiest best way to get in the finals is to have three clean fast runs, right? But there's another way to sneak into the finals. And, and, and every finals class has one dog. It's the challenger round winner and it's winner take all and it's winner take all. So you have the, the challenge round, ideally you're taking like the top four from round round one and then round two and then round three.

So you could have 12 dogs and they all buy on a, on a very difficult challengers course to see who wins that one spot and can get into the finals. And so it turns out that that's been a wildly successful in my opinion program. I remember in the early years when Challengers Dogs would win, people would be annoyed, right? Can you imagine when they would win finals?

When they would win finals, right? Because they're like, oh, this dog didn't do three clean runs, right? It's a little bit of a, a controversy like, like A sneaky Way many, many years ago. But I think agility has evolved very far away from the perfectionist ideal of say obedience, right? As as a, as a standard for performance.

And in this way you are ensuring one, an a, an exciting, a very exciting, super exciting class of its own on par with even the finals and that that is the challengers round. So people could watch that on the stream. But what will be televised later on ESPN after editing will be just the finals. But that challenges round dog it,

it virtually guarantees that that dog is gonna be very fast and capable of showing up in the finals and winning and that, that's what Jen is saying here. The challenger round dog got in there and was able to be be, even though be is obviously amazingly fast, Right? You can have an upset of the top seed essentially. Right? And so I do wanna talk about a couple of more dogs and handlers that are I guess tangentially related to the bad Dog agility team.

So we were there doing the before and after online course and many of our listeners will have participated in that. But we basically follow Jen through all of her runs and then we have a couple of guest handlers that contribute a couple of their runs where they give it like a voiceover analysis of how, of how they thought it went and what they were thinking at the time.

And so we were very excited to have our guest handlers also do very well. One of them was Cynthia Horner with Nimble, who was the defending champion from last year. She analyzed one of her preliminary rounds and then she ended up in the challengers round. So where she I believe knocked a bar. Yeah she had a, had a, a knocked bar so was not able to get outta the challengers round but,

but was able to compete in the challengers round and we'll get to the courses in a minute. But by the way, that was a pretty awesome, exciting course that a lot of people really liked. So that was exciting for our people to get to kind of come along on that. And then we had Amber McCune with her 24 inch border Collie Howie and he went three clean and into the finals where he placed second in the finals.

So we were very happy for her as well. And then the 16 inch winner, and we'll go through all the winners in a minute, but right now we're talking about people related to bad dog agility and that was Jada with her border colleague Zula. She's a junior handler, 17 years old and she's a bad dog agility sponsored athlete. So we are very,

very, very excited for her for that win. An incredible accomplishment for somebody so new to the world and new to the sport. So very excited about all of that. Alright, so let's move on and talk. I guess very briefly, let's talk about everything but the courses Jen, so the, the location, the venue, the footing, how,

like what was your impression of this year's nationals? All in all I was pretty happy with the site, with the surface, with the amenities of the nationals this year. We did have nationals at the Perry Fairgrounds several years ago and it was a different layout this year. I actually liked the layout this year a little bit better. It's spread out in the sense that it is groupings of two rings together in three different areas.

So you have two rings in one building, two rings in another building and then two rings undercover. You have three creating in another area, stalls in another area. So it's kind of spread out but it's all within close proximity. And I do feel like it was closer in proximity and less walking than what we had the last time it was at Perry.

Just based on memory. What I also like is there's a lot of availability for onsite RVing and camping and there was a ton of people RVing and the, the ability for everyone to have hookups and have what they need and stay on site was really nice. The surface in my opinion was top-notch. I think as far as national events go, when you're talking about hundreds of competitors coming together in one location,

this was the year I felt like there were the least amount of complaints. I'm not gonna say no complaints, I'm not gonna see say that nobody was slipping. I'm not gonna say that there wasn't some amount, amount of deep surface for some of the dogs, but in general I think it was some of the best surface that we've had. I did feel like it was pretty consistent across all six rings as well.

That sometimes, you know, you'll get like, oh in this ring it's one surface and somewhere else it's a, it's deeper or slip or there was one evening where the eight inch dogs were running well into 6, 6 30 at night after that ring had been running all day did feel like it got a little bit beat up. In general, I'd like to see the small dogs,

the four eight inch dogs run before the large dogs before it gets beat up. But I thought that they did a great job with the surface and the amenities. I would have no complaints if they said it was gonna be back there again In future years. I, they did announce next year we'll be Tulsa. So if you didn't hear that, they did announce next year Tulsa.

But if they went back to Perry I would be okay with it. We did have some unfortunate weather with some rain that made things not easy but there was a covered walkway to get from the stalls to rings 3, 4, 5, and six. So theoretically even in the rain, if you were in the stalls you could kind of stay undercover going to at least four of the six rings,

which was, which just kind of a nice little perk. So not many complaints on my end. I did stay on site. I think the big thing that people that I hear rumor of kind of complaints or gripes about Perry as a location is just the lack of like hotels and restaurants in close proximity you have to travel a little bit further but, but the,

the show site itself, I, I was fine with Yeah, no complaints. Yeah, I felt like everybody I knew was in an rv and so it makes for a, a little bit like you, you don't get the kind of like 20 person dinners, you know that Yeah sometimes you get at some of the others where you kind of get together with a whole bunch of people.

But I think instead what you had was kind of like groups of RVs getting together and barbecuing and and stuff like that. So, so that's fine. And the internet was horrible. Oh yeah. Like the cell service, like you couldn't even get texts through so it was really hard to stay connected with other people. So that was a little frustrating as somebody who was trying to run an online class in the middle of it.

But other than that I didn't really have any complaints with that. Let's talk about the courses. 'cause I thought that there were some interesting things that we saw on these courses and I guess I'll start with I felt like standard was a pretty, was like a nice reasonable course. They were all reasonable, but what I meant like is like what you would expect and jumpers but hybrid,

I felt like that's where things really were a lot different from what I had anticipated. Do you kind of agree? Yeah, I would agree with that. Standard was standard, right? It was like exactly on point with what I thought. I looked at that course map and I was like, yep, these are the skills that we knew we were gonna have.

The overall challenge and flow is exactly what I thought we would have. And then jumpers, my initial thought was like, okay, well this is a little, little easy. They're going nice, they're going kind on us and then they're like, oh wait, but here's a hybrid, we're gonna make up for jumpers being a little easy and throw you a tricky hybrid.

I thought hybrid was quite tricky and I think of hybrid in my mind is supposed to mimic kind of time to beat, right? Like it's a mix of standard and jumpers with no dogwalk so it's kind of time to beat. And that course was definitely not time to beat. Like so I was fine with it. But I definitely feel like it elevated the expectation of skills for future events.

Like they basically made a statement said like look, we're, we're raising the bar, we're elevating what our expectations and standards might be. You know, here's kind of what what we're doing and you better make sure you have some of these skills. I mean it was in hybrid that you really, you, you had to have either a backside or a throttle right at number three.

I mean you had, you had to, you had to have that option. And then it just presented several other challenges going through that course. There was a, you know, potentially what you'd perceive to be a relatively tricky weave pole entry. You had a second backside coming off of an A frame, you had an A frame, tunnel discrimination, all these things all on one course teeter that needed to be fairly independent all on one course.

So two backsides, lots of stuff to work. So yeah, I thought that was the one that really threw people for a loop. I loved it. People were sending me maps and they were all sending me the hybrid map all at the same time. And I was impressed with the course design. I really liked it. As you mentioned, hybrid tends to be not that tough at AKC nationals.

And I think what what keeps the Q rate down typically in past years has been this, the stress, the nerves, the pressure involved with that being the final run. So everyone that has two clean runs, they're really trying to get that third clean run. If people have busted and they've got one clean and, and one faulted, then they're really going for it to maybe try and get a,

a challenge around spot or they're being very careful to protect a placement that they're sitting on from one of their queues. And so they need to be clean because you need two out of three clean runs to even go to the challenge around. So that's an additional rule that you have there. And so I, I thought it was a welcome change and as you hinted at like maybe this is a new direction that the AKC is going and it is a welcome change to me because we do the N AKC prep every year for people getting ready for that event.

And basically I tell 'em the same thing, it's probably gonna be jumpers that gets you, that is typically the most technical of the three preliminary rounds. But that was not the case this year. So I, I think that was pretty interesting. Jen, do you think that was just a quirk of that judge for that course or was there a directive coming down somewhere along the lines,

now that we have special insider information? I'm, I'm just asking the question, what do you, what do you think It would be interesting to run the Q rate on that jumper course compared to other years? Because even though it seemed a little bit easier and more flowy on paper, I'm not actually sure that I felt like the Q rate was that much higher when all said and done.

And that's just going off of impressions of going over and looking at the scoreboards. I also feel like the new score or the new schedule also changes things a bit. 'cause like you made the comment that a lot of times what gets people in hybrid is it's the third run, but that's been in past years. Remember with the new schedule, the hybrid is not the third run for 50% of the people there.

Ah. So it is the second run for 50% of the people. The third run is jumpers and then vice versa. So like for me, hybrid was my second run with B and I even made the comment to somebody that I was glad that hybrid was my second run and not my third because I knew the third run would carry the most nerves and I wanted the easier course when the nerves were high,

right? And that worked out for me. I ran hybrid and I felt middle of the road, I was like, okay, I wanna clean run, but it was only my second run. I'd only come clean off standard and it was technical and I was working and then when I really got nervous was going into round three and I had that nice flowing jumpers course.

So with the new format, it split as to whether people run jumpers or hybrid is round three. So I don't think we can put nerves in play just on hybrid. And that's why I think maybe the jumpers course, even though the jumpers course may be perception was, was that it was easier for a lot of people. It was the third round.

So nerves did get 'em. I also feel like in jumpers, a lot of times that's just the class of bars watching the 20 inch class, it seemed like I saw so many brilliant runs with just a bar, a bar, a bar. And that tends to be, I feel like very common for the large dogs and jumpers even, even at local shows is it's like,

oh it's the, can they, can they keep their feet up through all that and can they run on the dirt? So I don't know that the Q rate was actually higher. I think the perception of the course was easier, but I think that was just coincidence. I don't think that was coming from anything other than the judge of that course, the designer of that course,

kind of putting their flair flare on things. It had really great flow. So I do think it was a nice flowing course. It was a good one. It was fast, it was a very fast course. People were in and out and I, I liked it. I liked it. I think it was a good balance to go with hybrid.

Right? Yeah. And it, it is really interesting what you mentioned about like half the class jumpers is their third and half the class hybrid is their third. 'cause one of our, our VIP or VIPs had mentioned that to me like a really analytical guy and pointed out that like how does that change things? Because if you don't have any contacts in your third run,

there's not very much that you can do to quote, push, you know, if you need that last run to like either sneak into the last spot or you need a placement in the last run to try to get into challengers round, you know, if it, if your last run is jumpers, you know, there is, there is no, there's not very many ways that you can pick a jumpers.

How hard did you push in the second round if Right, if jumpers is gonna be your third, if you know that like that's where you're gonna make up some time is maybe mean there's Gamesmanship there. Yeah, I I I am glad you mentioned that, Jen, because I was going to ask if the 20 inch class was so large again that they did the thing where half of 'em started jumpers,

half of 'em started standard and then they flip flop it. Oh is what they've done in I believe in past years, right? That now that I can't remember. Did they, did, did half of them start one and then the other? Or did they all do it in the same order This year? It was sort of like a delayed start.

So the order for jumpers and the order for hybrid was the same, but it was a delayed start. So the one ring started at seven 30 and then the next ring started at nine 30. So you kind of like run jumpers and then move over to hybrid and have like a interest, kind of like a delayed right start. So when We say that half the event had hybrid se se second versus third,

we're talking about full heights. Yes. Half the heights had it second Or third, like high fives, round two was jumpers. But these round two being a six inch dog was hybrid. Exactly. Interesting. So I have a question for you on course design. 'cause one thing that I heard some negative feedback on was that we had multiple runs. In fact,

I think you could probably say that all three of the runs with contacts had a pretty significant turn to the teeter. Did, did, did that, was that anything that would that bothered you at all or not really? Or did you notice it? I mean, I would say like all three of the rounds like standard there, there was like a,

a significant turn to the, to the teeter after they came over, like abroad and another jump and challengers, there was like the off course trap of the weaves Sure. And the dogs were going wide. That, that I rather liked, I felt like that was like a a very interesting, yeah, I wanna weigh in after I hear what Jen Says.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn't And then yeah, but I think it was like, it basically, I think people who run like very large strided dogs were like, the dogs are going to land and have to kind of cut back for the teeter. So I wondered if, if that bothered you at all or if you're just like, you know,

that's part of agility is controlling turns like that. I mean, I guess my answer is that it never dawned on me, so it obviously didn't bother me. I'm like, as you said that, as you're saying this and you're talking, I'm tilting my head back and forth going, now what were the courses? And I'm like, oh, huh,

you're right. They all were kind of turns to the teeter. It never dawned on me that they were all similar in that regard. So I guess the answer would be no, it didn't bother me. It didn't affect, I don't know if that was a trend. I, I don't know. Yeah, I mean I guess you're right. It wasn't something that I thought a lot about until this moment.

So, all Right, there you have it. Yeah. All right. You have strong thoughts this Estevan, let's hear 'em. I do. I think you should be able to turn your dog approximately 90 degrees. And I think if any of these were over a spread into the turn, you should probably give your dog that skill set as well. You know,

I don't think it was anything crazy looking at it. There were obviously dogs who turned wide and I think in an era of course design where we have a lot of, we let's let's keep the dog in extension throughout the entirety of the course. I think those were spots where regardless of handler speed, you could do a pretty decent job, whether you're helping them with body language,

motion cues, whatever position, verbal cues that you can and should be able to turn your dog there and, and it should have kind of jumped out at you as the handler, Hey, maybe I have the kind of dog that, you know, I gotta address this turn in some fashion, right? And, and right now, I think in agility there's almost a loss of being able to do the in-between kind of turn like what,

what you might call a soft turn. Now you're not doing a full wrap, everyone can do a full wrap and you're not doing the full extension. Everyone can do that too. And now somehow we've lost some of the degrees in between, which really defined a, a now gone era of agility. So I, I just like, you know, a 90 degree turn every now and then.

And if it's gonna pass some dogs 2, 3, 4 tenths of a second because they can't make a good turn there, like, to me that is a handling issue. Right. All right. Well I wanted to interrupt and ask my one question that I've been sitting on is, you know, I I was not able to watch as much of the event as I wanted.

I saw a little bit of the 20 inch and a little bit of the 16 inch around Jen's run with B but in looking at the results without having watched everything, so I I freely acknowledged that I've not not watched all the dogs run. I think just based on the results alone, the finals course was too easy. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna put that out there.

Jen, what do you think? Well, first let me give you my empirical empirical data. So I'm not even going to address preferred just because there, there are fewer dogs there. But if we look at the regular high classes, eight inches, we had seven out of 11 clean over 50%, and usually eight inch. I'm okay with that being a little above 50%.

And if you, if you're asking me, well, what should the QA be for a big final in anything? I'm gonna say anywhere between, I, I definitely don't want it over 50 forties. I'm already like that. That's a little too easy. I kind of mentally shoot for thirties and what's too low? I think probably anything under, I would say maybe 15%.

Right? That might be too low. And so I'm going to err on the side of like, I would like to see, would like to see, right? I, I would like to see some differences because what I don't wanna have happen is class after class where the dogs are separated by just tense of a second, right? Where luck might be a factor where measurement error of the laser eyes could decide a,

a national champion, right? I, I don't wanna see that. And so we're talking about seven 11 in eight inch, 12 inch, you're looking at, what is that, nine out of 12? Is that 75%? That's ridiculous. And then 16 inch nine out of 15, right? What is that? 60%? So these, these are insane.

And then you get to the 20 inch class, which was the biggest 25 dogs, and there were 15 clean runts, right? These are all well over 50%. And then the last height 24 inch, that's six out of eight, another 75% clean run rate. So just, I'm just looking at these stats and, and y'all, I think, I think it was too easy.

I think it was too easy. So which one of you wants to provide the, the, the, the rebuttal? I think you could say it was easier than past years for sure. Just based on the data from that as far as being too easy. I it had, it was, I don't know, I, I haven't thought about it.

I did not walk it and think to myself, this course is too easy. The results as you're reading them off, you're right, seem a bit higher than what I'd expect in the finals. Maybe it just means teams are getting better, being able to handle the mental management. I'm trying to think. The course itself, it basically called for three side changes,

which I would have to look up what the, the rules of AKC master's courses are. I will say that generally we look at the finals course as being a bit trickier than the average master's course at trial, right? I mean, we did the podcast with Heather last year and talked about all the uniqueness that her course presented. I would say that this finals course very much matched what I would see as a master's course at a trial.

So I guess maybe as a person who does a fair amount of AKC, that's why when I walked it, I didn't think, oh, this is too easy, or Oh, this is too hard. I walked it thought, oh, okay, this is an AKC master standard course without the table, we've got three side changes. The flow seems very reasonable,

but if we wanna go with the idea that a final score should maybe be a little bit harder, then maybe we should be testing a little bit more handling. I didn't think that course tested as much handling. If we look at the actual faults that occurred, maybe were more occurred and they were more skilled, you know, coming off of, not to take away from AKC wrap up,

but coming off of the US Open where we had almost the complete opposite effect where nobody was going clean in the finals and it seemed incredibly demotivating and demoralizing and not fun for anybody that was there. Not fun for anybody that was watching dogs and handlers that were leaving because they were so over faced that wasn't fun. So maybe it was like a, an attempt to counterbalance that and say,

okay, well nobody enjoyed when everybody made mistakes and there were so many faulted runs and then it was taken over the other way. So if the idea that a final score should be maybe a bit more elevated, a bit more unique and a bit more challenging, then I would say this course was not hard enough. If we say that a final score should match the AKC master standard rules,

then I would say it was it, it did do that. All right, I'm gonna, I'm gonna provide a little bit of counterpoint because I do agree that it was not super technical, it wasn't super technically difficult, but what I do think that this course did have is it had a lot of opportunities to reward handlers who were able to do it better than the other handlers.

So like I, I think that some of the tricky areas of this course, oh, I see that's true. People like stumbled through and they were still clean, but then the dogs that were really fluent in the skill had an advantage because they could get through that part faster. So I think that the part after the teeter, I think was a spot where there were some people that kind of struggled through and made it,

but their dogs had some questions about where they were going and you know, there's some barking, some head checking and all of that. And then there were some people that just had this beautiful skill where, you know, they just sailed through that part, they're gonna be rewarded. And then I think that we didn't see a lot of faults coming out of the 11 tunnel.

That's the first tunnel they take after the weaves, and it was the big long tunnel and all the handlers had to decide what they were gonna do on the exit of the tunnel. And I feel like we did not see very many faults there, but I do think that handlers were probably spent a, a, a decent amount of their walkthrough, like agonizing over exactly what they wanted to do there and how they were going to do it and what the fastest line was for their dog.

And, and so I think the ability to choose the right thing for your dog and to, to execute like a nice tight path was tested there. So I think the tests were more about like, can you do it fluidly quickly and with good tight lines than they were, can you get through here without an off course? They were not off course traps,

they were more like Interesting Yeah. Fluid traps that yeah, that, and it did run really, really fast. Which I thought was, I was gonna Ask you, is the fact that it's televised, do you think that had an impact on the course design? I feel like it must have, You know, we talked to, And I'm not saying that again,

so saying that the Q rate's a little high, maybe the courses are are too easy. I'm not saying that that's necessarily a bad thing, right? So I, I wanna be clear there, and I'm not saying at all that it's a bad course. The, the course is actually quite good. It's very, Very, There were a couple of spots that I really,

really liked, including the rear where so many dogs got pushed off. Right, the turn before the rear, exactly. And people didn't set it up properly. So based on our discussion last year with Heather Dickinson, I would say that no, they do not exert a ton of influence for the televised final. I think that the judges, you know,

I'm sure that they're aware, but they, it did not sound like there was like a lot of restrictions being placed on them. I think that this one went for flow and I think it definitely succeeded from that perspective. And then I, okay, go ahead. Sorry. Esteban has a thought. No, no, I, i, I kind of,

what prompted this was in looking at the results, especially in the 20 inch class, right? There was the Perry and Witt who won it, right? Yep. But nine one thousands. Yeah, not one hundreds, right? And most trials, it goes out two digits past the decimal, right? So you, you run a dog and you're 29.5322

digits there, five three, and that's to the hundreds. But at nationals they go to the thousands, right? And that, that's what was needed to separate the winners here. Nine one thousands, right? That's less than a hundredth of a second separating these two dogs. And those are the situations I think you can avoid with course design. I think maybe one thing that you could do to do it is put a very ambiguous,

not easy to figure out choice of which way to maybe turn a dog or a bidirectional obstacle or something like that. And if you always make sure something like that is in there, you're gonna get a, a much more variation, more variation in, in handling. I'm, I'm glad you brought that up because it reminds me of something that we didn't talk about in the course design.

We'll just talk about it right here in the middle is because Jen and I were talking with Abby as well, and we were surprised that there were no choices in the courses in any of the rounds because we did this n AKC prep and we looked at the judges that's, We were getting ready for this And There was just getting everyone ready for It. Choice,

choice, choice, choice, choice. All five judges, wrap, wrap, all these wraps. Wraps, yeah, lots of wraps. All five judges had wrap choices in their courses in the past year or two, you know, multiple ones. And we were like, you are going to have a wrap choice at some point in nationals. You need to know which way is fastest for your dog.

We're timing people on, on which way is faster. And there wasn't a single wrap choice in any of the rounds, so I thought that was amusing. But, but anyway, back to, to finals. I think that is, I I think that is an approach I didn't mind. Like it's not like all of the runs were super tight. I thought for that one particular one I like as a spectator,

it added a lot of excitement. Like we were literally in the stands surrounded by agility people, right? And when, when the, when Soda pop ran, they got second wit had already put down her time and everybody was like, you know, we don't bother remembering numbers to the, the thousands, right? Everybody in the stands was like, oh,

what was, you know, 29.5 and then soda pop was also 29.5 and we're like, what was it, 0.5, what? You know, and everybody's like, and nobody quite knew how, how much to cheer. Like nobody knew if she had won or not. And we were all like, I looked it up on my phone, but of course the wifi is horrible and everything and we just kind of had to wait and it was kind of like everybody gave like a medium applause,

more applause than you would for, you know, just any run, but maybe a little bit less than you would for a champion. It was kind of like, yeah, you know, like we didn't know you know, what to do, right? So I, I thought it kind of was exciting. I thought it was exciting that it was that close.

And I think I love the fact that we have, like, to me it's justification for the fact that we have electronic eyes doing the timing is justification for the fact that we don't have a table at nationals and now we won't have one at regular trials either, right? We're getting rid of all of these subjective elements that can affect the time and letting the fastest time when and if the fastest time is only nine one thousandths of a second,

it is still the fastest time and that's your winner. Okay. I think I'm gonna think about that a little bit. I think you might have talked me into moderating my position. All right, so now it was a good course. Course. Yeah, it was a good course to Be clear, to be clear. I I like the course design.

Yeah. So now as we get towards the end of this podcast, we will talk through the winners of the National Agility Champion Championship and we will start with the preferred class. The four inch preferred winner was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Zoom run by Antonio Rotel. And this was one of your challenge round into finals into the champion title winners. So Zoom came in through the challenge round and then ended up winning the entire event.

It Was also a win for her. Alright, so we have a, the Second year in a row. Yep. For Zoom. All right, fantastic. We're seeing more and more of those. I think we just have a lot of amazing talent in the agility community here In 2024, in the eight inch preferred class, Tinkerbell and English Cocker Spaniel run by Tim Panari won that class.

And the 16 inch preferred was Monkey Joe and All American Run by Naji Burko in the 16 inch preferred class gambit Abor Collie run by Adriana Noad. And then in the 20 inch Preferred Class Gator, a laboratory retriever run by Rachel Evers. So congratulations to all the preferred national Agility champions. Then in the regular class in the eight inch we have Chelsea, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi run by Janelle,

Julian Sunday, the All American run by Angie Bisto Zula, the Challenge round winner and Bad Dog Agility sponsored athlete and junior handler, a bor Collie run by Jada Sani. And then as we said before, wit run by Perry Witt Witt is a border Collie won by nine 1000th of a second for a repeat win. So they were the defending champion. And in the 24 inch class Sterling,

we marner run by Lori Barbie. And I just had to point out for the 24 inch class, I love this class because of the variety of the dogs that are in it. And there was only one dog breed that was a repeat in the class and it was not Border Collie. We used to say back in the day that Border Collie dominated 16,

20 and 24. But it was not the Border Collie that was a repeat breed, it was a marran. There were two Weimaraners and then everything else was a different breed. So I thought that was like a really cool little thing. We had a Vila w Marran Gold Retriever poodle, one more wine marran, border Collie, Belgian Shep sheep dog, and a whippet.

So that was the 24 inch class. We also had a pretty even mix of females and male dogs. It wasn't 50 50, but when I looked at the regular round winners, if four of the five of them are female dogs wit being the only boy. But then when we add in the preferred dogs, it's a pretty even mix. So, you know,

people always ask that all the time, is it, is it better to have a male or a female? And this year we've proven out a lot of breed variety and some variety on male female as well, which I, I love to see all the variety on stuff and also some men in there. I think that was a conversation I read on Facebook as well.

More men in the more men winning, which is always good to see as well. Yeah, that's true. We used to think of this as, we used to ask like, why are there not more men in agility? And I feel like it is trending up. So that is good for the sport. So congratulations to all of the Preferred National Agility Champions,

all the new national Agility champions. And that will do it For this week's podcast, we'd like to thank our sponsors, St. Rocco's Treats and hit aboard.com. Check out the Teeter TeachIt only@hitaboard.com. The Teeter TeachIt is 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 aboard.com. Happy training. Thank you for listening to Bad Dog Agility. We hope you enjoyed today's episode. For more information updates and links to all our socials, just check out our website, www.baddogagility.com.

If you haven't already signed up for our email subscription, we would love to have you join the BDA community. Until next time, take care. Geology rocks, but geography is where it's at.

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