May 3, 2023

May 3rd, 2023 Wednesday Wrap Up (AKC FCI AWC team selection, the habit advantage)

Got Habits?
Last night we started our webinar series “From Good Habits to Great Agility”. Over 300 people joined us live, but if you missed it you can still catch the replay HERE:

Join us Thursday night at 6 pm CDT for part 2.

For people who were at part 1, I took this picture from my minivan’s GPS yesterday after the webinar!

[PHOTO]: Unprompted, my GPS is able to predict that I’m taking my daughter to the pool for practice.

On Last Week’s Episode…
An astute reader sent me a hilarious and witty explanation of conformation at Crufts:

My favorite part of the discussion:
“And tell me, will the dogs at any point be called upon to DO anything?”
“On no account! No, the temperament, abilities, or character of the dog will be entirely irrelevant. Our sole interest will be in selecting the dog most like the picture of a dog, drawn by us.”
“But what can a dog or owner possibly do to make the dog look more like the picture?”

American Kennel Club Team Selection for the FCI Agility World Championship
This year’s AWC will be held in the Czech Republic, and for the first time ever, there will be four jump heights instead of three. The top three dogs in each jump height win automatic spots to compete at the event, representing the United States. The final remaining member and alternates in each height will be selected by the Coach and Team Leader at a later date. A special shout out to Roma Hunter and her Border Collie Sapphire as they were the only team to run clean (without time faults) in all 4 rounds of the event, in any height. Special congrats to Bad Dog Agility Instructor Jennifer Crank and Sponsored Athlete Sarah Baker for earning spots on the Medium height team! Also, congratulations to all of the teams who won their spot this weekend:

Small Dog

  • Diane Patterson and Sheltie Happy (1st, 1st, 2nd, 5th)
  • Marco Giavoni and Sheltie Bet (2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 14th)
  • Han Yu and Poodle Skye (4th, 9th, 12th, 1st)


  • Sarah Baker and English Cocker Spaniel Skeptic (8th, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd)
  • Jennifer Crank and Sheltie Bee (3rd, 1st, 13th, 3rd)
  • Abbey Beasley and Sheltie Swindle (1st, 2nd, 7th, 14th)


  • Emily Klarman and Border Collie Vanish (1st, 8th, 8th, 1st)
  • Casey Keller and Border Collie Liri (4th, 14th, 2nd, 2nd)
  • Bod Daigle and Border Collie Blew Bayou (14th, 5th, 1st, 3rd)


  • Roma Hunter and Border Collie Sapphire (1st, 2nd, 9th, 6th)
  • Megan Miller and Border Collie Maeraki (4th, 3rd, 44th, 23rd)
  • Perry DeWitt and Border Collie Wit (32nd, 7th, 2nd, 9th)

The AKC Team Selection Process
“And tell me, will the fourth and final dog in each height division also be chosen based on their results at World Team Tryouts?”
“Yes and no. Yes, the dog will be chosen by the Coach and Team Leader based upon scores from World Team Tryouts. No, because we will also take into account major ISC classes, all classes at AKC Nationals, and the team’s competition results at regular competitions.”
“Then will dogs who try out for the team be required to attend AKC Nationals or enter ISC at Nationals?
“No, of course not.”
“Then how can a handler know the standard by which the selection of the fourth team member will be made?”
“They can’t. We never tell them. You see, for the fourth member of the team, their actual performance at World Team Tryouts matters less than for the first three team members. Rather, our sole interest will be in selecting the dog most like the picture of an agility dog suitable for the FCI Agility World Championship, as determined by the Coach and Team Leader.”
“But what can a handler possibly do to make the dog look more like the picture?”
“Nothing, because we aren’t entirely sure of the standard and our whims change from year to year, but we’ll know it when we see it.”
“I see.”

They Almost Made It/Might Still Make It
Congratulations and good luck to the following dogs who finished 4th place and would make the team if all four positions were selected by the same process that was good enough to select the first three team members in each height—May the Fourth be with you:

  • Small: Jen Pinder and Wicca
  • Medium: Deb Schulman and Trek
  • Intermediate: Chris Tucci and Serengeti
  • Large: Perry DeWitt and Genuine, Alice Cinotto and Mystery (since Perry has already won an automatic spot, by rule one of her two dogs would become an alternate, and Alice would become the fourth team member).

ChatGPT 4.0 Weighs in on the AKC FCI AWC Team Selection Process:
I let ChatGPT read the premium and asked for its opinion.
“While the selection process for a four-person dog team for the AKC to compete at the FCI Agility World Championship has its merits, there are some negative points to consider:

Subjectivity: The selection process relies on the Coach and Team Leader to choose the remaining team members and alternates for each height based on a variety of factors. This introduces an element of subjectivity, which could lead to potential biases or favoritism.

Inconsistency: The selection process considers scores from multiple events, including WTT, Major ISC classes, AKC Nationals, and regular competitions. The varying difficulty levels, course designs, and judging standards across these events might make it difficult to compare performances consistently.

Lack of requirement to attend specific events: As stated, it is not a requirement to attend AKC Nationals or to enter ISC at Nationals or to enter 24 inches for large dogs at that event. This might lead to some teams not participating in these events, potentially making the selection process less comprehensive and less competitive.

Limited spots: With only three dog/handler teams from each height division guaranteed a spot on the team based on their WTT performance, there may be cases where strong competitors are left out due to a single bad performance or other unforeseen circumstances during WTT.

Pressure on Coach and Team Leader: The selection process places a significant amount of responsibility on the Coach and Team Leader to make the final decisions on team members and alternates. This can be a high-pressure situation that might lead to stress and potential conflicts of interest.

Lack of transparency: While the selection process is based on several factors, the criteria used to weigh these factors might not be entirely transparent. This could lead to confusion and potential disagreements among competitors and the broader agility community.

Overall, while the selection process aims to create a competitive and diverse team, these negative points may impact the fairness and transparency of the process.”

Thoughts? As always, you can reach me at

Happy Training,

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