October 4, 2017

The Bad Dog Agility Weekly for October 4, 2017

News, commentary, and training tips for the dog agility enthusiast.

Welcome to the first edition of the BDA Weekly! I write, you read, you tell me what a great job I’m doing, and I feel better about skipping the gym today. Let’s get to our first topic:

The FCI Agility World Championship in Liberec, Czech Republic

Where was Czechoslovakia again?

My fellow Americans, Czechoslovakia no longer exists! It turns out that Czechoslovakia divided peacefully into two different nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, way back on January 1st, 1993. I bring this to your attention because in a 2012 podcast, I mistakenly placed the AWC in Czechoslovakia. Thankfully, I’m not the only American who sucks at geography.

Over the years, the AWC has become my favorite world championship event because of the difficulty of the courses and the attendance of nearly all of the best handler-dog teams in the world. I say “nearly all” because mixed breeds are not permitted to compete and the limit of 4 dogs per height per country means some top contenders are left at home each year.

Judges Mirja Lapanja (Slovenia) and Petr Pupík (Czech Republic) have been tasked with designing and judging the courses that will eventually find their way into the training fields of agility competitors around the world. The AWC starts on Thursday, October 5, 2017. You can follow the results and action on the official AWC website. There will also be a livestream (sorry, it’s not free) for die hard fans willing to put up with time zone differences and intermittent technical difficulties.

The Masters Agility Championship at Westminster

Me at Westminster, with Gitchi and her co-owner Susan Fraser. I look good.
Here in America, competitors are buzzing about the new $10,000 prize. The premium for the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster is now available, and it says a donation of $10,000.00 will be made in the Master Agility Champions’ name to the Agility Club of their choice, or the American Kennel Club (AKC) Humane Fund.

For agility clubs looking to send their best handlers and dogs to New York to win all the $$$, slow down. You’ll need to send your fastest 20” dogs because through a quirk of the scoring, the Master Agility Champion will probably always be a 20” dog. As many small and large breed dog lovers know, agility is a sport custom-made for a medium-sized dog. From the premium:

“The overall Master Championship Round Score will be calculated by taking the Championship Course Yardage for the dog’s true jump height divided by the dog’s Championship Round Score (which is calculated using dog’s running time plus any course or time faults.) for the 1st place dogs of each jump height. The highest result will determine the overall WKC Master Champion. For example, a dog with a Championship Round Score of 39.23 and a Course Yardage of 112 yards then the dog’s Master Championship Score would be 2.85.”

This will be the 5th iteration of this event, which will be covered by Fox Sports 1, although the approximately 2-hour Final will be aired the following evening. Every year, Westminster makes this event a little bit better–it should be on every competitor’s agility bucket list. I had the privilege of attending and making the televised live Final two years ago, and the experience was fantastic, even though my minivan was eerily swarmed by zombie-like Manhattan pedestrians as I finished the drive from Texas to New York City.

Westminster is just as important to dog agility as a national championship or invitational event because of the exposure our sport receives through television as well as the Westminster media machine. I have worked with several beginners who started agility because they saw Westminster on Fox Sports 1. I think most agility people can agree that bringing new people into the sport is vital for its continued success.

The event takes place on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Entries open on November 29, 2017 at 7:00 AM and if you don’t get your entry in on the first day, you’re not going to get in.

BDA’s New Dogwalk
After years of fine service, we retired our dogwalk. In the last few years, there’s been an explosion of contact equipment manufacturers. How to choose one?

Dogwalks are very important to me because my current golden retriever has running contacts, which help her compete with younger, faster dogs at big events who don’t have running contacts. While a good price is always important, I value stability above all else. A bouncy dogwalk can make teaching a running contact a training nightmare. After all, it’s the inherent instability of the teeter that makes it a very difficult and anxiety-provoking obstacle for many dogs. Who wants a shaky dogwalk? Not me.

As you can see in the video below, Gitchi enjoys the stability of our new dogwalk, and we enjoy the ease with which you can move it around the yard–it takes just one person and no extraordinary physical strength.

This is not an advertisement for Paw Power Agility Equipment, but I’m happy with the product thus far, and so I’m sharing with you.

Questions or Comments?
Send them to sarahandesteban@baddogagility.com and give me a few days to get back to you. If there’s any topic you think people would find interesting, let us know. See you next week, unless I make it to the gym…

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