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USDAA Message
By Kenneth Tatsch

USDAA President

Here at USDAA, the fourth quarter has been one of the busiest ever with the IFCS Continental Championship of the Americas (CCOA) and USA Team selection trials following the 2014 Cynosport World Games by only a few weeks.

Our USA Team selection for the 2015 IFCS World Agility Championships was finalized following the IFCS CCOA/USA Team Selection Trials in Perry, Georgia. Point winners, combined from this event and Cynosport World Games in Morgan Hill, have been invited to compete April 8-12, 2015, in Voghera, Italy, near Milan.

We are pleased to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones as we return to Europe seeking to improve on our 2014 IFCS World Results. Andy Mueller, who won nine medals in 2014, will return, along with Daneen Fox, Linda Womer, Janet Dunn, Monique Plinck, Giuliana Lund, Marcy Mantell, Mike Padgett, Abigail Beasley, Tracy Sklenar, Greg Fontaine, Dave Grubel, Stacy Peardot-Goudy, Jeannine Doepke, Laurie Zurborg, Desiree Snelleman, Deanna Fairchild, Elicia Calhoun, Dudley Fontaine, and Jody Lolich. Alternates are Courtney Keys, Keith Highley, Cynthia Hornor, and Jessica Ajoux. Good luck, Team USA!

Also adding to our busy schedule has been the relocation of USDAA offices to nearby Plano, Texas. Please be sure to make note of our new physical address at 720 F Avenue, Suite 103, Plano, TX 75074. Our mailing address at our post office box in nearby Richardson, Texas remains unchanged, but be sure to update your records for any package shipments to our physical address. The physical address can also be found on the USDAA website home page.

We at USDAA wish you a happy and safe holiday season, and best wishes for a wonderful new year!

Event Report: Continental Championship of Americas
By Brenna Fender

The 2014 Continental Championship of the Americas (CCOA) took place from November 20-23 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. The event provided international competition on IFCS-style courses and a chance for interested competitors to win their way onto the 2015 IFCS World Agility Championships Team USA.

The long agility weekend begain with a USDAA trial on Thursday which provided opportunities to earn qualifying legs toward USDAA titles. It also served as a warm-up day for competitors who were entered in the main event, which began on Friday morning. Tim Laubach from Texas and Rafael Quinones from Puerto Rico judged Thursday's event.

Blake Stafford from North Carolina and Quinones presided over the main event. The courses were very challenging. Several classes had tricky weave pole entries, off-course tunnel options, and other sequences that required precise timing and athleticism. The classes were very exciting to watch for competitors, spectators, and viewers of the live stream!

The Biathlon Agility class, run on Sunday, was one of the most challenging and exciting of the weekend.

The CCOA offered several chances to medal, through indivdual events (Agility Standard, Agility Jumping, Agility Gamblers, Agility Snooker, and Individual All-Around), the Biathlon (combined scores from Standard Biathlon and Jumping Biathlon) and Team Triathlon (three-dog teams ranked on scores of Standard Team Triathlon, Jumping Team Triathlon, and Team Relay). The Team competition was particularly exciting in that teams were assigned at the event based on scores from Thursday's Biathlon classes.

Also exciting was the naming of the 2015 IFCS World Agility Championships team, which will represent the USA in April in Milan, Italy. While four team members had already been selected from their performances at the 2014 Cynosport World Games (and four previous medalists were invited to join the team), the rest of the team was chosen based on points (earned in specific classes) obtained exclusively at the CCOA or at a combination of CCOA and Cynosport. Congratulations to the 2015 IFCS World Agility Championships Team USA:

Andy Mueller and Crackers
Linda Womer and Super Sonic
Janet Dunn and Torment
Monique Plinck and Tiki
Daneen Fox and Masher
Alternate for Super Sonic* - Linda Womer and Frenzi
Alternate for team - Courtney Keys and Francine

Marcy Mantell and Stripe
Mike Padgett and Elsie
Abigail Beasley and Dreamer
Tracy Sklenar and Export
Giuliana Lund and Zuri
Alternate - Keith Highley and Cisco

Greg Fontaine and Spice
Dave Grubel and Boca
Stacy Peardot-Goudy and SoBe
Jeannine Doepke and Jill
Laurie Zurborg and Gem
Alternate - Cynthia Horner and Spice

Deanna Fairchild and Jude
Elicia Calhoun and Tobie
Dudley Fontaine and Bird
Jody Lolich and Skillz
Desiree Snelleman and Pace
Alternate - Jessica Ajoux and Fame (US)

*IFCS only allows one handler per team. Linda Womer earned the alternate spot with Frenzi, but Frenzi may only replace Super Sonic because Linda can't have more than one dog on the team.

Most of the 2015 IFCS World Agility Championships Team USA were present at the CCOA. We are happy to have them representing the USA next spring!

For detailed results, courses, and photos from the 2014 Championship of the Americas, visit

Training Corner: Have a Nice Day!
By Elizabeth Dott

This "Have a Nice Day" course is the fourth in an ongoing series using the same course layout (read parts 1-3 on This course is set up to work on threadles and serpentines. A threadle is a two-or-more jump series in which the dog must "thread" between jumps to take each subsequent jump from the same side. A serpentine is a three-or-more jump series in which a dog takes the jumps in an S-shape, alternating take-off sides.

We begin with the jump in front of the tunnel which takes us into our threadle. There are several ways to successfully do a threadle. You can work it from the inside by staying on the take-off side of #2 and staying on the inside path, bringing your dog through the gap. The best way to do this is to turn into your dog using your left hand to bring them through the gap. Your position is very important. How far you bring your dog in is equally important. You may have to experiment to find what position works best for your dog.

When you first begin this segment, you will send your dog with your right hand and bring him through the gap with your left, rewarding them with a cookie for coming in. Then turn and release dog over jump #3 with your right hand. You can do this all the way through the treadle.

Another way to do a threadle is to use one hand and back through your threadle moving backwards. You still want to bring your dog in, but you use your left hand like you are drawing with a pen through the entire process. Draw your dog's path in and out from #2 through #4 while you walk backwards.

You can also do a threadle from the landing side of #2. You would drive through #2 and pick your dog up after he lands. Then use pressure and motion to push your dog through the gap to #3 and #4.

I have even seen people work threadles by driving in to the landing side of each jump using front crosses (turning in towards their dogs) to get their dog through the gap.

Can you find another way to do these threadles?

Read more about threadles and serpentines.

USDAA would like to welcome the following new course reviewers:

Peggy Hammond
Les Sanders
Tim Verrelli

They join Stuart Mah, Marty Gadsby, Frank Holik, Janet Gauntt, Mark Wirant, Mike Wagner, Sheri Boone, Scott Chamberlain, Paul Stolzenburg, Tim Laubach, and Kenneth Tatsch on our course review team. We thank them for their part in making USDAA courses great!

In addition, USDAA has updated its course design guidelines: Statement on Course Design Guidelines, Version 1.9.

Dogs Prefer Petting to Being Praised
By Claudia Bensimoun

Are we connecting with our dogs in the right way? In a recent study, Dr. Erica N. Feuerbacher from University of Florida and Dr. Clive Wynne from the Arizona State University, two canine cognition behaviorists and experts, examined what our furry best friends preferred most: petting or verbal praise. They also studied whether a stranger's touch had the same effect on dogs as being petted by their owners. In this study, shelter dogs, owned dogs with strangers, and owned dogs with their owners were tested during numerous sessions together. This study is published in Behavioral Processes.

The two behaviorists worked at the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University to study 42 dogs of different breeds and mixes, as well as rescue dogs, to determine if the dogs prefer petting or praise. They also examined whether dogs preferred being petted by their owner or by strangers.

In the first part of the testing, both the researchers studied how individual dogs got along with two people in a room. The dog was petted by one person while another person praised the dog verbally. Both the researchers then compared the amount of time that each dog spent with each person.

In the other half of the study, 72 rescue and pet dogs were used to research petting and verbal praise response. In this case, one dog was walked into a room with one person inside. The rescue dogs had a stranger and the dogs' owners with them in the room. Here interactions between both the dog and person were studied and then recorded. This took place during three-minute increments, and took place over eight times.

Kitty loves being petted by Adam Keys. Photo courtesy of Courtney Keys.


The researchers found that dogs enjoyed being touched and petted much more than being praised verbally. Dr. Wynne, well known for his work on canine cognition at Arizona State University says that dogs seem to show more interest in the person touching them than in the person verbally praising or talking to them. Results demonstrate that dogs enjoy being petted regardless of who is doing the petting. Dr. Feuerbacher also mentioned in her research that dogs have a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure when petted. Nonetheless, research from a previous study does show that there is one thing that dogs do prefer: eating.

So next time you're thinking of rewarding your dog, try giving him a nice pat and treat instead of a "Good dog!" Read more.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Watch out for these events with entries closing in the coming weeks:
Dates Host Group Location Closing Date
12/26-12/29/2014 Dog Gone Fun TX Spring, TX 12/12
12/27-12/29/2014 Greater St. Louis Agility Club Glen Carbon, IL 12/12
12/27-12/28/2014 Penn-Ohio Agility Edinboro, PA 12/13
12/27-12/28/2014 Mid-Atlantic MADness Harmans, MD 12/13
12/27-12/28/2014 Saguaro Scramblers Tucson, AZ 12/13
12/27-12/29/2014 Sirius Dog Agility Training Center Perry, GA 12/14
01/02-01/04/2015 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 12/17
01/02-01/04/2015 IncrediPAWS Pataskala, OH 12/19
01/02-01/04/2015 Synergy Dog Sports Mt Vernon, WA 12/19
12/27-12/28/2014 Contact Sports Agility New Berlin, WI 12/19
01/01-01/04/2015 Good Dog Agility Club Tempe, AZ 12/22
01/02-01/04/2015 Tails in Motion Ham Lake, MN 12/23
01/10-01/11/2015 Salinas-Monterey Agility Racing Team Morgan Hill, CA 12/26
01/09-01/11/2015 Magic City Canine Club Birmingham, AL 12/27
01/09-01/11/2015 Front Range Agility Club (FRAC) Longmont, CO 12/29
01/16-01/18/2015 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 12/31
01/09-01/11/2015 Carolina Piedmont Agility Raleigh, NC 12/31
01/10-01/11/2015 Lucky Dog Promotions Tyler, TX 12/31
01/17-01/18/2015 North Alabama Canine Cruisers Huntsville, AL 01/02
01/17-01/19/2015 The Bay Team Santa Rosa, CA 01/02
01/16-01/18/2015 Dog-On-It Agility Club of Cent. Florida Winter Park, FL 01/03
01/10-01/11/2015 DASH K9 Sports Campton Hills, IL 01/03
01/17-01/18/2015 Low Country Dog Agility Charleston, SC 01/03
01/16-01/18/2015 Las Vegas Dogs in Competitive Events (LV DICE) Boulder City, NV 01/05
01/17-01/18/2015 Boone County Dog Sport New Berlin, WI 01/05
01/16-01/18/2015 Highest Hope Dog Sports Grand Blanc, MI 01/07
01/24-01/25/2015 Happy Hounds Agility Team McKinney, TX 01/07
01/24-01/25/2015 Redhot Rovers Auburn, WA 01/10
01/24-01/25/2015 DrivenDogs Agility Somis, CA 01/12
01/24-01/25/2015 Canine Sports Zone Middleton, WI 01/13
01/30-02/01/2015 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 01/14
02/06-02/08/2015 Pawsitive Partners Dog Training Center Indianapolis, IN 01/16
02/07-02/08/2015 Boom Towne Canine Campus Farmington, NY 01/18
01/31-02/01/2015 Contact Sports Agility Campton Hills, IL 01/18
01/30-02/01/2015 4 PAWS Agility Holly Springs, MS 01/19
01/30-02/01/2015 Minnesota Agility Club Ham Lake, MN 01/21
02/06-02/08/2015 Sonlight Ranch LLC Brooksville, FL 01/23
02/07-02/08/2015 Southwest Agility Team Los Lunas, NM 01/23
02/06-02/08/2015 Agile Dogs Agility Training Greenwich, NY 01/26
02/13-02/15/2015 SureFire Dogs Training Center Westborough, MA 01/30

Questions? Mail - USDAA, PO Box 850955, Richardson, TX 75085; Call - (972) 487 - 2200; Email -

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