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USDAA Message
By Kenneth Tatsch

USDAA President

2014 marks a milestone for several USDAA groups: 25 years of hosting USDAA events. Dallas Agility Working Group in Texas, Pawprints Agility Club in Louisiana, New England Agility Team, and Canine Combustion in Michigan all had their 25th USDAA anniversaries previously. Last month, I had the distinguished pleasure to attend the Canine Agility Training Society (CATS) show in New Hampshire where they celebrated their history, and I also joined West Valley Dog Sports for their milestone event July 12-13. Rainier Agility Team in Washington will also be having their 25th anniversary this year.  

The years 1986–1990 marked the infancy of USDAA and dog agility in North America. USDAA groups formed during this time shared our vision to bring dog agility to the United States and helped to set the stage for the sport's growth. They became the template for those to follow in the coming decade and beyond.

It was a time when there were no titling programs; the focal point of the sport was USDAA's Grand Prix of Dog Agility®, which started in 1988. There were only three jump heights (12", 21", and 30"), dogs in all jump heights competed against each other, the A-frame was 6'3" for all, weave poles were 18" apart from center to center, and the tire had a 15" aperture. As with all sports, dog agility continues to evolve to accommodate the needs of the times, while maintaining a steadfast core belief in dog agility as a test of a dog's agility and the human aspects of competitive sport.  

Each of USDAA's early groups were truly pioneers that shared the USDAA vision to see an exciting new sport come to fruition in the United States and play a role in its growth on the world stage. The CATS event in June was a stark reminder of the impact dog agility can have on people's lives. When visiting with CATS members, I could see that one of their most valuable rewards in dog agility is friendship. Those joining such a club find a welcome home to share their love for dogs and sport. And over time, their relationships can become an integral part of everyday life sharing the good times as well as providing mutual support in the bad. That factor has certainly been a motivating force for me in forging forward through the years. Such relationships are energizing and are key to keeping everything in perspective in life as we continue to grow.

For this reason, it is important that we remember our history and recognize those who have contributed to the sport at either at a local, regional, or national level and their efforts that have helped to advance our sport. We formed the Hall of Fame back in the 1990s, and have not made any special inductions in more than five years. As agility continues to grow and evolve, so should the Hall of Fame.

As a matter of noteworthy achievements, all competitors and their dogs that have received a Lifetime Achievement Award, been designated as a Tournament Champion, or have ranked in the Annual Top Ten Awards are automatically inducted into the Hall of Fame each year. Other categories of inductees are:

•    The Pioneers of Dog Agility award, which includes individuals or groups that have contributed to the sport of dog agility with lasting, significant results.
•    The Meritorious Service Award, which is for individuals who have contributed significant volunteer hours to USDAA and/or its licensed groups. This includes both behind-the-scenes and high profile contributions of dedicated service that resulted in notable, measurable advancement of the sport.
•    The Years of Service Award is being added to recognize groups and individuals who have consistently been active with hosting USDAA events. Milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years will be recognized.
•    The "Special Recognition" category will also be added for dogs and humans competing at any level (Championship, Performance, Veterans, Intro, or Junior Handlers) who have gone above and beyond in community service and/or have overcome physical or behavioral challenges that may inspire others.

We need your help for nominations. Obviously, we aren't able to attend every show, but we do know there continue to be people all over the country who make a positive mark on the sport and USDAA. If you know someone who should be considered for induction into USDAA's Hall of Fame, please complete the Dog Agility Hall of Fame nomination form, which can be found in the Forms & Documents Library at www.usdaa.com.

We're excited to present these updated awards at this year's Cynosport World Games in Morgan Hill!

Event Report: Riverside Canine Center of New Hampshire
By John Marcus

In the summer of 2013, Riverside Canine Center trial co-chairs Val Duff, Joan Lawson, and John and Lisa Marcus were brainstorming about the four USDAA trials they host each year in Rhode Island. One result of this activity was the incentives for new competitors that are now being adopted by other clubs around the country to encourage people to try USDAA agility. These include registration discounts, mentoring, games tutorials, and special crating areas.


Local competitors Cindy and Delaney Ratner share Gamblers tips with new and experienced competitors before the general briefing on Friday morning. Photo courtesy of John Marcus.

One of Riverside's trial weekends is Memorial Day, and the co-chairs agreed that for 2014 it would be a good idea to try a "Not-Memorial-Day trial" running Friday through Sunday. This would ease traffic concerns travelling to and from the trial and it would allow competitors to attend three days and have non-agility time available (*gasp*) to commemorate the holiday as they chose.

The trial was held at Wide World of Indoor Sports in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. WWIS is an indoor soccer facility easily accommodating two rings on Sprinturf with air conditioning and plenty of crating and vendor space. Masters/PIII/Veteran judge Marty Gadsby brought some outstanding courses to challenge the competitors. Starters/PI and Advanced/PII judge Michelle Du Bois had just the right attitude to put competitors at ease while testing their skills.

Judge Gadsby's ring was scheduled for 540 runs on Saturday with an estimated finish time of 8:30 pm. Course builds were efficient and quick, competitors were on the line and ready, and workers rotated in before the split in the schedule so the ring didn't stop between walk-through groups. The last run finished shortly after 6:00 pm and the first course was built for Sunday morning by 6:30.

Saturday also featured an impromptu fashion show when several competitors showed up brightly attired and spontaneously shared a pack of knee socks.




High fashion! Photo courtesy of Lisa Marcus.

Sunday's Masters Challenge Standard course was a great example of this class, offering multiple challenges with many potential handling possibilities, particularly the opening #1 through #5.


Forty dogs earned more than 50 new titles, from Starters titles to Platinum, making it a memorable Not-Memorial-Day-Weekend and the start of a great new tradition.

Read more about this trial.
Training Corner: Practice Courses with Work Stations
By Leona Hellesvig

Work the stations shown here and then put them together to run the whole course. To do this with a class, you may divide students up into smaller groups and have them practice on the different stations. Instructors can float from station to station to problem solve or check out each student's technique. For the jump chute, handlers can practice sending and calling their dogs to the table. If you don't have two tables, you can eliminate the table as #20. If you don't have four tunnels, substitute jumps for the tunnel openings (so you'll need two jumps per tunnel and the dogs will be taking one jump and then turning back to take the second).



Happy Training!

Check out this article on the web.

The 2015 Cynosport World Games

The 2015 Cynosport World Games will once again take place at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Plan to join us October 21-25, 2015, at this fantastic site!

Murfreesboro is about 30 miles outside of Nashville in an area that's full of nice hotels, great places to eat, and various other amenities. Plus, it's close enough to Nashville to allow for fun evening activities within a 30 minute or so drive.

The Tennessee Miller Coliseum sits on 154 acres and features a 150'-by-300' floor, a covered warm-up area, camper hookups, a modern sound system, and more. Read more about the event, including available hotels.

To get ready for the 2015 Games, USDAA has released the 2015 tournament regulations, which will be in effect from September 2, 2014, through September 7, 2015. Read all the details on the 2015 Tournament Rules.

The road to the 2015 Cynosport World Games begins with Regionals. The locations and dates for the 2015 season have been released and are available here.

We hope to see you in 2015 at our Regional Championships and at the Cynosport World Games!

Personality Consistency in Dogs
By Claudia Bensimoun

Can we bring together the fields of human psychology and animal behavior to understand the consistency of canine personality and the efficacy of puppy personality tests?

There has been a great deal of research done on the consistency of dog personality. Scientists have used meta-analytic methods to quantitatively sum up all the factors that influence dog personality, as well as consistency in personality.

Research indicates that it is evident that dog personality is moderately consistent. Nonetheless, the one factor that did affect personality consistency in dogs was age. The researchers concluded that the average personality consistency or predictability might be observed with age.

It is also suggested that strong personality consistency is to be expected when a dog performs at high levels, and when they have positive feedback from their environment. The dynamic social interactions that dogs have with humans reinforce behaviors deemed necessary and appropriate by owners and other handlers. Thus, in theory, aging and a positive environment would allow for dogs to be affected in a positive manner, more so in adults than in puppies.

Will this puppy's playful personality remain as she grows? Photo by Brenna Fender

In puppies, aggression and submissiveness were the most consistent factors, and were found to be similar to the results in adult dogs. Responsiveness to training and fearfulness were the least consistent factors, which is unfortunate considering the importance of these factors to the public and to competitive dog trainers as well. It was concluded that a puppy's ability to respond to training or obedience training may not be an accurate assessment of his ability to be trained at a later stage.

One of the core questions facing many working dog organizations, competitive dog trainers, and breeders is whether puppy tests are predictive of later adult behavior. The researchers concluded that puppy personality is moderately consistent, and will remain so, throughout the juvenile and adult life. This applies particularly to aggressive and submissive types of dogs. In principle, it appears that one must take into account all the factors and experiences that a dog will experience throughout his life, as well as litter size, body mass, and early growth. Similar to humans, puppy personality can be molded depending on the personality dimension of interest.

Read more....

Upcoming Events Calendar

Watch out for these events with entries closing in the coming weeks:
Dates Host Group Location Closing Date
07/25-07/27/2014 DrivenDogs Agility Somis, CA 07/14
07/26-07/27/2014 Perro Feliz D.F., DIF 07/14
07/26-07/27/2014 Boom Towne Canine Campus Farmington, NY 07/14
07/26-07/27/2014 On Target Agility, LLC Barto, PA 07/15
07/25-07/27/2014 Arrowhead Agility Club Cloquet, MN 07/16
08/08-08/10/2014 Willamette Agility Group Brownsville, OR 07/20
08/02-08/03/2014 Contact Sports Agility Loves Park, IL 07/20
08/02-08/03/2014 Sugar Bush Farm Stephentown, NY 07/21
08/08-08/10/2014 Riverside Canine Center N. Smithfield, RI 07/21
08/09-08/10/2014 B&D Creekside Activity Center LLC Latrobe, PA 07/23
08/08-08/10/2014 Front Range Agility Club (FRAC) Laramie, WY 07/25
08/01-08/01/2014 Contact Sports Agility Loves Park, IL 07/25
08/16-08/17/2014 Santa Barbara Flyers Santa Barbara, CA 07/27
08/16-08/17/2014 Touch & Go Agility Club Frederick, MD 07/27
08/09-08/10/2014 Happy Dog Agility Moorpark, CA 07/28
08/09-08/10/2014 Tails in Motion Little Falls, MN 07/28
08/08-08/10/2014 Over Rover Training Center Cato, NY 07/28
08/02-08/02/2014 Wasatch Agility Draper, UT 07/29
08/15-08/17/2014 Casa de Canine of Greater Kansas City, LLC Blue Springs, MO 07/30
08/15-08/17/2014 Sirius Dog Agility Training Center Perry, GA 08/01
08/09-08/10/2014 Dog Sports Federation San Salvador, SS 08/03
08/23-08/24/2014 Ace Agility Club Westfield, MA 08/03
08/16-08/16/2014 Rocky Creek Dog Agility Colmar, PA 08/04
08/15-08/17/2014 Canine Agility of Central Minnesota St. Cloud, MN 08/04
08/22-08/24/2014 Salinas-Monterey Agility Racing Team Prunedale, CA 08/08
08/23-08/24/2014 Agility in Manitoba RM of Springfield, MB 08/10
08/23-08/24/2014 Club Agility Chiluca Teotihuacán, MEX 08/11
08/29-08/31/2014 Branchwater Training Center Reisterstown, MD 08/13
08/22-08/24/2014 PDC Barrie, ON 08/13
08/30-08/31/2014 ARFF Agility Club, Inc. Westford, MA 08/15
08/29-09/01/2014 The Bay Team Prunedale, CA 08/15
08/30-09/01/2014 Southeastern Agility Gainesville, GA 08/17
08/30-09/01/2014 Boone County Dog Sport Poplar Grove, IL 08/18
08/30-09/01/2014 First Dog Sports Lakeside, AZ 08/18
08/30-09/01/2014 Puerto Rico Agility Team Bayamon, PR 08/21
09/05-09/07/2014 Carolina Piedmont Agility South Congaree, SC 08/22


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

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