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USDAA Message
By Andy Hartman

USDAA President

Course design is at the heart and soul of USDAA agility. It is one of the factors that differentiates USDAA from other venues, as we have a formal course review process to help ensure that USDAA courses are safe, contain the appropriate level of challenges and are consistent from area to area. While we have a well-defined process of course review, a detailed rulebook and set of design guidelines, we allow our judges the latitude to be creative in their course design within the guidelines to keep the sport fresh, fun and interesting.

Each year, we set aside a weekend to bring all the course reviewers together (there are 11 of them) to discuss the state of USDAA course design, issues that have arisen during the previous year, and the effectiveness of the review process. This meeting was held in Atlanta last month.

The group seeks to maintain the philosophical standards for each level (and each tournament) and identified a need to provide closer scrutiny to the negative effects of nesting on some courses to assure philosophical integrity. Some other items that came out of this year’s meeting are:

  • Redistribution of the course review territories 

As USDAA grows, so does the volume of courses that must be reviewed. Each year we evaluate course review regions and make changes. This year, additional regions are being created and assignments are being made with at least two new reviewers joining the ranks who will work with other reviewers initially. This will help to tighten the watch on any qualitative issues by lessening the load on each individual reviewer.

  • Mentoring Program

As early as this fall we will be establishing a mentoring program to help prospective judges learn more about course design prior to attending a USDAA Rules & Course Design Clinic. It can also provide continuing education for judges post clinic. More details will be available down the road.

  • Version 1.9 of USDAA Course Design Guidelines

A lot of time and energy goes into monitoring and updating course design guidelines each year. The newest version reviewed at the meeting is 111 pages in length, which can be quite intimidating; however, it is important to note that these are guidelines. This is an important distinction, as the Guidelines serve as a resource for important items for consideration in the design process, rather than serving as a strict "how-to" guide. They are an excellent reference tool for USDAA course design.

If you want to learn more about USDAA's philosophy regarding course design, you can begin by downloading a copy of the USDAA Official Rules & Regulations and Course Design Guidelines, and start looking at sections on each level. Then, plan to attend a USDAA Rules & Course Design Clinic whether you want to become a judge or not; these clinics are open to all. 

Thank you for supporting USDAA agility.

Event Report: 2014 Eastern Canada Regional Championships

The 2014 Eastern Canada Regional Championships ran from August 22-24 in Barrie, Ontario. Judges Tom Kula and Carol Smorch presided over the event.

Check out more courses from the event here.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2014 Eastern Canada Regional Master Challenge Biathlon Champions
14" Linda Matsubayashi & Mochi
22" Karey Grisdale & Reason
26" Andre Landry & Crash

2014 Eastern Canada Performance Master Challenge Biathlon Champions
12" Sylvie Fefer & Dizzy
16" Sandra Orr & Shiraz
20" Cynthia Horner & Rowdy

2014 Eastern Canada Regional Grand Prix Champions
14" Linda Matsubayashi & Mochi
16" Bill Pinder & Taser
22" Annie Pyle & Brite
26" Andre Landry & Crash

2014 Eastern Canada Regional Performance Grand Prix Champions
8"  Barbara Bell & Sasha
16" Kelsey Kirkpatrick & Ace
20" Annie Pyle & Fearless

2014 Eastern Canada Regional $10,000 Steeplechase Champions
14" Suzanne Wesley & Scorch
16" Bill Pinder & Taser
22" Annie Pyle & Brite
26" Andre Landry & Crash

2014 Eastern Canada Regional Performance Speed Jumping Champions
8"  Barbara Bell & Sasha
12" Sylvie Fefer & Dizzy
16" Kelsey Kirkpatrick & Ace
20" Kristine Kubota & Jersey Girl

2014 Eastern Canada Regional Dog Agility Masters Team Champions

1. The Fast and the Furriest: Sharon Beaulac & Jaguar, Linda Matsubayashi & Mochi, Arlene Lehmann & Hapi
2. Scorching Sibling Rivalry: Sandra Orr & Zydeco, Annie Pyle & Brite, Suzanne Wesley & Scorch
3. The Electrifiers: Tawni Millet & Jolt, Bill Pinder & Taser, Kristine Kubota & Siri

2014 Eastern Canada Regional Performance Versatility Pairs Champions

1. Seekn' Rev: Jeremy Gerhard & Reveille, Sheri Kaiser & Seeker
2. The Odd Couple: Lisa Anne Zilney & Anna, Barbara Bell and Sasha
3. Ace-High with Fly: Kelsey Kirkpatrick & Ace, Jane Buckley & Fly

Photos by Sandy Orr.

Read more about this event.

Training Corner: Work Stations
By Deborah Davidson Harpur

This course was designed so that it could be broken down into stations for multiple dogs to work on at once. The sections were not broken up in exact "course order."

Section 1 had a serpentine (three jumps done in an S-pattern), a panel jump, the tire and the A-frame. Section 2 had a broad jump, the chute, weave poles and three jumps. Section 3 had two tunnels, a jump and a teeter (or all the rest of the obstacles if you wanted to include them). If you don't have a lot of students, you could break the course down into just two sections: the dogwalk and above and everything else.

When I used this course in my class, for section 1, I asked my students to find all the different ways to handle the three winged jumps. Will you serpentine that portion (handling it all from one side, pushing and pulling your dog over the jumps)? Will you front cross (cross in front of your dog in between the first two jumps) and then handle the rest as a 180? Will you front cross twice?

For section 2, many handlers focused on practicing the chute, while others worked on getting good weave entries and exits. On both sides of that set of weaves, you could handle the weave entry all on one side, with a rear cross (changing sides behind the dog as he enters the weave poles), with a front cross, and there are other options too. Those were the most popular choices

In section 3 we worked on different entries to the teeter. Also, we focused on how to let your dog know which way the students were heading out of that straight tunnel. Do you use a signal to let your dog know where to go after a tunnel? If not, how do they know what you mean? How did what you do at the entrance of the tunnel affect what your dog did at the exit?

Then we ran the course. In some classes in, we broke the course down into parts. In others, the students just "went for it" and ran the course in its entirety.  

Later, I reversed the teeter and renumbered the course to work on some skills that come in handy at trials.

See this article on the web.

See games based on this course.

2014 USDAA Hall of Fame
For almost 25 years, USDAA has recognized and honored individuals who have contributed to the development and growth of dog agility. Starting in 2014, inductees to the USDAA Hall of Fame will be announced annually at the Cynosport® World Games. Competitors for the 2014 Hall of Fame inductions can be nominated by other competitors, trainers, and friends. The nomination period has been extended and ends on September 24, 2014 at 5pm MST.

Hall of Fame nominees fall into the following categories:

Pioneers of Dog Agility - Individuals or groups that have contributed to the sport of dog agility with lasting, significant results.

Meritorious Service Award - Individuals who have contributed significant volunteer hours to USDAA and/or its licensed groups. This includes both behind-the-scenes or high profile contributions of dedicated service that resulted in notable, measurable advancement of the sport.

Years of Service - Groups and individuals who have consistently been active with hosting and/or supporting USDAA events.

Special Recognition - Competitors at any level (Championship, Performance, Veterans, Intro or Junior Handlers) who have gone above and beyond in community service and/or overcome physical or behavioral challenges that may serve as inspiration to others.

All nominations will be critically voted on and approved by the USDAA Advisory Board or separate Hall of Fame Board. Inductees into the USDAA Hall of Fame in any given year going forward will be announced at the Cynosport® World Games. Specific dates and times for the award ceremony will be announced approximately 30 days prior to the event.

We look forward to welcoming new Hall of Famers at the 2014 Cynosport World Games in Morgan Hill, California!

Please contact Annie DeChance at 972-487-2200 ext. 108 or with any questions. Want to nominate someone? Read more.

The Regional South of the Border
By Andy Hartman

                                                                                                             Photo by Shawn Cossart

The USDAA Mexico Regional Championships were held on August 23-24 near the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, Mexico. This year's event saw two competitors from the US, Shawn Cossart with her dog Dare and Catherine Laria with Paint, in attendance. Judges Tim Laubach, Frank Holik and Emily Klarman traveled from the US as well, flying in with me on Thursday afternoon. That evening, our gracious hosts took us all out to dinner to get tacos. The food was outstanding and a good time was had by all.

Friday, we packed up and headed to the trial site near Teotihuacán. Upon arriving at Caserio del Bosque (a small ranch), we were delighted to see beautiful, grass agility fields and cabins for lodging. This was to be our "home" for the next couple of days. When Shawn Cossart first saw the event site, she was impressed. "The lush greenery surrounding the perfectly manicured grass was truly unbelievable. Off to the right of the agility rings were several brightly colored bungalows and what? One of those was ours? Wait! I can roll out of bed and take five steps to an indoor pool or 10 steps to the agility rings? Ok, I may be exaggerating, but not by much! This truly was agility heaven," she says.

After unpacking, we got back into the vans and our hosts treated us to lunch in a cavernous restaurant. After lunch, we went through the museum at Teotihuacán. From there we walked to and climbed the Pyramid of the Sun. The city and Pyramids are thought to have been established around 100 BC.

The cavernous restaurant was awe-inspiring.

Saturday, the Regional got started with three rings of agility. On Saturday night, we gathered in the main dining room to share dinner together. There were many tributes to our hosts and the event and laughter filled the air. Sunday saw the final rounds of competition and then the awards were handed out.

Catherine Laria attended the event with the goal of earning byes in both Steeplechase and Grand Prix with Paint. She says, "I'm so happy to say that he ran clean in both and won both classes 'con bye' (as they kept telling me at the awards ceremony!) We also won the Biathlon and our team won gold as well. So I'd have to say it was the most successful Regionals we have ever been to!" Laria praised her experience at the event: "What an experience. The trial field and facility this year was unbelievably beautiful.... I felt like I was on a tropical island. The host club, the competitors, the judges, everything was top notch!"

Cossart agrees with Laria's praises. She adds, "And what made this experience even more heavenly was the people! Every single person we came in contact with treated you as if they were your best friend and your friendship went back for decades. Club members, non-club members, it didn't matter, each person was so generous, helpful and not one person laughed at my horrendous Spanish I tried so hard to speak. I went into that trial knowing maybe three competitors; I came out of that trial having many, many lifelong friends. Thank you to the club, the fantastic judges and to USDAA for a tremendous experience."

The Pyramid of the Sun

We want to thank Club Agility Chiluca for hosting this year's Regional! All agility competitors are welcome to travel to Mexico for USDAA licensed events like the Mexico Regional. See you soon!

See courses, event results and photos from this event. Read more.

Photos by Andy Hartman unless otherwise noted.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Watch out for these events with entries closing in the coming weeks:
Dates Host Group Location Closing Date
09/26-09/28/2014 Redhot Rovers Auburn, WA 09/13
09/26-09/28/2014 Splash & Dash K9 Sports Latrobe, PA 09/15
09/27-09/28/2014 Canine Sports Zone Middleton, WI 09/15
10/03-10/05/2014 Contact Agility Club Hamden, CT 09/15
09/25-09/25/2014 TNT Dog Center Midland, MI 09/18
10/03-10/05/2014 Top Notch Canines LLC Phoenix, AZ 09/19
10/03-10/05/2014 Travis Agility Group Belton, TX 09/19
10/04-10/05/2014 Artful Dodgers Agility Group Millersville, MD 09/20
10/03-10/05/2014 All Colorado Agility Team Fountain, CO 09/21
09/28-09/28/2014 Saguaro Scramblers Tucson, AZ 09/22
10/04-10/05/2014 DrivenDogs Agility Somis, CA 09/22
10/03-10/05/2014 IncrediPAWS Zanesville, OH 09/22
10/03-10/05/2014 Canine Combustion Dog Agility Club Canton, MI 09/22
10/11-10/12/2014 Just Jump It, LLC Reva, VA 09/22
10/04-10/05/2014 Columbia Agility Team Ridgefield, WA 09/22
10/04-10/05/2014 On The Run Canine Center Ham Lake, MN 09/22
10/03-10/05/2014 Casa de Canine of Greater Kansas City, LLC Independence, MO 09/22
10/10-10/12/2014 Keystone Agility Club Barto, PA 09/24
10/04-10/05/2014 Valley Agility Sports Team Turlock, CA 09/24
10/03-10/05/2014 Agility at the Farm Campton Hills, IL 09/26
10/10-10/12/2014 Agile Dogs Agility Training Stephentown, NY 09/29
10/10-10/12/2014 Carolina Piedmont Agility Yadkinville, NC 09/29
10/10-10/12/2014 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 09/29
10/10-10/12/2014 Think Pawsitive LLC New Berlin, WI 09/30
10/18-10/19/2014 Dallas Agility Working Group Caddo Mills, TX 10/01
10/11-10/12/2014 Lucky Dog Promotions Tyler, TX 10/01
10/25-10/26/2014 Lehigh Valley Dream Weaver Agility Club Barto, PA 10/01
10/10-10/12/2014 Arrowhead Agility Club Proctor, MN 10/01
10/11-10/12/2014 Four Seasons K9 Athlete Center, LLC Washingtonville, OH 10/03
10/11-10/11/2014 Wasatch Agility Draper, UT 10/06
10/11-10/11/2014 Leaps N Bounds Peoria, AZ 10/06
10/18-10/19/2014 Pawsitively Fun Dog Training Group Fort White, FL 10/06
10/31-11/02/2014 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 10/08
10/25-10/26/2014 Dallas Dog Sports McKinney, TX 10/10
10/24-10/26/2014 Teamworks Dog Training, LLC Youngsville, NC 10/10
10/25-10/26/2014 Blue Ribbon K-9 Training Center Calhoun, LA 10/13
10/31-11/02/2014 Tailwaggers Learning Center West Palm Beach, FL 10/15
10/31-11/02/2014 MAD CO, LLC Crozet, VA 10/17
10/31-11/02/2014 Sonlight Ranch LLC Brooksville, FL 10/17
10/25-10/26/2014 Dog Sports Federation Villa Nueva, GU 10/19
11/08-11/09/2014 High Octane Agility Barto, PA 10/19
11/07-11/09/2014 SureFire Dogs Training Center Westborough, MA 10/20
11/01-11/02/2014 Twister Agility & Dog Sports Purcell, OK 10/21
11/01-11/02/2014 Good Dog Agility Club Tempe, AZ 10/22
11/20-11/23/2014 United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. Perry, GA 10/23
11/07-11/09/2014 Southwest Agility Team Albuquerque, NM 10/24
11/08-11/09/2014 Saguaro Scramblers Marana, AZ 10/25
11/15-11/16/2014 Dog Agility Racing Team (DART) Irwindale, CA 10/26
11/07-11/09/2014 Magic City Canine Club Birmingham, AL 10/27
11/07-11/09/2014 Paws & Ques Williston, FL 10/27
11/08-11/09/2014 Center for Canine Sports, Inc. Garland, TX 10/27
11/08-11/10/2014 Rainier Agility Team Elma, WA 10/27
11/07-11/09/2014 Nunes Agility Field Turlock, CA 10/29
11/08-11/09/2014 Contact Point Agility Club Fillmore, CA 10/29
11/08-11/09/2014 Contact Sports Agility Loves Park, IL 10/31

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

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