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The Overview from USDAA
Unleashed
By Kenneth Tatsch

USDAA PresidentWho Brought Us to the Party
The 25th running of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility® and the 10th official Cynosport® World Games lived up to expectations with some of the most hotly contested rounds ever seen. Much has been said on this subject already (see Cynosport 2012 in Review). There were many great runs (including four runoffs in the tournament finals). That said, there are also a lot of great people involved in this sport, a number of whom helped to get us to this point in USDAA history. The contributions of organizers and volunteers should never be taken for granted, as they are most certainly vital to everyone's opportunity to compete.

Two people attending (and working at) Cynosport 2012 were part of our original training group from 1985, making them some of the first competitors in dog agility in the United States—Elizabeth Hezeau and Heather Smith. Our training group, formed almost two years before the advent of USDAA, went on to become USDAA's first officially licensed group in 1987—the Dallas Agility Working Group. Also in attendance was Joyce Zmek, a co-founder of Pawprints Agility Club in 1987, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Joyce won the first Grand Prix of Dog Agility, and aside from myself, she is the only other person to have participated in every Grand Prix since as either a competitor, volunteer, or worker.

Following the first Grand Prix in 1988, an agility wave swept the nation as the concept of regional qualifiers was introduced as a prerequisite for entry to the 1989 Grand Prix. Notably,

  • Lee Justice and Beverly Franklin in North Carolina, and later Chris Danielly in Georgia and Kathleen Gregorieff in Florida helped to establish a presence for the sport and USDAA throughout the Southeast.

  • In the Mid-Atlantic region, Rae Tanner from Pennsylvania, and then Alaina Axford, a finalist in the first Grand Prix (and the first USDAA title recipient in 1990), started Keystone Agility Club in Pennsylvania. Jo Ann Kendig and Janet Gauntt in Maryland and Artie Weiss on Long Island also established programs.

  • In New England, Jean MacKenzie established New England Agility Team, attracting further support from Julie Daniels, Ron and Cheryl Pitkin, and Monica Percival. Jean served as a USDAA Board member in our most formative years, helping to formulate the framework for our titling program.

  • In the Southwest, Judy Thomas, Sharon Kirhara, Kathy Lofthouse, and Karen Moureaux helped to shape agility in the southern California area by forming West Valley Agility Club in 1989, while Lori Ward in Tucson, and Jean Barney and Bud Houston (creator of Clean Run Magazine) in Phoenix, introduced USDAA to Arizona.

  • In the Pacific Northwest, members of Spokane Dog Training Club took the lead in introducing USDAA, after which Sandra Katzen and Rainer Agility Team became a leading presence in the region.

  • In the Midwest, Charlotte Coviak, Darlene Woz and Lesa McCann participated in the first Grand Prix and formed Canine Combustion in Michigan. Trainers throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area worked together to form Minnesota Agility Club, while John Cortright (an original USDAA Board member) helped organize Windy City Agility Club, which spawned other USDAA groups in the region.

  • In the Central US, Harry Guticz and the Greater Lincoln Obedience Club set up shop for agility.

  • In the Rocky Mountain region, Kent Mahan (and later also Zona Tooke) led the way.

  • While some of these individuals have moved on to other interests, all contributed in some way to the lasting success of dog agility and USDAA.

    Each of these founding organizers (and the many they inspired to get involved in dog agility and USDAA) worked hard for the love of the sport. The level of dedication and drive of these early pioneers can be difficult to comprehend, when one considers that prior to the introduction of the Grand Prix to North America in August 1988, there were no tournaments, no titling events, no equipment manufacturers, and in fact, very little knowledge of agility competition. So it is no surprise that events in the United States were few and far between, and it was not unusual to see the same people at events across the country, as they rode 12, 16, and sometimes 20 or more hours each way, or hopped on airplanes to get to events that were held outdoors—rain, snow, or sunshine. Still, the average show was 20-40 entries. Dog agility as a spectator sport was truly just a vision, hinging on the dedication and commitment of those who shared that vision under USDAA's lead.

    USDAA's introduction of the titling program (one of the world's first), while continuing to expand and promote the Grand Prix of Dog Agility tournament, proved key to accelerating the sport's growth through the early 1990s, and introduction and promotion of the Dog Agility Masters® team tournament and the Dog Agility Steeplechase®, and later the Performance Program, further accelerated that growth. USDAA continues to monitor, evaluate and evolve while managing its growth.

    Looking to the future, USDAA will continue to focus on its core strengths of people, fun, and sport. Volunteerism remains as much a core element as it has ever been in building competitions for the future as we continue to elevate dog agility's status as a sport while developing programs and infrastructure to fulfill the many needs that arise along the way.
    2012 Cynosport World Games in Review
    By Brenna Fender

    The 2012 Cynosport World Games ran from September 26 to September 30 in Commerce City, Colorado, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The eleven acre facility offered lots of space for dog agility, vendors, crating areas, spectator seating, and additional activities like Lure for a Cure (benefitting the National Canine Cancer Foundation), dock jumping, flyball, flying disc, and police K9 demonstrations. Competitors came from all over the world to take their shot at becoming a Cynosport champion, traveling from Spain, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Canada, Switzerland, England, and across the United States. Officiating at the event were USDAA licensed judges Sheri Boone (US), John Zhao (China), Francisco Javier Alegre Sancho “Paco" (Spain), Mark Wirant (US), Martin Gadsby (Canada), and Frank Holik (US), along with guest judge Steve Croxford (England). Course building judges were David Hanson (US) and Tim Laubach (US).

    Cynosport Judges

    The competition was fierce and led to exciting finals rounds, with runoffs required in four classes to determine the final award standings. The weekend included all six USDAA tournaments: the Performance Grand Prix on Friday night, Performance Speed Jumping Championships and Dog Agility Steeplechase Championships on Saturday evening, and the Dog Agility Masters Team Finals, the Performance Versatility Pairs Final, and the 25th annual Grand Prix of Dog Agility, on Sunday.

    Other special events included a Veterans Showcase for top qualifiers in the Veteran All Around competition, a special event for competitors with dogs from past Cynosport events. For more on the Veterans, click here. Junior handlers were also showcased in the Junior Handler Spotlight held before the Veterans Showcase. Read about the junior handlers here.

    WinnersIn addition to all the great competition and fun extra activities, USDAA celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility and USDAA itself at this event. There was a memorial area where competitors could check out memorabilia from agility's early years as well as a display dedicated to pioneers of the sport who have passed on. There were also dinners offered on the grounds Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights so that competitors could gather, chat, and eat after a day of agility and before a night of finals competitions. Before the 25th running of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility Championships, USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch highlighted memorable milestones throughout the history of USDAA, noting that volunteerism and sportsmanship were key factors in continued success, dedicating the 25th running of the Grand Prix to all past and current organizers, volunteers, and competitors.

    Read a recap of the event in full at Cynosport 2012 in Review.

    Congratulations to the 2012 Cynosport World Games Winners
    Performance Grand Prix Champions – Photos HERE
  • 8" Brenda Kautz and Mika (Papillon)
  • 12" Joan Meyer and Neil (Shetland Sheepdog)
  • 16" Jerry Simon and Tango (Border Collie)
  • 22" Leigh Peper and Rapture (Border Collie)


  • Grand Prix of Dog Agility Champions – Photos HERE
  • 12" Andy Mueller and Crackers (Jack Russell Terrier)
  • 16" Jen Pinder and Britain (Shetland Sheepdog)
  • 22" Stuart Mah and Ares (Border Collie)
  • 26" Delaney Ratner and Kelso (Border Collie)


  • Performance Speed Jumping Champions – Photos HERE
  • 8" Megan Foster and Tommy (Jack Russell Terrier)
  • 12" Joan Meyer and Neil (Shetland Sheepdog)
  • 16" Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Wally (Border Collie)
  • 22" Paulena Renee Simpson and Graphite (Border Collie)


  • Dog Agility Steeplechase Champions – Photos HERE
  • 12" Daneen Fox and Masher (Papillon)
  • 16" Jen Pinder and Taser (All-American Mix)
  • 22" Gabrielle Blackburn and Zing! (Border Collie)
  • 26" Svetlana Tumanova and Skippy (Border Collie)


  • Performance Versatility Pairs Champions – Photo HERE
    Team: Believe It!
    Amber Abbott and Summer (Shetland Sheepdog)
    Jubie Rueschenberg and Squeeky (Border Collie)

    Dog Agility Masters Team Champions – Photo HERE
    Team: Pure Adrenaline
    Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy (Border Collie)
    Jen Pinder and Britain (Shetland Sheepdog)
    Kayl McCann and Funkee Monkee (All-Canadian Mix)

    2014 IFCS World Agility Championships Team
    USDAA, as an associate member of the International Federation of Cynological Sports (IFCS), is planning to field a team to participate in the 2014 IFCS World Agility Championships to be held early spring to mid-summer in 2014. This event is scheduled to be held in the Netherlands by Federatie Hondensport Nederland (FHN) under the oversight of the IFCS Council, whose rules and regulations will be in effect.

    As an IFCS Associate Member, USDAA will oversee team member selection for the United States of America and will make such selections in accordance with rules established for that purpose. Selected team members agree to follow all policies and procedures set forth by IFCS, USDAA and the USA Team Coach.

    Selection rules for Team USA for the 2014 event have been posted to the USDAA forms and Documents Library and can be reviewed here.
    Training Corner: Transitions
    TrainingBy Tania Chadwick

    This month we are working on being able to transition from tight and intricate sections to wide open speed sections on a course. There are some lead-ins in these exercises where your dog is taking a straight line of tunnels and jumps and gathering a lot of speed, and then your dog must decrease that speed so he can gather himself to tackle the tighter sequences where efficient turning is needed.

    I recommend practicing the top portion of the course where the three serpentine jumps (serpentine jumps are a series of jumps taken as an S shape), weave poles, and tunnel are in order to work out the timing and efficient lines of the jumps and approaches and exits from the weave poles. Once that feels comfortable, and you and your dog are running that section with accuracy, put the course together and make sure you're ready for the transition areas that require your narrow focus and timely handling.

    Practice white #2-#5 before running the full white set. Then work black #7-#11 before doing the rest of the exercise. For more transition training, click here.
    Cynosport Course Analysis: Team Jumpers
    By Julie Daniels

    The Team Jumpers course was a source of a lot of conversation at the 2012 Cynosport World Games because of its varied and frequent challenges. Let’s take a look at the opening of this course, which involves some tricky control work.

    The dogs came flying off the start line on a bee line to #2 only to meet a threadle (a jump combination that requires the dog to perform one of two or more side-by-side jumps, and then pass between the two obstacles before taking the second jump in the same direction as the first) from #2 to #3 with a very inviting tunnel trap between them. The handlers were split about turning the dog left or right over #3 to get back to that tunnel at #4. Many faults and eliminations were incurred in the opening on this course. It was good to see so many talented and sportsmanlike handlers recover from a messy opening to turn in some fine work through the rest of this difficult course.

    Jumpers

    Following the #4 tunnel was a push-out to the non-winged single bar jump at #5, which did not draw the dogs’ attention without help. Most handlers put a front cross (a move in which the handler changes sides in front of the dog’s line of travel by turning in to the dog) on the landing side of the #6 jump. Some handlers were rushing to position for this cross and caused the dog to pull off of #5, but for the most part, a front cross between #6 and #7 was the best choice. It was popular with the small dogs and Performance dogs for handlers to put the front cross out past #5, facilitating that push and putting the dogs on the right side of the handler for the arc from #6 to #9. Other handlers chose to keep dogs on the left for jumps #5 and #6 and then rear cross (crossing behind the dog) on the takeoff side of the #7 jump. This was not a bad option either. It all just demanded attention.

    For the complete analysis of the course, click here.
    2013 USDAA Tournament Season Underway
    The regulations for the 2013 tournament season have been published. Notable among changes from 2012 are
    1. Qualification for participation in two tournaments within a specified tournament are required for entry to Cynosport® 2013.
    2. Provisions describing course design concept have been added to the regulations for each tournament.
    3. The minimum point requirement in both Team and Versatility Pairs has been removed.
    See the complete regulations for each tournament at www.usdaa.com.

    Mark your calendars now for the 2013 Cynosport World Games, October 23-27, 2012, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Regional event dates are also available on the www.usdaa.com event calendar.
    Upcoming Events Calendar

    Watch out for these events with entries closing this month:
    Dates Host Group Event Location Type
    26-Oct Branchwater Training Center Reisterstown, MD Intro Program Only
    26-Oct - 28-Oct On The Run Canine Center Ham Lake, MN Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    26-Oct - 28-Oct Think Pawsitive LLC New Berlin, WI Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    27-Oct Good Dog Agility Club Chandler, AZ Titling Event w/Junior Handler Program Classes
    27-Oct - 28-Oct Club Agility Lerma Lerma, MEX Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    27-Oct - 28-Oct Y Agility East Windsor, CT Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    27-Oct - 28-Oct Buckeye Region Agility Group Inc. Columbus, OH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    2-Nov - 4-Nov BARK-NH! Manchester, NH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    2-Nov - 4-Nov MAD CO, LLC Crozet, VA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    3-Nov - 4-Nov Good Dog Agility Club Tempe, AZ Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    3-Nov - 4-Nov Happy Hounds Agility Team Prosper, TX Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    9-Nov - 11-Nov Magic City Canine Club Birmingham, AL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    9-Nov - 11-Nov Southwest Agility Team Albuquerque, NM Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    9-Nov - 11-Nov Dog Agility Ontario Flamborough, ON Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    10-Nov - 11 Nov Nunes Agility Field Turlock, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    10-Nov Boone County Dog Sport New Berlin, WI Tournament Classes Only
    10-Nov - 11 Nov High Octane Agility Barto, PA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    10-Nov - 11 Nov Center for Canine Sports, Inc. Garland, TX Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    10-Nov - 11 Nov Rainier Agility Team Elma, WA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    16-Nov - 18 Nov FRAC Longmont, CO Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    16-Nov - 18 Nov Dog-On-It Agility Club of Cent. Florida Winter Park, FL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    16-Nov HIghest Hope Dog Sports Grand Blanc, MI Intro Program Only
    16-Nov - 18 Nov Knight Flyer Agility Frankston, TX Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    17-Nov - 18 Nov Dog Agility Racing Team (DART) Irwindale, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    17-Nov - 18 Nov Canine Capers Gainesville, GA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    17-Nov - 18 Nov Hog Dog Productions Millersville, MD Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    17-Nov - 18 Nov Canine Combustion Dog Agility Club Grand Blanc, MI Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    17-Nov - 18 Nov Bloomington Obedience Training Club Bloomington, MN Junior Handler Program Classes Only
    17-Nov - 18 Nov Low Country Dog Agility Charleston, SC Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    18-Nov NOMAD Waterbury, VT Intro Program Only
    23-Nov - 25 Nov Happy Dog Agility Moorpark, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    23-Nov - 25 Nov Canine Sports Agility Dexter, MI Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    23-Nov - 25 Nov All Dogs Gym Agility Manchester, NH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    23-Nov - 25 Nov PDC Barrie, ON Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    23-Nov - 25 Nov Virginia Ruff Riders, LLC Herndon, VA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    24-Nov - 25 Nov Bexar Regional Agility Team San Marcos, TX Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    24-Nov - 25 Nov Think Pawsitive LLC New Berlin, WI Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    30-Nov - 2-Dec Pet's Paradise Costa Rica Alajuela, A Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
    30-Nov - 2-Dec KineticDog, LLC Barto, PA Tournament Classes Only
    30-Nov - 3-Dec United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. Ben Lomond, CA Seminar w/ Match
    1-Dec - 2-Dec International Dog Events Assoc. Devonshire, XX Titling Event w/Tournament Classes

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

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