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USDAA Message
By Kenneth Tatsch

USDAA President2012 was remarkable year. We played host to the IFCS World Agility Championships, and we significantly increased the number of regional championships to 11 (and most were streamed live). We launched our monthly eNewsletter and also began introducing contests on Facebook (our photo contest is closing soon; be sure to log on to vote for your favorite).

We are also excited about our acquisition of the APDT Rally obedience program, which is slated to transition to USDAA's new sister company World Cynosport Rally Limited at the end of this year. Beginning at year-end USDAA competitors will be able to compete in Rally events, and Rally-registered competitors will be able to compete in USDAA dog agility events, all without additional registration fees. A Rally Advisory Board is in the process of being named, and we look forward to expansion of the Rally program and introducing a Rally championship tournament event to the Cynosport World Games in 2013.

We see an exciting year in store for 2013. As in 2012, there will again be 11 regional championships in the United States. The regional championships for the 2013 USDAA tournament season will get underway at the end of February in Arizona. Visit the USDAA events calendar to check out all of the dates.

As you may have heard, the 2013 Cynosport World Games will be held in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in the third week of October. We are on track to announce the 2014 location soon as we continue to plan ahead in our efforts to move the event around the country.

We are presently seeking team prospects to participate in the IFCS Agility Championship of Europe, which will be held in Gerona, Spain, the first week of April. Entries close February 1. We will also be co-hosting the IFCS Agility Championship of the Americas to be held in Ft. Worth, Texas, at the end of April. The Championship of the Americas entry form will be out soon, with a closing date in mid-March. Entry is unlimited, so there is an opportunity for many in the U.S. to participate.

We hope that 2012 has been a rewarding one for each of our supporters and competitors. Thank you for being a part of USDAA agility this year. We wish you all a happy holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

Event Report: PUPS Singapore
By Ken Tatsch

On November 10th, USDAA group PUPS Singapore offered the 10th USDAA event ever held in Singapore at Hougang Street 91 Football Field. It was a one-day trial with 21 competitors competing. USDAA judges Rowel de Guia from the Philippines and Kenneth Chen from Singapore presided over the event.

All Starters and Performance level I classes were offered as well as Advanced classes in Performance Standard and Jumpers. Some outstanding qualifying rounds will elevate more competitors to Advanced in future events; there was an approximate 20% qualification rate over the 126 rounds! Three events are tentatively scheduled for next year in April, July, and October or November.

Singapore Border Collie
Border Collie Dawson and handler Aloysius Foong on course.

A different twist for competitors in Singapore is that they build separate courses for Performance and Championship titling classes, enabling all competitors to have both a Starters and a Performance Level I round on the same day. Most competitors run the same heights in both classes, using the opportunity for a separate run while accommodating those competitors that favor the lower heights in the Performance Program. While it results in more course building, it works well here.

Singapore is a great place to visit and hosts Dexter and Debra Sim invite others to come and compete. Just be aware there are quarantine laws that vary from country to country so be sure to check out the requirements if you are interested.

For more photos from this event, click here.

Training Corner: Intersections
By Tania Chadwick

This month we're going to work on intersections (a set of obstacles that surround your path as you move toward the next obstacle in a course). Successful negotiation of an intersection occurs when your dog ignores the distraction obstacles and travels with you to the correct obstacle.

For example, an intersection could be a set of four jumps that you must travel through (shown below) or jumps surrounding a tunnel (shown here).

To get through the intersection, you should move in a swift and consistent motion to the correct obstacle and avoid over-calling your dog or adding any handling moves that slow your dog's motion or draw attention to the off-course obstacles. Think of it as a movie where you're moving towards something quickly and everything else is blurred. If you slow down and over-handle, everything slows down. Nearby objects come into focus and the dog sees all the options around him.

(Note that the black dog is on course and the red dog is veering off.)

  • To start, set up the four jumps in a square as in Figure 1.
  • Practice running #1-#3 with speed while telling your dog "jump" (or using your jump cue). Ignore the side jumps by running straight to #3 and keep your shoulders and your near arm to the dog, forward to show the forward jumps.
  • Eliminate extra calls, directionals (left and right cues); and heeling commands as you travel through the intersection.
  • Continue through the exercises 1.a - 1.c as you move jumps #1-#3 closer together and side jumps closer in.
  • Run through the exercises with your dog on your left side and right side.
  • Start next to your dog at #1 and then progress to leading out between #1-#2 and then standing at #2 as you release your dog.

For more intersection exercises, click here.

The Road to the ADCH Can Be a Bumpy One
By Brenna Fender

Jim AllaireJim Allaire loves agility. In 2006 when he got his Shetland Sheepdog Meadghbh (pronounced "Meeve," also known as "Ms. M"), the two soon began having fun in agility. But when ankle surgery sidelined Jim, he didn't want his partner to have to give up the sport she loved too. "In 2009, I'd thought about quitting agility, but Ms. M enjoyed it so much and so many friends and acquaintances were agility people, I decided to try and keep her in the game by asking experienced people to run her," Jim says.

In order to have a successful experience, Jim chose his "helper handlers" carefully and then set up some rules for himself as Meadghbh's "manager." He says his rules were: "(1) I would not put pressure to be successful on anyone who agreed to run Meadghbh, although, if I thought there was a real problem, we'd talk and move on, either together or not. (2) There would be one main person as her handler and trainer and others who knew Ms. M and had seen her run would fill in as needed. (3) I could offer advice before a run, but, normally, wouldn't comment on problems I saw during the run. If the handler started a conversation about the run, I would always answer questions and make sure I got my thoughts into the mix. (4) I decided right away not to track who got how many Qs with her. The object was Ms. M running and enjoying agility, so there wasn't any reason to have her handlers competing with each other for Qs. (5) Ultimately, agility is just a game; if it ended up not being fun for Meadghbh, it would be time to go home. I think I kept to those rules for the most part and the folks who are Team Meadghbh did great and, I believe, a good time was had by all."

Sue Kobus (Meadghbh's main handler), Loretta Mueller, Andy Mueller, Carol Voelker, Randy Holford, Jerry Simon, Siegfried (aka: Ziggy) Clever from Australia, and eventually Jim himself, doing occasional short runs as his ankle improved, all made up Team Meadghbh. In 2011, the handlers realized that Meadghbh was close to earning the Agility Dog Championship title. On August 12, 2012, Jim handled Meadghbh to her last needed Master Gamblers leg, finishing the coveted ADCH.

Read Jim's story in his own words and learn about Meadghbh's experiences in international competition by clicking here.

Photo courtesy of Loretta Mueller

The Breakfast Effect
By Claudia Bensimoun

Studies at the University of Kentucky suggest that eating a morning meal increases search accuracy in dogs. Earlier studies demonstrating results that children do better in cognitive exercises when they have eaten breakfast led Dr. Holly Miller to wonder if a breakfast would also improve a dog's performance. Dr. Miller and colleague Charlotte Bender tested the search performance of trained domestic dogs after either consuming breakfast or fasting.

This study concentrated on a dog's accuracy on finding hidden food, and it investigated the effect of a dog
consuming breakfast before working. The dogs were shown a treat that was then hidden in one of six containers. The results were eye-opening.

You may think that the dogs that were fasting would have retrieved the treat first since they would be more likely to be hungrier than the others. But dogs that had already eaten breakfast 30 minutes before the search displayed greater search accuracy. The study found that dogs searched more accurately 30 minutes after a meal than those canines that searched when hungry.

Does this study have applications for dogs that do agility? Possibly! For more details about the study, click here.

Photo courtesy of ContactPointPhotography.com

Upcoming Events Calendar

Watch out for these events with entries closing this month:
Dates Host Group Location Event Type
01/19-01/20/2013 North Alabama Canine Cruisers Huntsville, AL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
12/28-12/30/2012 Saguaro Scramblers Tucson, AZ Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/05-01/06/2013 Good Dog Agility Club Tempe, AZ Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/12-01/12/2013 Club-Doggie Mesa, AZ Match Only
01/05-01/06/2013 Happy Dog Agility Moorpark, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/12-01/13/2013 Agility Club of San Diego Bonita, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/21/2013 The Bay Team Santa Rosa, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/26-01/27/2013 DrivenDogs Agility Camarillo, CA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/11-01/13/2013 FRAC Longmont, CO Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/26-01/27/2013 Feel the Rush Agility Amherst, NH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/04-01/06/2013 Palm Bay Agility Club Vero Beach, FL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/18-01/20/2013 Dog-On-It Agility Club of Cent. Florida Winter Park, FL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/01-01/01/2013 Contact Sports Agility Campton Hills, IL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/20/2013 Boone County Dog Sport New Berlin, WI Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
12/29-12/30/2012 Mid-Atlantic MADness Jessup, MD Tournament Classes Only
01/18-01/18/2013 Canine Combustion Dog Agility Club Grand Blanc, MI Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/20/2013 Highest Hope Dog Sports Grand Blanc, MI Titling Classes Only
01/04-01/06/2013 Tails in Motion Ham Lake, MN Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
12/28-12/30/2012 Greater St. Louis Agility Club Glen Carbon, IL Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/10-01/13/2013 Carolina Piedmont Agility Raleigh, NC Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/04-01/06/2013 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/18-01/20/2013 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/21/2013 On Target Agility, LLC Barto, PA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/25-01/27/2013 Southwest Agility Team Albuquerque, NM Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/21/2013 Las Vegas Dogs in Competitive Events Boulder City, NV Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
12/29-12/31/2012 Contact Agility Club Hamden, CT Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/20/2013 Buckeye Region Agility Group Inc. Columbus, OH Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/19-01/20/2013 Low Country Dog Agility Charleston, SC Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/12-01/13/2013 Lucky Dog Promotions Tyler, TX Titling Classes Only
01/26-01/27/2013 Just Jump It, LLC Reva, VA Titling Event w/Tournament Classes
01/20-01/20/2013 NOMAD Waterbury, VT Intro Program Only


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

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