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USDAA Message

By Kenneth Tatsch

USDAA President

Every year that the Cynosport World Games travels to a new location, we face additional challenges in our quest to present a smooth, efficiently run, enjoyable international event. This year's competition, our first at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, went extremely well, due in part to the excellent facility and its staff, but, more importantly, due to the outstanding efforts of USDAA staff, judges, and volunteers. I don't want to leave out the efforts of any of these amazing people, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention and publicly thank event chair Tom Kula, who worked closely with the USDAA personnel, trial secretary Helen McNenly, and George Mariakis in working out a most efficient solution for handling the large turnout for the event in only five rings. Our thanks also go to chief scorekeeper Tim Verrelli, kenneling organizer Tracy Hirsch, volunteer organizer Leslie Bickel, and many others, without whom the event would not have run as smoothly as it did. If you missed out on this year's event, there is still time for you watch the Finals on demand at DVDs are at the manufacturers and will be ready for shipping by December 10.

I'm pleased to draw attention to the fact that Andy Hartman began his judging career this month. He and I judged in Mexico November 16-18, for the Agility Club Lerma (near Toluca). Francisco Berjon of Mexico (judge at Cynosport 2013) was Andy's supervising judge, while I judged the Masters ring. Andy did a superb job and has some scheduled assignments coming up in the U.S. Watch for Andy coming to a show near you.

Andy Hartman (left) and Ken Tatsch enjoyed judging in Mexico, but they couldn't impress that cow.

Attention is now turned to rule changes for 2014 and to Morgan Hill, California, as we look forward to Cynosport® 2014. Revised tournament rules to address transitional issues with new jump heights are to be released by December 1. For Cynosport, we have already confirmed judges from China and Japan, and are in the process of securing judges from North America. We look forward to another terrific Cynosport event.

Thanksgiving is coming this week and is one of America's grandest holidays, which gives us pause to reflect and to give thanks. To the entire dog agility community, both in and outside the United States, we thank you for the relationships we share and for enabling all of us to engage in this great sport!

Event Report: 2013 Cynosport World Games
By Brenna Fender

USDAA's annual international championships, the Cynosport World Games, took place from October 23-27 at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The event was made up of five days of top-notch agility, culminating in the final rounds of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility®, Performance Grand PrixSM, $10,000 Steeplechase®, Performance Speed JumpingSM, Dog Agility Masters® Team, Performance Versatility PairsSM, Masters Challenge BiathlonSM and Performance Masters Challenge BiathlonSM. The Lifetime Achievement Award - Diamond (which requires over 1,000 qualifying scores) was presented at the event as well.

Judges Francisco Berjon (from Mexico), Scott Chamberlain, Bob Griffin (from the UK), Scott Lovelis, Adrienne Lynch, and Evelyn Robertson presided over the event. Each judge designed some of the courses and judged courses created by their peers as well. This provided a unique experience for USDAA judges, which was an interesting challenge, according to Griffin.

Although agility was the focus, there were non-agility activities throughout the event as well. Vendors, live music from local bands, a competitor welcome dinner at the Oaklands Historic House Museum, on-site dinners, course-a-lure, disc dog demonstrations, herding demos, and more were all part of Cynosport.

Much of the event was live streamed for at-home spectating. An open feed with limited commentary was available during many classes and a multi-camera stream of each finals event, with commentary from internationally known agility competitor Julie Daniels, USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch, and others was recorded for video-on-demand and DVDs. 

Congratulations to the 2013 Cynosport World Games Champions!

Grand Prix of Dog Agility
12" Sandra Rogers and Quill (Parson Russell Terrier) 22" Cynthia Hornor and Spice (Border Collie)
16" Ashley Deacon and Dash (Pyrenean Shepherd) 26" Daisy Peel and Solar (Border Collie)

Performance Grand Prix
8" Betsey Lynch and Luna (Papillon) 16" Pamela Fish and Edge (Border Collie)
12" Alicia Nicholas and Ho (Papillon) 22" Paulena Renee Simpson and F5 Tornado (Border Collie)

$10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase
12" Daneen Fox and Masher (Papillon) 22" Lauren Mitchell and Wicked (Border Collie)
16" Kayl McCann and Funkee Monkee (All-Canadian/mix) 26" Desiree Snellman and Pace (Border Collie)

Performance Speed Jumping
8" Katherine Elliot and Whim (Jack Russell Terrier) 16" Pamela Fish and Edge (Border Collie)
12" Alicia Nicholas and Ho (Papillon) 22" Paulena Renee Simpson and F5 Tornado (Border Collie)

Masters Challenge Biathlon
12" Andy Mueller and Crackers (Jack Russell Terrier) 22" Kayl McCann and Slyce (Border Collie)
16" Ashley Deacon and Dash (Pyrenean Shepherd) 26" Daisy Peel and Solar (Border Collie)

Performance Masters Challenge Biathlon
8" Dawn Weaver and Puzzle (Papillon) 16" Dudley Fontaine and Maverick (Border Collie)
12" Laura Dolan and Race (Shetland Sheepdog) 22" Kelly Brauneck and Furley (Border Collie)

Dog Agility Masters Team
Featuring Presto Chango
Revolution and Tori Self, Presto and Terry Smorch, Feature and Susan Garrett (all Border Collies)

Performance Versatility Pairs
Power N' Skecher
Skecher and Barb Davis (Shetland Sheepdog), Power and Kate Moureaux (Border Collie)

Top Veterans
4"  Janelle Julyan and Eve (Pembroke Welsh Corgi)
8"  Tammi Stone and Splash (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever)
12" Linda Mecklenburg and Super (Border Collie)
16" Annie DeChance and Stella ("Uma Thurman Dog")

Desiree Snellman on course with Stinger at the Cynosport World Games. Photo courtesy of GreatDanePhotos.

Visit for more information from the event, including courses and full results.

Training Corner: Doodles
By Bud Houston

I am an advocate in general for the idea that, in handling for dog agility, whatever actually works is correct. If a thing is practiced enough, we are inclined to have confidence in the outcome. Confidence is an important trait as it will free the handler to move boldly and on the attack rather than conservatively and defensively.

Here is a simple sequence that has multiple handling solutions. How would you solve it?

I'm fascinated with the variety of solutions handlers will use to approach the #3 pipe tunnel under the A-frame. The simple thing, of course, would be to take a modest lead-out with dog on left, using a quick counter-rotation (also known as the Reverse Flow Pivot or RFP, which means that the handler turns in to the dog as if beginning a front cross and then turns back onto the original path) to draw the dog towards the handler and into the pipe tunnel.

Even the transition from the pipe tunnel to the weave poles becomes a teaching moment. It's amazing how many handlers will exhaust the real estate available for movement while the dog is in the pipe tunnel so that when the dog comes out of the tunnel the handler is down field and moving badly. This is the perfect opportunity to scoop, which means the handler will loiter near the exit of the tunnel, saving up all that real estate, and will explode into motion at the instant the dog makes his exit.

In the serpentine following the weave poles I will often specify handling as a series of blind crosses (changing sides in front of the dog without turning to face the dog). The blind cross is the racer's option for a serpentine and will create neat tight little turns and a dog that gets excited by the chase.

See more Doodles here.

2014 IFCS World Agility Championships Team Members

The 2014 IFCS World Agility Championships will take place May 7-11, 2014, in The Netherlands and Team USA will be there! Rule changes for the 2014 event have increased the maximum number of dogs and handlers per team to 20. Sixteen individual handlers may be included on a team, plus up to four past IFCS medal winners per nation (eligible handlers have won an IFCS Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal from any IFCS World Agility Championship or IFCS Continental Championship since 2002).

Consideration for a position on the US team was offered first to the handler/dog with the highest number of Team Selection Points (TSPs) in each jump height earned at each of the following events in 2013:

IFCS Continental Championship of the Americas (CCOA)
April 24-28, in Fort Worth, Texas
(Four handlers/dogs selected)

USDAA Cynosport World Games (Cynosport)
October 23-27, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(Four handlers/dogs selected)

Eight team members and the alternates were chosen based on the highest total combined TSPs from CCOA and Cynosports. Four handler/dog teams were chosen based on being past medalists (handler and dog) as described above.

Congratulations to the team members who will represent the US in this international competition!

Andy Mueller and Crackers Daneen Fox and Masher
Ivette White and Zip Monique Plinck and Tiki
Linda Womer and Sonic Mike Padgett and Kona (Alternate)

Stacy Bols and Krusher Maureen Waldron and Michael
Jen Pnder and Britain Jenn Crank and Kaboo
Jennifer Thomas and Rodeo Giuliana Lund and Zuri (Alternate)

Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy Paulena-Renee Simpson and Graphite
Jeannette Hutchison and Rumble Lisa Kucharski and Finesse
Kate Moureaux and Smart Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Sobe (Alternate)

Lori Michaels and Solei Desiree Snelleman and Pace
Terry Smorch and Presto Ashley Anderson and Psi
Jenn Crank and Sonic Jamie Herren and Zip (Alternate)

Congratulations to the new IFCS Team USA!

Do Dogs Engage in Riskier Behavior When Their Self-Control is Depleted?
By Claudia Bensimoun

How do our canine companions behave when their self-control is depleted? If a dog is tired, is he more likely to approach a dangerous situation than if he is well rested? A new study by Dr. Holly Miller and colleagues from the University of Lille Nord De France offers a new perspective.

Dr. Miller, PhD, focused her research on self-control in dogs. To test whether self-control exertion by dogs would affect their behavioral approach towards an aggressive threat, Dr. Miller and colleagues engaged 10 dogs and trained them to sit still while caged for 10 minutes as a display of self-control. Afterwards, they were walked into a room in which a barking, growling dog was caged. The subject dogs had to spend four minutes in this room, yet were free to roam around afterwards and choose the room where they would spend their time.

Miller's results, which were published in the Journal of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, show a marked difference between an exhausted dog and one that was mentally alert. The present research "provides evidence that the phenomenon of self-control depletion, once believed to be uniquely human, can be found in dogs. Using work in animals may provide a greater insight into the physiological and neurobiological processes that affect self-control," says Miller.

Dr. Miller also tested the hypothesis that human and non-human self-control processes rely on the same biological mechanism - the availability of glucose in the bloodstream. Miller and colleagues carried out two experiments. The first experiment demonstrated that dogs that were required to exert self-control on an initial task persisted for a shorter time on a subsequent unsolvable task than did dogs that were not previously required to exert self-control. The second experiment showed that providing dogs with a shot of glucose eliminated the negative effects of prior exertion of self-control on persistence. This result would parallel the findings in human testing. Miller found that self-control in dogs was not about behavior and training, but rather, about self-control relying on the same limited energy resource among humans and non-humans.

Ziggy exhibits self-control while waiting in his crate. Photo courtesy of Kat Fahle, Good Dog Sports.

Read the article in full here.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Watch out for these events with entries closing in the coming weeks:
Dates Host Group Location Closing Date
12/07-12/08/2013 Contact Point Agility Club Fillmore, CA 11/27
12/13-12/15/2013 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 11/27
12/14-12/15/2013 Pawsitive Partners Dog Training Center Indianapolis, IN 11/27
12/08-12/08/2013 Branchwater Training Center Reisterstown, MD 11/28
12/13-12/15/2013 Club-Doggie Mesa, AZ 12/02
12/06-12/08/2013 All Dogs Can Agility Lapeer, MI 12/02
12/14-12/15/2013 Keystone Agility Club Barto, PA 12/04
12/13-12/15/2013 Blue Ridge Agility Club Fletcher, NC 12/04
12/20-12/22/2013 Sonlight Ranch LLC Brooksville, FL 12/06
12/21-12/22/2013 Dog Agility Sport Handlers Costa Mesa, CA 12/09
12/27-12/29/2013 Contact Agility Club Hamden, CT 12/09
12/21-12/21/2013 K-9 Sports, LLC Oregon City, OR 12/11
12/28-12/29/2013 Mid-Atlantic MADness Harmans, MD 12/11
12/27-12/29/2013 Penn-Ohio Agility Edinboro, PA 12/13
12/28-12/30/2013 Sirius Dog Agility Training Center Perry, GA 12/13
12/27-12/29/2013 Dog Gone Fun TX Belton, TX 12/13
12/28-12/29/2013 Contact Sports Agility New Berlin, WI 12/15
12/27-12/29/2013 Greater St. Louis Agility Club Glen Carbon, IL 12/16
12/28-12/29/2013 Denver Dog Sports Agility Denver, CO 12/16
12/28-12/30/2013 Saguaro Scramblers Tucson, AZ 12/16
01/03-01/05/2014 BARK-NH! Manchester, NH 12/18
01/18-01/19/2014 Low Country Dog Agility Charleston, SC 12/22
01/04-01/05/2014 Good Dog Agility Club Tempe, AZ 12/23
01/04-01/05/2014 Happy Dog Agility Moorpark, CA 12/24
01/01-01/01/2014 DrivenDogs Agility Somis, CA 12/24
01/11-01/11/2014 DASH K9 Sports Campton Hills, IL 12/25
01/12-01/12/2014 Agility at the Farm Campton Hills, IL 12/25
01/03-01/05/2014 Tails in Motion Ham Lake, MN 12/27
01/10-01/12/2014 Front Range Agility Club (FRAC) Longmont, CO 12/27
01/18-01/19/2014 On Target Agility, LLC Barto, PA 12/29
01/10-01/12/2014 Fast and Furryous Agility, LLC Raleigh, NC 12/30

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

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