Major change

I’ve been fairly active on social media just about as long as it has been around. When I was a chemistry teacher, I had a MySpace page, back when it looked a lot like Facebook does now. Now, there’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+…the list goes on and on. Sometimes it’s good for things, and sometimes, well, sometimes it’s a way to waste a LOT of time and start useless arguments where nothing ACTUALLY gets accomplished except whiling away the day.

Today, though, agility social media here in the USA went pretty crazy, with this news:


Yep, AKC suspended the chute. Sure, UKI had done the same thing just recently. But frankly, UKI has not grown as much as I had hoped here on the West Coast, and as it was already optional, we never really saw chutes on UKI courses anyway, at least not locally. AKC is a biggie. THE biggie in the USA, really, with respect to participation.

And then, just a short while later, a letter from USDAA went out to the USDAA judging corps., stating:

After discussions this morning and the past few weeks with some equipment engineers, we do not foresee that a resolution can be found relative to the friction issue and the operation of the chute on the surfaces being utilized today. The length of the chute as per our suspicions is not the root cause of the problem, as evidenced by a number of videos showing tumbles and entanglements while exiting chutes as short as six feet; instead, it appears that a variety of attributes that do not seem practical, if even possible, to address in the near term give rise to the problem.

As a result, we have decided to suspend indefinitely the use of the collapsible tunnel.
Judges may substitute one of the following in place of the collapsed tunnel in their course designs:

1 or 2 jumps
Long jump
Pipe tunnel
Posted by: Andy Hartman


Holy cow, the two biggies, in one day, just hours apart from one another, announced this. Pretty darned amazing. Change CAN happen. And does. And sometimes, FAST. I am so excited that Cynosport will have NO chute. The Bay Team Regional this weekend, NO chute. AKC shows…no chute. Which not only means that the obstacle itself will be gone, but also that course designers have a little more flexibility with design now that they don’t have to account  for the damned thing.

USDAA and AKC are really the two organizations that I have chosen to play in. At the moment, I’ve suspended my participation in UKI shows, for various reasons. ONE of those reasons is that as it turns out, despite my own laments that I wish AKC courses could be more fulfilling for ME, why can’t they be more like courses *I* want to run (i.e. international style courses)…AKC rules and regulations have ALLOWED for that ALL ALONG. Let’s call it “boutique agility”. We’ve got our “big box” agility – the agility most people want, and are happy with, most of the time. And then we’ve got our boutique agility – specialty agility, doesn’t happen all the time, but IT HAPPENS.

And, it’s happening. In the PNW, we have events popping up that are completely without affiliation to any organization at all, and it’s great. But, for those that want to do boutique agility, a problem is presented, because venturing out to do that AND do the big box agility often means a doubling up on how much agility total is done, and that can be harmful to dogs and humans alike, in all sorts of ways.

But anyway, the point is, it seems as though, drilling down in to the AKC rules and regulations, international style agility CAN happen, without any rule changes. You *can* earn AKC Qs, titles, points, etc., on international style courses. Maybe just not at a big box AKC show. But, it seems that with some work, and some planning, it’s possible that those who want to do some boutique agility CAN, without having to double up. The best of all worlds, really, because although I yearn to do international style courses under pressure more often, even I do not want to see the mainstream “big box” agility become less available. Work, and planning, and some patience. But it’s starting to happen. Boutique agility under the umbrella of an existing organization. Why didn’t we think of it before?