Tuesday, September 08, 2009

USDAA Qualifying and Titling Rules

SUMMARY: Some of the arcanity of USDAA scoring.

I'm skipping Starters and Advanced qualifying (Q) requirements (sorry, nonmasters) because they're fairly straight-forward (I'm speaking relatively, of course).

On to Masters/P3 and Tournament, because that's where one accrues the most Qs over your competition lifetime. As a source of entertainment, qualifying requirements and title requirements change periodically, so keeping up with it could be a regular hobby.

OK, there are two somewhat parallel sequences of titles that you achieve with your Qs: The basic titling sequence and the lifetime titling sequence.

The basic titling sequence includes things like your MAD (Master Agility Dog), RCh (Relay Champion), TM (Tournament Master), ADCH (Agility Dog Champion), and so on. You can follow this sequence in either Championship program ("Masters") or Performance program ("P3". You have to start anew with each program; masters Qs don't transfer to P3 and vice versa.

The lifetime sequence is just that: Lifetime Achievement Award bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. This counts ALL Qs of any type that you earn in Masters, P3, or Tournament (performance or championship). For example, it takes 30 (specific) masters Qs to earn your ADCH. If you then move to performance and earn your APD (Performance championship), it takes another 30 legs. You now have 60 legs towards your LAA awards.

To earn your basic titles, you need Qs in the regular classes of Standard, Gamblers, Jumpers, Snooker, and Pairs Relay. For the major titles in this group, you also need Tournament Qs (Steeplechase, Grand Prix, Dog Agility Masters (DAM) Team).

For your ADCH or your APD, you need: 5 each of the regular classes plus 5 tournaments, with at least one of each tournament type.

Is that all perfectly clear now?

Here's the annoying thing about the DAM tournament: You have to do a DAM jumpers, DAM gamblers, DAM standard, DAM snooker, and DAM relay to get JUST ONE DAM Q. None of them count towards titles in your basic titling sequence. All that work for ONE Q?!?

Back in The Day, Team Snooker and Jumpers, if I recall correctly, could also be counted as regular Qs for your snooker & jumpers titles, but they did away with that because they operated under different rules than the regular classes.

However, starting last year, USDAA finally saw the light again and allowed the four individual DAM classes to count towards your Lifetime awards. That is, they don't count towards your basic title sequence, but they do count towards your Lifetime Achievement Awards (LAA), which is wonderful.

But the qualifying requirements are different. In regular classes, there's a certain known minimum standard that you must achieve to earn a Q, which means that in theory everyone at a trial could Q in every class, no matter what anyone else does. For the Team individual Qs, however, you must be within a certain range of the best performers in each class.

To do this, you take the top 3 dogs (in your height and program) and average their scores. Anyone within 15% of that average earns one of these bonus Q. Yeah, in theory, everyone could also Q, but that raises the bar high enough--especially at the regionals--that it's more difficult to earn those Qs.

Except that Tika the wonder-performance-dog, who seems to love being at 22", has Qed in every one of her Team events in the two tournaments we've entered. Huzzah.

Hey, is any of that clear? It made sense while I was writing it--

Example:

In Masters/P3 Standard, to earn a Q towards basic titles, you must have a clean run and be faster than the Standard Course Time. This Q *also* counts towards your LAAs.

In Championship/Performance DAM team Standard, to earn a bonus Q towards your LAA, your time plus faults must be within 15% of the average of the top 3 dogs' time plus faults. These do *not* count towards your basic titles.

Well--so--since I suspect everyone's eyes are now glazed over, let me just say that, between Masters and P3 and all Tournaments, Tika now has 217 Qs towards her LAA awards. 150 was her LAA-bronze. Another 33 to go to her Silver.

And over and out.

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