a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Miscellany

Friday, March 24, 2006


  • Better Living Through Adrenaline: I did a wee bit of agility equipment rearranging in my back yard this morning, in between doing about 5 minutes of agility work with Jake, another 5 with Tika, and another 5 with Boost, all of course involving excitement and tugs of wars and such. As I was collecting the assorted toys from the assorted dogs to put them away, I noticed that my right index knuckle was drenched in blood. Have a half-inch gaping slice, to which I ended up applying a butterfly closure. What a mess. Where did I get it? I have no clue at all.
  • Steelechase rule changes: USDAA recently announced that they're changing the qualifying rules for Steeplechase to make it to the Nationals. (They've tweaked them before, too.) Now, to qualify, you must be within "125% of the simple average of the top three placement winners in the height class, provided at least five competitors compete in the class and receive a score". Used to be that the top 30% qualified, period (well, with some caveats for small groups of dogs...). In theory, this means that if all dogs are fast and clean, they could all qualify. It also means, in theory, that only the top 3 dogs could qualify.

    Let's say there are 20 dogs competing and the top 3 dogs run at 29, 30, and 31 seconds, averaging 30 seconds. 125% would be 37.5 seconds. Let's say that the next 2 dogs run at 33 seconds, well within competitive speed range, but each knocks a bar, for a total of 38, and the next dog is clean but has a time of 38.5. Under the old rules, all 6 would qualify. Under the new rules, only the top 3 qualify.

    Conversely, let's take the same top 3 dogs and say that the next 6 dgs ran at 32,33,34,35,36, and 37 seconds. Under the new rules, all 9 would qualify; under the old rules, only the top 6 would qualify.

    And one more trick, as the 12" dogs discovered this last weekend--five 12" dogs competed, but 3 of them were offcourse for Eliminations, which means they did not receive a score--so the 2 top 12" dogs were lumped in with the 16" dogs, which makes it much harder for them to compete on time, and neither ended up qualifying. Now, in this case it's hard to argue too much--one of them knocked a bar but probably would've qualified even with the 16" if clean, and the other dog went on a detour to investigate the judge (not a fault) before deciding the return to the handler and complete the course clean but enough slower than the 16" that she didn't Q.

    Next year, dogs will be required to Q in *TWO* steeplechases to make it to the Nationals, just as they now must Q twice in Grand Prix. Argh. Tika has barely squeaked out two GPs a year, but has yet to do two Steeplechases in a year. At least we're in for this year, and future nationals will probably be far enough out of state that we won't be going anyway. But it's nice to know that we could if we wanted to!

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