a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: We Don't Get No Respect

Saturday, May 23, 2009

We Don't Get No Respect

SUMMARY: AKC and the public perception of agility.

My sister brought me a souvenir from her recent trip: An in-flight magazine (USA Today Open Air Magazine) containing the article "See Spot run...and jump" by Steve Dale. A full page article about dog agility! Cool! Some people get souvenir t-shirts from their relatives. I get copies of free magazines. But she knows what I like!

Even cooler: It mentioned 6 people from around the country, and I know 4 of them! (Laurie Leach, local, author of The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility and USDAA nationals winner with her sheltie a couple of years back; Marj and Bruce Vincent, used to own Starfleet Agility--now WAG--in Elk Grove; and Sara McKinley and the local Haute Dawgs Agility Group.)

Gives contact info for AKC, USDAA, NADAC, and DOCNA (wth? no CPE? Which has been around twice as long as DOCNA?... weirder, DOCNA's not even mentioned in the wikipedia article. Guess I'd better fix that.)

But, OK. Here's the thing. The article starts with a brief intro sentence and then, WHAM UPSIDE YOUR HEAD, "Dog agility is a bona fide dog sport, sanctioned by the American Kennel Club." [italics mine] Argh! Like, it's not a bona fide dog sport if it's NOT sanctioned by the AKC? There wasn't even any AKC worth mentioning when I started; USDAA was already big and televised regularly before AKC agility got any traction. USDAA pretty much started agility in north america (short of a year or so of effort by Bud Kramer), and USDAA is huge. USDAA isn't even mentioned in the article until 3/4 of the way through. All the statistics about how many dogs are competing are AKC statistics.


When AKC associates their name with something, then they own it. In the public's view, at any rate.

Fah, I say.

Of course, USDAA added to the confusion by cleverly creating a logo by taking the AKC logo, changing "AKC" to "USDAA" and adding a little yellow tint here and there.

And, P.S., the author missed an excellent opportunity to say the sport is a bona fido sport. Or bone fide sport. What's the world of professional writers coming to?


  1. When I first started taking agility classes they were through the local humane society but the instructor only did AKC agility and arranged for the class (we had taken lessons together for months) to go to an AKC trial for its first trial. Everyone except me of course since I had a mix. I tried taking a USDAA premium to class in hopes that we could go as a group to a trial that I could be a part of. Not a single person was interested and in fact one woman said to me, 'Oh, that's that weird organization' and would have no part of it. Some of the people were even having trouble getting into AKC trials and were complaining that they were #80 on the waiting list but still they wouldn't consider USDAA or NADAC (no DOCNA at the time), they'd rather not play. I thought it was a shame that the most popular organization discriminates and that my instructor didn't seem to care even though she worked for the Humane Society. I stopped taking lessons there as soon as I found someplace better.

  2. I think fact checkers are a dying breed. Oh there's a joke in there sonmewheres. :)

    Would bet the AKC pitched the article, that's why the slant toward them.

  3. Well the general public knows the AKC. Someone who doesnt participate in dog agility wouldnt know what USDAA is. Thats probably why they said that. Maybe to connect with the readers. Diana