Archive for the ‘NDAL’ Category

February 2021 IDAL League Courses

January 16, 2021

Following is a preview of the February 2021 courses and games for IDAL league play. We are making some changes at the NDAL home office. As you can see, we have changed the N to an I in the League Name. We are now the International Dog Agility League. We need to be inclusive of our international franchises and encourage new international teams to join us. The IDAL presents for play in February three historical NDAL courses. We hope to have some new course offerings in the near future.

50×70 Fast & Fun

The February 2021 50×70 Fast & Fun league game is a Numbered Course, designed by Bud Houston. This game was first run in the NDAL in August of 2017.


A Numbered Course is scored Time, Plus Faults. Follow the numbers, keep the bars up and hit the paint.


The standing Top Dog in this game was recorded in August of 2017, playing for Aq4U’s Fast & Furryous. Ember, a Shetland Sheepdog handled by Stacey Breckel. They finished this course with zero faults in 25.68 seconds:

60×90 Masters

For the February 2021 60×90 Masters league, we present the August 2017 game of Power and Speed which was designed by Bud Houston.


Power & Speed is a two-part game. The first part, POWER is untimed. However, any faults earned are added to the dog’s overall score. Refusals will NOT be faulted. However, three “on & off” refusals will be deemed a Failure to Perform.

The SPEED part is timed.

A TimeWarp Bonus (10 points) is earned for the dog working away at jumps #7 through #9 without fault, while the handler works on the opposite side of the handler containment line (red line).

This game is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus.


The standing Top Dog on this course, recorded in July 2017, represented United Colors of Agility out of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Gemma, a Border Collie handled by Susan Dawson. They finished this course with zero faults, plus the bonus, in a score of 7.63:

36X85 Fast & Fun

The February game for the 36×85 Fast & Fun league was designed by Bud Houston in 2017. Get your running shoes on!


A Numbered Course is scored Time, Plus Faults. Follow the numbers, keep the bars up and hit the paint.


The standing Top Dog on this course, recorded in August 2017, represented Wicked West Australians out of Banjup Western Australia: Ripley, a Border Collie handled by Nic Ford. They finished this course with zero faults in 30.59 seconds:

An Open Invitation to New Players

New clubs and individuals are always welcome to join us. You play these historical courses. Just download the scorekeeping worksheet below. Contact the League Secretary to help with the details at:    

  • The 50×70 Fast & Fun League is intended to allow the dog to work at full extension with modest handling challenges.
    Download Scoresheet020121B50x70.xls
  • The 36×85 Fast & Fun League is intended to allow the dog to work at full extension with modest handling challenges.
    Download Scoresheet020121D36x85.xls
  • Existing league franchises will be emailed their scorekeeping worksheets set up with their current rosters upon request.

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July 13, 2015

This is an open invitation to join our league. While it’s late to actually compete in the inaugural league, the final course of that league (July) would be a good way to introduce in your agility center, and be ready to roll with the Summer League (rules and stipulations to be released by the end of July).

I’m having a great time with play in the National Dog Agility League (NDAL). Our first official season is clearly being dominated by Team Canada. But don’t you know, somebody’s got to win, and they play a pretty rough and rugged game up there.

However, I understand that Nancy Gyes and Power Paws will be joining in league play. So Team Canada will have competition. This is going to be fun to watch. [We encourage YouTube recording of NDAL runs. So indeed, we get to watch.]

What Makes NDAL Distinct?

One of the real differences between play in the National Dog Agility League and any of the agility organizations that demand mastery of the sport (USDAA, AKC, FCI) is that every single error doesn’t have fatal consequence. Think about it, in AKC Excellent if the dog makes any error the dog and handler are eliminated and dismissed ignominiously. It’s not enough to deny the Q. The score is scratched as though it never even existed.

In the NDAL we’ve adopted a system that provides a granularity of scoring so that a performance can be measured against the field of players. For example, a dog might miss a contact. Under our rules he has earned 5 faults. And this might very well place that dog in the upper 7% of dogs who competed. And so the performance is honored and celebrated, rather than dismissed.

Small but Happy

We’re looking to grow the National Dog Agility League. The long-term view is that we’ll have a national championship tournament that features the top 64 teams (kind of like the NCAA basketball tournament). Well, we won’t have to worry about that for awhile as we are a long way from having a field of 64 teams. Right now we’ll content ourselves with being small, but happy.

The only source of income is in recording fees which is, precisely, $1 per run. I’m happy to say that we have enough of a small income that I can apply those funds to a small Clean Run ad each month. Perhaps we’ll be able to attract a few new clubs and continue to grow.

An International Flavor

The spring league certainly has had a strong international flavor. That means that each course was a tough riddle featuring challenges that would daunt the timid. Below I will share each of those courses with you.

I really love the problem solving that goes into these course. I suppose I love USDAA Masters Challenge courses for the same reason, though I’ve learned (the hard way) that the traditional “8 minute walk-through” really isn’t enough time to solve. I like the idea of publishing a course well in advance so that the competitor can pour over the course map and develop a plan that has the highest probability of success.

May NDAL Course


Steve Schwarz asked me for a critique of his design effort kind of early on. But I declined to do so. I don’t really want to constrain or even influence the approach we take to course design in the NDAL. It is what it is.

I’m happy to share my review comments now. I’ll start with a couple of warning flags:

  • The course is a bit bottom heavy. You’ll note that 2/3ds of the obstacle performances are on the lower1/3d of the field.
  • The transitions between some of the obstacles are very short. When combined with the technical challenges of the course, there’s not a lot of opportunity for a dog to be working in full extension.

“Warning flags” aside, the course turned out to be a fine romp. The course probably favors quick little dogs with tight turning skills.

You can still run this course and add your dog’s scores to the historical record of the course, though it’s now too late to submit league scores for the course. Download the May 2015 scorekeeping worksheet.

May 2015 League Results.

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I will review the June NDAL courses tomorrow.

Blog1021 NDAL

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.