Archive for the ‘TDAP’ Category

August 2014 Top Dog Agility Challenge

July 21, 2014

We’re making a modest start with Top Dog in the month of August, 2014. At Queen City Dog Training Club in Cincinnati, Ohio we’ll run a tournament of three challenge courses with no more than 40 dogs.

This has been called the YouTube Invitational. The idea is that we will post results of the tournament in this BLOG, including a link to the YouTube recording of each of those performances. Anybody who sets up the course, anywhere in the world, will be included in those results.

Anyone (club, group or individual) may set up any or all of the Challenge Courses. For results to be recorded for this event the courses must be run in the month of August, 2014, and results must be reported by midnight on August 31, 2014.

If you would like to play, these are important resources for you:

TDAP Pup Registration Form (it’s free);
Scorekeeping Package for August 2014 Challenge Courses (Excel file);
Top Dog Rules and Regulations (Our simple system for scoring performance)

Challenge Courses

We are honored that our courses for this challenge were designed by Stuart Mah, a judge and competitor with a tremendous depth of knowledge and skills, a beloved old-timer, and a pioneer in the sport of dog agility.

The judge for the event at Queen City on August 5th is Brenda Gilday.  Brenda is a popular judge for Canine Performance Events (CPE) and the Teacup Dogs Agility Association (TDAA).

First Round Game: Steeplechase

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Briefing

This is a simple numbered course. The scoring basis is: Time, Plus Faults.

Follow the numbers, keep the bars up, hit the paint. And have fun.

Second Round Game: Time Warp

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Briefing

This is a simple game, run like a standard course. The Scoring Basis is Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus. There is an opportunity on this course to earn a 50 point bonus which is subtracted from the Time, Plus Faults part of your score: If you can stay on the opposite side of the containment line through your dog’s performance of obstacles #12 through #15, then you will earn a 50 point bonus. Note that the bonus is not lost for any faults in the distance challenge.

Secretary’s Pick

The course will be used for the league challenge.

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This is a standard course. The scoring basis is Faults, Then Time. Follow the numbers, keep the bars up, and hit the paint. And have fun.

 

League Challenge

The event at Queen City is intended to be a role model for the conduct of a league competition. A league team represents a community of agility enthusiasts. The team itself is limited to five dogs. The performance scores of these five dogs will be the team score.

As no league committee exits at this point, to establish league rules, to set calendar and objectives, we will recognize only a short set of rules:

  • Each dog in a league must be registered with Top Dog Agility Players
  • Dogs will be scored observing TDAP rules for performance, and are eligible for TDAP titles and honors.
  • The five league dogs must be identified before the competition.

That last bullet is an important bit. At Queen City we will be running maybe 40 dogs in the competition. We can not run the 40 dogs and then pick the top five scores to represent the league team. Consequently, the first two games are intended as Qualifying rounds. Each dog’s combined scores from those games will represent their qualifying score. The top five dogs from the Qualifying rounds till be delegated the league team.

That is not to say that this is the only way for a club or group to define their official league team. Flipping coins would be an acceptable method for selecting the team, as would “hand picking” the team. The only stipulation is that the team must be defined before the competition.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

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League Play

July 15, 2014

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We need an earnest discussion about the “agility league” especially and obviously as it relates to Top Dog Agility Players. Just a couple days ago we published an Introduction, which outlines how the opening night of league play will work at Queen City Dog Training Club in Cincinnati, OH on August 5, 2014.

And now, the real question for which inquiring want an answer. Why is the final league team randomized? Why not come into a competition with a team already assembled. After all, that builds team spirit and camaraderie.

Bear with me on this. One club only gets one team. Can that club preselect the team? Of course they can. What we have at Queen City is a competition to which about 40 dogs will be invited. Why would they show up if “the team” were already selected? What we’re going to do is have two rounds of qualifying courses or games. Every dogs placement against the field accumulated over the two rounds will determine who gets to be on the five dog team. And then, in the final round, the scores earned by those five dogs will constitute the score of the Queen City team. And this is the score will be recorded against any other teams that report a score for league play.

A league must have rules. One of our really basic rules is that the team must be selected before running the challenge course. It would be unfair (and, obviously, against our rules) if we ran 40 dogs on the challenge course and afterwards picked the top five scores to represent the team score. That wouldn’t be a team at all.

At this point we don’t even know if other clubs around the country (or around the world) will compete with the Queen City team. This isn’t going to be a quick and easy start-up.

If you are going to play, or feel like you want to… get in touch with me. I’ll help you get started! ~ Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com.  Come out and play with us!

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

Everything That’s Old is New

July 17, 2013

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We are working on some sweeping changes to the basic rules, mostly to simplify and make play in Top Dog more attractive and easy to assume. Stand by for a gentle rewrite of our Rules and Regulations.

Not too long ago somebody told me “If you keep picking at it, it will never get better.” The point is well taken, of course. In my own defense you should understand that I have always observed the Antonio Stradivari method. He is rumored to have said “I just polish and polish until they come to take it away.”

The rules change that I’m most excited about is removal of the closing date for a posted course or a game. Results will be collected perpetually for any published event. With that in mind, we are going to go back through posted courses since the first moment we launched Top Dog. Some of these have robust results… and some are orphans.

This also means, you should know, that any player can call for an immediate “Mulligans” or a do-over. Both runs/attempts, should be reported in results. This is a dramatic departure from the way nearly any agility organization in the world operates. Who is to say that the “standard” is actually the best rational standard? All systems of rules at their core are irrational. We will observe our own standard of the irrational.

I wrote about today’s posted rerun in my personal blog: http://wp.me/pmSZZ-19L.

July 2013 Event Rerun

This is: 113012A86x98. Click to download the score sheet (complete with course maps for CRCD).

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This course is both the oldest and the latest course challenge for Top Dog Agility. We’ve had a subtle rules change that allows re-running of any course. What it really means is that a course or game never “closes” but is left open like the high scores on a video game at the arcade where everybody has a shot at getting to Top Dog.

I’m having a conversation with a club down in Valencia, Argentina about joining us in the play of this course. That should be fun! Hey… isn’t it Winter in Argentina?

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

July Top Dog

July 2, 2013

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In consultation with the Top Dog Steering Committee we are introducing a few changes to the format. These really aren’t small changes. So try to follow along.

  1. All events will be permanently open. Results for each event will be maintained on a historical basis. Therefore, all closing dates documented for events are no longer in effect; (give me time, and I’ll remove all of them).
  2. A dog may repeat a course or game; and each score recorded individually. The repeated run may be on the same day… or at any later date.
  3. Titles will be normalized to reflect systems used by other agility organizations.

The rules need to be edited to reflect these changes.

Events for July 2013

We begin July with two numbered courses. Please note that the second is a Jumpers course. Because it is not a game… it becomes a numbered course.

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  Numbered Course
  Time Plus Faults
  160 yards

 

Qualifying: 4″

92

seconds
8″

82

seconds
12″

74

seconds
16″

67

seconds
20″+

60

seconds

 

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  Numbered Course
  Time Plus Faults
  160 yards

 

Qualifying: 4″

50

seconds
8″

45

seconds
12″

40

seconds
16″

36

Seconds
20″+

33

Seconds

 

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

New Events for May & June 2013

May 13, 2013

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Today we are opening two new numbered courses and a wicked fun distance/jumping game. These events will close at the end of June.

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Numbered courses are always scored: Time, Plus Faults.

Qualifying:

4″           82 Seconds
8″           74 Seconds
12″         67 Seconds
16″         60 Seconds
20″+       54 Seconds

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Numbered courses are always scored: Time, Plus Faults.

Qualifying:
4″           89 Seconds
8″           80 Seconds
12″         72 Seconds
16″         65 Seconds
20″+     58 Seconds

Jumplers
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Briefing

This is a simple numbered course. If the handler can run the entire course without ever stepping inside the red box, 15 bonus points will be earned. If the handler can run the entire course without ever leaving the red box, 25 bonus points will be earned.

Jumplers is scored: Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus.

Qualifying:

4″                    60 Seconds
8″                    53 Seconds
12″                  48 Seconds
16″                  43 Seconds
20″+                39 Seconds

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

April 2013 Events

April 12, 2013

Notes

I’ve been working through the score-keeping task for literally everything we’ve done to date. It is far more complicated than you might think! Possibly by tomorrow everybody who has played with us will get an email showing their qualifying scores and Lifetime Performance Points earned to date.

Top Dog Top Ten

Top Dog Agility Players is proud and pleased to announce the top ten dogs as of April 12, 2013:

#1 Cocoa ~ Dachshund owned by Teresa Kolean ~ 231 LPP

#2 Ziva ~ Australian Shepherd owned by Elizabeth Britton ~ 204 LPP

#3 Chili ~ Puggle owned by Jenn Soden ~ 191 LPP

#4 Flaire ~ Dachshund owned by Teresa Kolean ~ 187 LPP

#5 Misty ~ Cattle Dog owned by Holly Fitzgerald ~ 182 LPP

#6 Maggie Mae ~ Yorkiepoo owned by Kathy Partin ~ 181 LPP

#7 Silver ~ Dachshund owned by Teresa Kolean ~ 179 LPP

#8 Magic ~ Dachshund owned by Teresa Kolean ~ 171 LPP

#9 Missy ~ Cocker Spaniel owned by Hannah Page ~ 169 LPP

#10 Casey ~ Shetland Sheepdog owned by Romona Crain ~ 167 LPP

April Event

Today we are publishing one numbered course, designed by Kuliga judge Brenda Gilday.

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Want to run this with us? To download the score-sheet, click here: 040913A60X100. All scores must be in by the end of May.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

Welcoming the New Year!

January 4, 2013

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I am excited about the start of the New Year as we begin the marketing of Top Dog Agility Players in earnest.

Top Dog is intended to be a truly recreational venue. As such TDAP should not be compared to any of the training venues that all subscribe to essentially the same model of progression and distinction. While we aspire to eventually have our own world championship tournament, right now we modestly aim at growing participation and figuring out the complicated logistics of a competition that is conducted in more than one physical place.

Change to the Rules

I have agonized for some time over the issue of jump heights, especially. Mind you that I’m an old timer. My first agility dog, Winston the Wonder Dog, was 13″ tall and had to jump 18″ (back in the day) to earn his ADCh title in the USDAA. And big dogs actually jumped 30″ in those days. In any case, all jump heights are arbitrary and by some measure or another irrational.

We began our definition in the rules by establishing jump heights, and then providing for Jump Height Exemptions for long aback dogs, dogs with dwarfish legs, and so forth. But the more I thought about it the more I was convinced that there are any number of reasons a handler/owner might want to jump his dog at a lower height. Giant breeds, for example, might deserve a lower jump height; or the handler might have a dog that is convalescing from some injury; or who knows… I don’t really care to explore the entire psychology of jumping at a lower height.

In any case, we are going to make an important and fairly bold change to the rules (that is bound to cause smart-alecky purists to not take us very seriously). The following bit comes right out of the rule book. Red text indicates change or addition:

2.6 Jump Heights

Jump heights are determined based on the height of the dog at the withers. It is the responsibility of the judge appointed by the host club to measure and determine the correct scoring jump heights for all dogs in competition. The score sheet for an event shall contain two important indicators: 1) Jump Height; and 2) Scoring Jump Height.

A dog may jump at any jump height the owner/handler desires. Jump height exemptions are self-declared. A dog may be jumped at a lower height for any number of reasons (the dog is slightly lame; the surface is not optimal for jumping at full height; the dog is a non‑confident jumper). Top Dog Agility Players will not monitor dogs’ jump heights in league competition.

Dogs with a jump height exemption jump at their exempt height but are scored with dogs in their measured height (Scoring Jump Height). Please note that a dog can jump at any height greater than his measured height if desired. This includes 24″ and 26″ jump heights.

Scoring Jump Height is the measured height; the height at which the dog would jump if no jump height exemption whatsoever is extended.

Jump Height is the exempt height; the height at which the dog actually competes.

New Events

Opening Jan 4, 2012 ~ Closing Jan 25, 2013

This is a numbered course, judged under TDAP rules.

Competition shall be conducted by a judge and stewards appointed for specific tasks in conduct of the event. No certification process exists for judges. TDAP will rely on good sense in the selection of experienced persons to perform this task. A judge is initially registered with TDAP upon submitted event results.

The judge or appointed stewards shall observe and signal course or game faults or points. The judge alone will sign off on competition results.

The Event Closing Date January 25, 2013.

010413A60x85 ~ A numbered course for an 60′ x 85′ space.

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Visit our web site: www.dogagility.org

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit the web store at: www.dogagility.org/newstore. Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we’ll play in Top Dog Agility Players.

New Events Posted: Dec 14, 2012

December 15, 2012

TDAP Marquee

Opening Dec 14, 2012 ~ Closing January 4, 2013

Each of these are numbered courses, judged under TDAP rules.

Competition shall be conducted by a judge and stewards appointed for specific tasks in conduct of the event. No certification process exists for judges. TDAP will rely on good sense in the selection of experienced persons to perform this task. A judge is initially registered with TDAP upon submitted event results.

The judge or appointed stewards shall observe and signal course or game faults or points. The judge alone will sign off on competition results.

The Event Closing Date, for each, is January 4, 2013.

121412A86x98 ~ A numbered course for an 86′ x 98′ space.

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I had a bit of fun with this design. The rule of thumb in the design of “standard” courses is to play down the use of tunnels so that the tunnels don’t dominate play. It’s very difficult to fault a tunnel; and under Top Dog rules the pipe tunnel isn’t even an obstacle on which the dog can earn a refusal.

What I’m really looking for here is the handler’s keenness for demonstrating the direction of turn both getting to the pipe tunnel, and on the dismount. It’s not really quite as simple a matter as it would seem.

121412B60x90 ~ A numbered course for a 60′ x 90′ space.

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This course is a similar concept as for the 86′ x 98′ course (above). Incongruously, we’re using a longer set of weave poles than we used in the larger space. This is the one we are likely to play in my own training center (because it’s Winter, and I have a building that is 60′ wide.)

 

121412C50x80 ~ A numbered course for a 50′ x 80′ space.

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The interesting thing about this course is that the equipment is placed exactly as it was in the 86′ x 98′ course (above). The issue raised when nesting sequences in fields of different size is that a club with the larger-sized field might play both of the games and submit results for each. One could argue that the first turn constitutes practice for the second (and players in the club with the bigger field will surely earn more Lifetime Performance Points for playing two league competitions in the same week.)

Well, these are gnarly issues. Rather than arguing or advocating one way or another I’ll have to refer you to Rule 8.

Opening Dec 7, 2012 ~ Closing December 28, 2012

I’m sorry to say that I did not post the following courses on the Top Dog Agility Players blog. I wrote the blog-post and entered it but left it in draft form through the week. So nobody actually got to see it. I’ve made a note to be more careful. Maybe I should nudge that up to the status of a New Year’s resolution?

Competition shall be conducted by a judge and stewards appointed for specific tasks in conduct of the event. No certification process exists for judges. TDAP will rely on good sense in the selection of experienced persons to perform this task. A judge is initially registered with TDAP upon submitted event results.

The judge or appointed stewards shall observe and signal course or game faults or points. The judge alone will sign off on competition results.

The Event Closing Date, for each, is December 28, 2012.

120712A40x60 ~ A numbered course for a 40′ x 60′ space.

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This is a numbered course, judged under TDAP rules.

Discussion

If you think about it, this is a Jumpers with Weaves course played in a 40′ x 60′ space. It was a lot of fun to design (and to play, by the way). The real challenge was to keep the spacing big and safe with intervals in the 20′ range. The secret to designing for a small space is in the repetition of obstacles.

A little experience with the course urges me to  point out that the course is easier to memorize than it appears at first glance.

120712B60x80 ~ A numbered course for a 60′ x 80′ space.

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This is a numbered course, judged under TDAP rules.

This is a fun little course. The really wicked moment is in the turn to the weave poles after jump #10. A dog is faulted for a missed entry to the weave poles under TDAP rules.

You’ll note that the set of equipment for the 40′ x 60′ course (above) is a feature of this course… everything exactly placed. Please note that if you are running both numbered courses it is allowable to bend the #2 pipe tunnel out of the way, and to move the #1/#15 jump so that the 40′ x 60′ course (above) can be run as intended.

120712C70x70 ~ A numbered course for a 70′ x 70′ space. Flavor: Played under the rules of the Teacup Dogs Agility Association (TDAA).

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Historical Footnote: This was the first standard course played at the TDAA Petit Prix Eastern Regional in Latrobe, PA on October 26, 2012. The dogs that played on that day will be included in the event results.

We intend to feature most of the courses played at the TDAA Petit Prix over the next couple of months. This will allow you to have a play in the Petit Prix and see how you would do against the dogs who were in attendance.

Other News and Musings

Watching the growth of the Top Dog Agility Players is like watching grass grow. Oh, and it’s winter now, so grass doesn’t grow at all. No worries. This is exactly as I expected it to go. Not very many people yet know the venue exists. And since we don’t have data systems in place yet, minimizing data entry is a blessing.

We are contemplating a change to the rules that waives the jump height requirement altogether. There are a number of reasons that a person might decide to jump his dog at a lower height than the traditional agility organization would insist the dog jump. Not a lot of people would jump a dog at a lower height purely to gain a competitive advantage in recreational league play. As I struggle through the wording of the rules I’ll probably post back to the blog for comment.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.