Friday, July 26, 2013

Down is Out

The AAC board just passed a new rule for tables - that any position works. No more downs required.
The table is only in starters and advanced standard but it is certainly a difficult obstacle for many. It is a control spot - the dogs have to steady slow down and think. I have had my share of table issues with both Brody and Sally - Thea has never been asked to do one in a trial setting as her body is not designed to allow her elbows and chest to be on the table at once - and I suspected a judge would crowd her to see if she was down or not. (The fact she is no longer asked to do strange teeters due to flyoffs and she doesn't weave very well has quite a bit to do with her not running in standard classes too.)


Does it bother me to not run Thea in standard classes at AAC? Nope. Not at all. Working very slowly on our CPE level one point title has been a blast. I keep thinking I should teach her to weave a little bit better - she'd probably love steeplechase! Playing in other classes - jumpers, gamblers, snookers- is tons of fun - she rarely trials but when we both enjoy it/ Do I think AAC should change for tiny dogs? Honestly? No. I knew the rules when I got Thea her number, I knew it wasn't the ideal association  for her (mainly due to very long chutes back then and teeters) but I knew we'd have fun playing in it occasionally. And we have.

When Brody first started in AAC the rules had recently changed - more standards at Starters and Advanced were needed and I can clearly recall the complaining about having to do more tables. Brody  missed the odd standard Q, a couple thanks to sliding off the table when we hit it full speed, once because he wouldn't do a down on a table that turned out to be quite hot and a few other glitches. I certainly didn't mind saying goodbye to the table as we headed into Master land but I appreciated the challenge of the table in the same breath.

Sally brought a whole new level of challenge to table work. Her desire to PLAY agility made the table frustrating for her. She will down and slowly lift up and then go down again. She will bark her frustration at having to stop sometimes. But working on table has been a great game for us. She can slam into a down on a wobbly picnic table with little issue at home. Table is fun! When Sally worries there hasn't been enough agility she jumps up on a table and stares at me from a down. She has a deep build that makes a full down tough sometimes - I have, truth be told, wished she had hairy elbows more than once. But, it never occurred to me that she might not have to "earn" the same advanced standard qs as Brody did to advance to masters level. I'm not sure I like it. She didn't have to earn a team q to progress either.

Rules for safety make sense to me. Changing rules because you are listening to members is a good way to grow an organization but I am sorry Sally hasn't had the chance to run more advanced standard classes in the past year (umm none since her Q in the fall) and earn her way into masters with the lovely down I know she knows. Yes of course I could and may still ask for the down but somehow the table changes with this.
I so  hope this isn't the start of dumbing down AAC agility. On one hand I hear people say the courses aren't challenging enough and see many more strange things on course maps -an on the other it's too much to ask a dog to lie on a table for 5 seconds when aroused ... [Photos aren't loading tonight - hopefully tomorrow!]


2 comments:

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Wow, that's awesome! I hate the table and USDAA still requires a down. Personally I think the table should be gotten rid of all together. I don't think it's missed in NADAC and CPE :) In today's agility age of speed, speed, speed, the table count seems out of place. I find it extra odd that it's at the EO still, where human error on the count could easily make a difference in placements.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Neither of the dogs I've trialed with had any issues with the table, but I am thrilled to see the down shot down! For me it's from seeing so many sad/stressed dogs standing on the table displaying all kinds of calming signals while their handlers implored them to lie down... Not to say there aren't dogs out there with beautiful, happy, tail-wagging tables, but I wouldn't say they're the majority... So for all those sad, stressed table dogs out there I am very happy! :-)