AKC is asking for input in regards to the new Obedience Advisory Recommendations. I read through them and here is the letter I composed. I hope each of you will take the time to read them as well, and voice your opinion (whether or not you agree with me isn't the issue, just voice your opinion on what you'd like to see or not see be done).
To whom it may concern:
I have read over the recommendations. For the most part I like the changes and can see where it will benefit the sport.
The one area I take exception to is in the regular classes, Novice, Open, Utility, where you propose to add heeling commands to mimic the new Rally signs ( Right 270, Left 270, Halt about turn forward, Halt pivot left 90 Halt, etc). I feel this is redundant and unnecessary, and confusing for exhibitors to follow.
Personally, if a judge were calling out such complex heeling commands to me I'd either lose it completely, freak out, or more likely run right into the ring gating as the judge got out a mouthful of "Halt Pivot Left 90 Pivot" command.
I hope the committee will reconsider these types of commands in the regular classes. They are not necessary and without having a sign to accompany them, they can be very confusing "on the fly" while heeling.
Also, I have to wonder why so many additional classes have been presented. Our club has been holding Obedience Trials for many, many years, and there is no way we would have enough time in the day (or the weekend) to present all of these classes.
Thanks for your time, and continued work on this sport.
Linda, I thought the same thing about all those fancy heeling patterns. I should also write a letter.
Yes, please write and let them know how you feel. It does help them make decisions. I actually proposed some of these new signs for RALLY when they asked a year or so ago (and obviously others proposed them as well). I thought it would be nice to make the higher levels of Rally have some stuff in it that you needed for the regular classes, like pivots for utility, etc. But I never wanted signs to be called out in the regular classes. That's just asking a bit too much of someone who is already nervous competing!!!
I still need to write a letter. I'm still mulling over some of the proposals.
For example the ordering by height. I think it makes sense for the individual exercises but only if different heights get to go first each time...one time it's 8", 12", 16, the next time it's 16", 20", 24", the next time it's 24", 8", 12". As currently written it will always be small dogs first. When our day time temps reach 100 degrees, there is a distinct advantage to showing at 8:00 vs 11:00 and I don't see why big dogs should be the ones penalized at every trial. If they decided to start with different jumps heights, who would be the keeper of that info? I can see it now that club ABC has their 2 day trial and they choose 8" first day, 26" next day. Next weekend, club XYZ has 8" first day, 26" next day. This is still not fair because the middle height dogs will always be in the middle, never first or last.
I'm also unsure about doing the sits/down by height. I understand that some small dog owners are concerned (rightly so) about their dog's safety but I've also talked to a number of small dog owners who feel safer leaving their small dogs between 2 big Rottweilers rather than next to a dog aggressive small dog. My concern is that someone who has a dog that is not reliable may always be put next to the same dog trial, after trial, after trial. How fair is that for the other dog to always have to sit next to a dog that breaks? Besides, that means the small dogs will always be on one end of the ring and large dogs on the other end. How fair is that to the med sized dogs?
I'm off to ponder this some more.
Our all breed club delegate is also a training friend and obed judge. He just brought this up yesterday and I about died. I like traditional obed the way it is!!! If they'd like to change things to the positive, they can lower the jump heights in Open and Utility a bit more so it's not a hugely athletic endeavor for a dog that may have a pre-existing condition (or just more bone). Does anyone else feel this way? Rally is fine for intro'ing puppies to the ring, but leave the 270's etc out of the traditional ring!
Anne & 4 generations CDX labs w/ Gen V stepping into the ring this year...
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
I agree wholeheartedly that they need to leave the regular obedience classes ALONE. If they want to add new classes, that's okay, but the regular ones have worked and worked well for years.
A rep in our area believes the heeling parts will not pass due to the fact that all the rules would have to be re-written. I, too, don't care for it.
Advantages and disadvantages of showing by jump height. They have the option of doing that in Canada and it does make the day go much faster because of not changing the jumps each time.
I started before the initial lowering of jump heights. I doubt very seriously that this will happen again. Some of the individual breed clubs have gotten the jump heights changed for their breed but an over all change--doubt it will happen. Soundness should be a priority in all breeds. The heights they are at now should be fine for a sound dog. Some breeds are getting over done in bone--that is a specific breed problem not an obedience problem.
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I felt that way before trialing a dog who has suffered a serious neck (whiplash) injury requiring months of chiro and finally, prolotherapy ($1500 plus expense w/o counting all the travel and days of work lost for me). She just turned 4. Jumping on matted concrete is OUT for her at the current heights. She is very moderate boned, never kept over 60 lbs for competition, and quite frankly, looked like a waif in the Intl ring last year compared to the other Labs (though she did take the breed and group 3 one day -- her movement is gorgeous). Structurally very nice.... but the impact on that neck when landing over obed jumps w/ much less take off/landing space or momentum makes a huge difference! She's got 1 more Q to go for CDX, and we're stopping, despite her very nice obedience proficiency. I've also seen the dogs that measure just a hair over by the judge's crude measurement, and jumping on esp unmowed grass which puts the jump up much higher than normal caused crashes. One Rottie owner last year was so upset after her dog crashed the big heavy jump. She'd never have jumped him at 24" as he had a bad elbow. He was the most awesome working dog out there prior to the accident too. To me, just sad to see the old dogs competing at UD or UDX/OtCH at those heights. Tell me that jumping their height is part of "obedience". BS. Rally heights are no more than 16". Why the diff? My dogs jump 20" in agility and that's on the FLY, so easier on the body w/ better take off/landings. Oh, and have you had a dog measured for agility lately???? The judges INSIST the dog stands naturally-- my 2.5 yo just got measured in at 20.5" (at first they wrote her down for 20" and I had a cow and made them remeasure)! She is just a hair over 21" now if meaured conformation style. Our obed judges out here who consistently measure, measure up (hence the Rottie who had to jump 24" at that trial). Maybe they need to look at how they measure as my dogs wouldn't have to jump over their heights so often if so.
Oh, btw, Mata first competed in Open at 16 mos and Q'd that day. We ended up taking our time as I had a litter or 2 in the meantime, and finished at 2.5 yo. Only because she's lighter boned did I jump her that young w/ more confidence but even so, it was a judgement call I'd not normally make w/ my labs.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
In all the years I've been showing obedience I have never had a judge question or measure my dog. It's amazing how different areas seem to have different ways of doing things. 24" is not that high, IMHO. My dog's hips aren't the greatest, but we've yet to have a problem. In Utility he flies over the jumps just like it's agility.
Voice your opinion! Send them a letter. All you gotta do is email it it [email protected].
Thanks for the reminder - I meant to do that - I read all the changes, just never read a letter.
See ya soon!