After going to an AKC trial this past weekend, I've got some suggestions for Novice A people to consider before entering their dog in a trial. This is specific to AKC where Training in the Ring (TIR) is not allowed. I also have a couple of suggestions for some NON Novices!!
1. Before even thinking about coming to a real trial, make sure your dogwill COME WHEN CALLED. Having your dog take off from you at the start line or during your run to zip out of the ring, posture aggressively to other dogs, try to pick a fight, then hold up the whole trial for 15 minutes while refusing to be caught by you or anyone else is NOT fun not for the dog, not for you, not for the judge, not for the rest of the competitors.
2. You really can't deliberately touch your dog during the run and getaway with it. Chuffing it upside the head for refusing to go on the teeter, then picking up and plonking it down onto the teeter even after being whistled by the judge is a really, really bad idea.
3. Kicking dirt at your dog because you are mad isn't terribly goodsportsmanship.
4. When the judge advises in the briefing that trying the weaves morethan 4 times is probably not a good thing, she generally knows what she's talking about. Think about what you are doing to your dog by trying them 5, 6, or more times. Ditto trying to force the dog to do obstacles.
These are for everybody
5. If you are about to finish your MACH, don't stop at the end of yourrun and turn your back on your dog to yell "did I Q!" to the judge while your dog runs amok outside the ring getting in other dogs' faces. Further, when told by the judge that yes, you WERE clean until you performed above stunt, but have now been NQd for not controlling your dog, don't have a screaming tantrum because you were stoopid.
6. Give your dog enough room to take the first jump! With the advent ofelectronic timers and starts that actually start with jump 1, I'm seeing more and more people sticking their dogs right in front of the jump sometimes less than 5 feet away then expecting them to take it. I'm seeing lots of dropped bars, and even when the bar isn't dropped you're asking your dog to do a vertical lift from a standstill. It's not good for your dog and it means your dog will not be crossing that jump at full speed.
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This is specific to AKC where Training in the Ring (TIR) is not >allowed.

Heh. FWIW, none of the things you describe - with the possible exception of #4- would be allowed or are appropriate in NADAC, TIR or no.
1. (dog runs away, postures aggressively, takes 15 min to be caught)

This one would probably have gotten the competitor excused from a NADAC trial.
2. Chuffing it upside the head for refusing to go on the teeter,

Every NADAC judge I know would have excused someone who did this immediately, most would have strongly cautioned the exhibitor, some would have kicked her out of the trial.
3. Kicking dirt at your dog because you are mad isn't terribly good sportsmanship.

In any venue, and has no relation whatsoever to TIR. (Out of curiousity, did this happen in or out of the ring??)
5. If you are about to finish your MACH, don't stop at the end of your run and turn your ... stunt, but have now been NQd for not controlling your dog, don't have a screaming tantrum because you were stoopid.

EEsh! I'd have been embarrassed even to be near that person. What an eejit.
Most NADAC judges would have also NQ'd her.
6. Give your dog enough room to take the first jump! With the advent of electronic timers and starts that ... people sticking their dogs right in front of the jump sometimes less than 5 feet away then expecting them to take it.

I saw your conversation about that on Agiledogs, and I agree. It's not just limited to runs with electronic timers, either- a lot of NADAC courses have the startline even with the first jump, and every time it is, I see people set their dogs WAY too close.
After going to an AKC trial this past weekend, I've got some suggestions for Novice A people to consider before entering their dog in a trial.

Can I add on to this? At both AKC and NADAC. I'm hoping that what I'm seeing is mostly Novice and that when we make it to Open it will get better..
When you are on deck with your dog, or three or four back - or any time you are standing there with your dog waiting your turn - do not crowd the other dogs and handlers standing there. If you are four dogs back, leave room for the other three dogs and handlers to be closer to the gate than you - or at least have a clear path to get there! Check in with the gate steward and then move away!
And keep your dog away from mine. This is not the time for them to become friends. Nor is it the time for US to become friends. Nor is it the time for you to tell me all about the miniature schnauzer that your in-laws have. I'm not being unfriendly but I am trying to focus on my dog and to keep him focused on me. And - this one drove me crazy at one trial - just because you follow us into the ring does not mean that you have to follow us as we move around the gate area. I was doing it to try to get some separation from you and your dog!
And when they do call your dog, be ready. Don't be way back in the crowd talking with people. If you are there to keep your dog away from the crowd at the gate, I do understand. But be aware of the order and be listening for them to call you.
PLEASE tell me this gets better with more experienced dogs and handlers?

~~Judy
You know Sionnach, everything I write isn't directed toward NADAC versus AKC. Below you'll see why I put "AKC only" in it. So please don't take all of my posts as some kind of slam on NADAC. This one wasn't meant to be at all.
1. (dog runs away, postures aggressively, takes 15 min to be caught)

This one would probably have gotten the competitor excused from a NADAC trial.

He was marginal Friday and Saturday. Sunday morning he lost it at the end of the course and couldn't be caught, Sunday afternoon he didn't even try to start and it took 5 people to corral the dog. It was an Airedale and he was clearly far more interested in targeting other dogs than anything else. I think the judge did talk to the guy.
Chuffing it upside the head for refusing to go on the teeter,

Every NADAC judge I know would have excused someone who did this immediately, most would have strongly cautioned the exhibitor, some would have kicked her out of the trial.

Now by chuffing I don't mean hitting it was kind of a brush up against the side of her head, but definitely very deliberate. And then to plonk the dog on the piece of equipment after the judge whistled her. This one was why I put "AKC" at the top. In NADAC she could have placed the dog on the teeter and even touched it deliberately (though not hitting it!) Big no-no in AKC.
3. Kicking dirt at your dog because you are mad isn't terribly good sportsmanship.

In any venue, and has no relation whatsoever to TIR. (Out of curiousity, did this happen in or out of the ring??)

Right. This isn't an AKC versus NADAC discussion, it's a Novice A discussion. Happened in the ring. The dog started toward a member of the ring crew, she yelled at it and kicked dirt at it, and was very promply whistled off the course with some words from the judge.

By the way, this judge was actually pretty nice some of this stuff. When I pulled Cala on Friday for being totally over the top I was trying to leave the ring. Cala was hopping and lunging like a kangaroo and the judge told me to "be careful" (dogs are supposed to leave on all 4 feet or no feet) but also that she realized that it was the dog doing it, not me.
5. If you are about to finish your MACH, don't ... dog, don't have a screaming tantrum because you were stoopid.

EEsh! I'd have been embarrassed even to be near that person. What an eejit. Most NADAC judges would have also NQ'd her.

It was very embarrassing for everyone!! She did finish her MACH the next day and we all did applaud, but she sure didn't make any friends with that little stunt. It wasn't anyone from our area.
I saw your conversation about that on Agiledogs, and I agree. It's not just limited to runs with electronic timers, ... startline even with the first jump, and every time it is, I see people set their dogs WAY too close.

Yep. And while I generally agree with the person on agiledogs who said that the dog should know to leave bars up, what purpose does it serve to jam them that close to the first jump? It's an easy Novice mistake to make I did it once with Viva and she launched from a standstill and wiped out the jump. I never did it again. Cala I set even farther back because I send her from a down.
3. Kicking dirt at your dog because you are mad isn't terribly good sportsmanship.

In any venue, and has no relation whatsoever to TIR. (Out of curiousity, did this happen in or out of the ring??)

This happened at two different NADAC trials I have been to, involving three or four different competitors. One of those is a NADAC judge. And it happened in the ring. In the runs I observed the dirt kicking occurred twice in a single run. Since the competitors were not excused nor were any comments made at the following day's briefing, and since the behavior continued I suspect nothing was said immediately. Since the same competitors continue to trial but no longer do that behavior I suspect that eventually the behavior was followed up on.

Diane Blackman
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Hey, the judge this weekend turned around in Open, and there was no dog on the line. No dog at the gate. No within 5 feet of the gate. Partly the gatekeeper's fault, but she did NOT allow the competitor to run when she eventually showed up (she'd been about 15 feet away talking to friends).
After going to an AKC trial this past weekend, I've got some suggestions for Novice A people to consider before ... your dog take off from you at the start line or during your run to zip out of the ring,

I'll agree with this to a point. However, as the owner of a spooky dog, sometimes this just happens no matter what you do. The line is drawn when it adversely affects others. And when you repeat it.
For instance, Sassy has a pretty good recall. Normally, in the ring, she's a Velcro dog so recall isn't even much of an issue there. At one trial however, she bolted twice on DH. It was in an ice rink and she just didn't like it in there. (I suspect sounds are amplified once you get down below that half wall.) The start line was right at the exit door. DH put her down and she sat and stayed.

Until he moved away and said "jump". She did. Right out of the ring. He called her back (yes, she came) and got her over the first series of jumps - which, unfortunately, doubled back to face the exit door. She bolted again. He called her back, picked her up, thanked the judge and they left. (They didn't hold anyone else up so I don't believe this is what you're talking about.)
She had never left a ring before and hasn't since. Just did not like that place. Without an ice rink in our back yard, I don't think we could have trained her for it. Yes, she's a really green dog - and with an equally green handler - but everyone has to start somewhere. She did* do better on her afternoon run. At least stayed in the ring and they made a good attempt at the course. It was a combination of the totally different environment, a green dog and a *very handy exit door.
There is just something different about trials. And there are things that you can only practice at trials and only learn there. Spenser can run totally flawless runs time after time in practice. He is completely focused on me - ignores the other dogs and people standing around. Put him in a trial atmosphere and he can be a completely different dog. I have not figured out yet how to practice and/or train any differently to avoid this. It's experience and maturity.
I watched a boxer who I knew to be reasonably ready to compete do his first outdoor match. (They were wise enough to start with a match and not a true trial.) The well-behaved (yes, I said "boxer") dog just went totally bonkers - total joy - when faced with an outdoor course. He ran over everything at least twice - all in random order - while his owner really did try to get him back. Then he jumped the fence and ran to his family.

Now a dog that holds up the rest of the trial for fifteen minutes would really *** me off. Especially if I'm the next in line. I'm ready, when the dog ahead of us enters the ring, I feed Spenser the last of the treats in my pocket, so I have nothing to keep him focused and ready for our turn. If they are going to let that dog continue to compete that day (or even that trial) perhaps they should at least move him to the end of the running order.
Spenser can get unfocused in the ring - he hates to make a mistake and when he does, he tunes out and turns off - which means his recall isn't world-class at that time. But I can always catch him and leave. If I couldn't, I don't think we'd be back in the ring for the next run. Mama don't play that game.
~~Judy
So please don't take all of my posts as some kind of slam on NADAC.

I don't, and I didn't take this one that way. I was simply commenting that I didn't find most of the issues you mentioned to be AKC-specific. Although you did seem to be saying that most of the described behaviours would have been allowed under NADAC's TIR rules, which isn't the case.
It was an Airedale and he was clearly far more interested in targeting other dogs than anything else.

Yikes.
I think the judge did talk to the guy.

I should hope so!
And then to plonk the dog on the piece of equipment after the judge whistled her. This
one was why I put "AKC" at the top. In NADAC she could have placed the dog on the teeter and even touched it deliberately

Only if she did it before the judge whistled! And as a point of note, "plonking" (depending on your definition of the word) may get you excused in NADAC, too- many judges are quite specific in their Novice briefings that if you're going to physically place a dog back on the contact, you'd better do it NICELY, or you'll be asked to leave the ring.
Likewise "chuffing the dog in the head"- whether or not that got someone excused would depend on how it was done. Likewise whether or not it was an NQ or E.
Right. This isn't an AKC versus NADAC discussion, it's a Novice A discussion.

Yes, but you DID start out saying that you felt these issues were AKC-specific. My point was that most of them would apply in NADAC, as well- not "NADAC vs. AKC" but "Novice is novice", so to speak, with a bit of commentary on where the rules differ slightly.
Happened in the ring. The dog started toward a member of the ring crew, she yelled at it and kicked dirt at it,

Eeesh.
It was very embarrassing for everyone!!

I can imagine, since I cringed reading it.
Yep. And while I generally agree with the person on agiledogs who said that the dog should know to leave bars up, what purpose does it serve to jam them that close to the first jump?

None that I can see. And as I think you pointed out on Agiledogs, yeah, maybe the dog should "know to leave bars up", but why not let the dog do it in optimal fashion?
It's an easy Novice mistake to
make I did it once with Viva and she launched from a standstill and wiped out the jump. I never did it again. Cala I set even farther back because I send her from a down.

BTDT, on both counts. In early days, Bren took down jumps twice because I set him too close and he flattened his arc- and Rocsi has done it once or twice. And I also set her further back in a down- it's easier for her to hold the down than a sit, and it leaves room for settling her if she starts to break.
IOW, if she gets up and starts to move- not bolting over the line, just moving a bit- before the release, she doesn't cross the line, and I can ask her to sit, then release her in a controlled fashion without having her go overtime or blowing the run.
Hey, the judge this weekend turned around in Open, and there was no dog on the line. No dog at ... NOT allow the competitor to run when she eventually showed up (she'd been about 15 feet away talking to friends).

Hear, hear!
Especially at an AKC trial - where you only have two runs a day - isn't there enough other time to socialize?
I like that judge. Every time I have seen that happen, they've always let the person run. Even out of order later. Maybe because it's Novice but most of the handlers in Novice - even those in Novice A - aren't all that new at agility.
~~Judy
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