|The Organizations Behind the Scene
Who makes the rules, and how to contact them.
Who makes the rules.
There are 3 major agility organizations in the United States. Understanding some basic differences will help you to know which trials you should enter. Each of these organizations offer their own titles that cannot be mixed and matched. For example, if you earn an advanced title in AKC, you must still start in the first level of USDAA. For the most part, each of the organizations uses the same obstacles, but there are a few that are unique to one or the other.
USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association, Inc.), is known for allowing mixed-breeds to earn titles, as well as pure-breds. Originating in Great Britain, the USDAA is responsible for the standards of agility used around the world. The obstacles are slightly more difficult (more narrow planks, higher jump heights, and smaller tire size), but once your dog maneuvers these, AKC obstacles will be no problem. Because of the emphasis on speed and more spacious courses, dogs and handlers should be in good shape to move up the ranks in USDAA competitions. Some dogs may also have a hard time clearing the higher jumps.
AKC (American Kennel Club) offers agility to AKC recognized pure breds only. Like the other organizations, you have to register your dog with them. If you lack papers on your dog, you need to send them a picture and description of your dog (to prove it is a pure bred), as well as some other information in order to get an "ILP number" that you will use when entering competitions. Dogs in the Miscellaneous breed class can also enter AKC trials. AKC has less stringent obstacles, but smaller courses than USDAA. It is a good "in-between" organization for many handlers.
UKC (United Kennel Club) is known for smaller and tighter courses, demanding more precision and control. But they offer lower height and speed standards. Their philosophy is more to make agility available to anyone regardless of physical abilities, and all dogs, no matter what their breed disadvantages are. UKC is a great organization to master first, as it will make competing in the other organizations easier. But UKC events are harder to find in some areas.
NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) is the 4th runner up with approximately 50 clubs in the U.S. NADAC offers more moderate jump heights and safe courses, and uses the least amount of obstacles. Dogs must be at least 18 months old to start, and can be mixed breeds.
How to contact them.
When you join the USDAA you will receive a manual of their rules, a training booklet, and a bimonthly publication of upcoming events.
|United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. / Website: www.USDAA.com
P.O. Box 850955 / Richardson, TX 75085-0955
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone: (972)231-9700 / Fax: (214)503-0161
When you register your dog with AKC, request the booklet Regulations for Agility Trials. You can also subscribe to their monthly magazine (the AKC Gazette), which has updated listings of events, or get this information from their website.
|The American Kennel Club / Website: www.akc.org
5580 Centerview Dr., Suite 200 / Raleigh, NC 27606-3390
Email: INFO@akc.org / Phone: (919)233-9767 / Fax: (919)233-3627
The UKC offers a bimonthly magazine called "Bloodlines" that has agility articles and events listings. Send $4.50 for a sample copy, as well as another $4.50 for the rule book. You can also get information from their website.
|United Kennel Club / Website: www.ukcdogs.com
100 East Kilgore Rd. / Kalamazoo, MI 49001-5598
Phone: (616)343-9020 / Fax: (616)343-7037
You can register your dog with NADAC online.
|North American Dog Agility Council / Website: www.nadac.com
HCR 2, Box 277 / St. Maries, Idaho 83861
|Other Ways of Getting Involved
Email lists, discussion boards, and chat rooms.
A great way to learn more about dog agility is to connect with others. "Email Groups" are fun and easy to join. Basically when someone sends an email, it gets sent to the whole group (including you). You can read it, ignore it, or respond. If you respond, it will be sent to the whole group to read. Simply go the appropriate yahoo website link and register. You can register in as many as you'd like, but warning: the more you join, the more mail you get. Check with each group to see how "active" they are. Last time we checked, one of the larger groups was circulating only about a few emails a day. You can cancel at any time if you get too much mail. You can also make a setting in your email server (i.e. Outlook Express) to sort those emails into a special folder so they don't crowd out your regular mail. Then you can read them later.
A general list about dog agility training.
For handlers and trainers who want to discuss (analytically) dog agility training techniques and obstacle performance.
specifically on AKC agility.
A list for anyone (including agility instructors) with an interest in agility for handlers with physical challenges.
A list for handlers training puppies for future participation in performance sports.
For people who are training rescue dogs in agility.
For small dog agility handlers.
Also for people with small dogs.
For people with giant agility dogs (the majority of participants own Great Danes).
Focuses on Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, and Michigan areas.
Specific to the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region of the country; does not allow postings for events that exclude mix breeds.
ADVANCED/ MORE SPECIFIC GROUPS:
A list for sharing agility courses and sequences.
For people starting new agility clubs.
A list for people teaching or planning to teach agility classes.
A place for AKC agility judges to communicate with each other.