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#1 The Good Shepherd

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:16 AM

I do not run in Agility, so I am real clueless B)
Anyone who trials in AKC Agility please enlighten me :P

We had an outdoors agility trial last weekend at our local Rodeo arena (Sand for footing). The arena is covered but has no sides and is in the outskirts of town.

Sunday we had the worst day as far as the winds go. It blew steadly at at least 40 miles an hour with very very gusty winds often. The top windspeed was clocked at 70 mph. It was so bad that it actually blew a 60 pound dog of the Dogwalk.
One of the wellknow hotshot trainers put out an e-mail that evening to rinse out all the dogs eyes because of all the flying sand :angry:


However the trail was not called off and went on as scheduled.
I ask the Agility director of the club that held it and was told that the trials will go on as scheduled and it is the responsibilty of the handler to scratch the dog. Then he said and I quote: "No refunds will be given if the dog is scratched"

So my question is this now: Does the AKC or any other Agility org not have rules against weather like that? Or is it just greed on the part of the club? It seems awful to make the dogs run in this kind of wind.
Claudia (AKA wantabe handler)

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#2 mum24dog

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

So my question is this now: Does the AKC or any other Agility org not have rules against weather like that?


I can only answer for the UK KC but it does happen that shows are cancelled because of adverse weather conditions. We had to cancel one afternoon ourselves because of winds such as you describe which blew over an A frame. Moving campers from the threat of a falling tree and securing tents and awnings was more of a priority.

Usually shows are cancelled before people travel but if they need to be cancelled on the day what normally seems to happen is that the organisers call the judges together and they decide between them whether it is unsafe to contine.

Ultimately safety in the ring is the judge's responsibility and any one of them could pull the plug on their ring but it's usually a consensus to cancel.

All shows have to publish their refund policy which is usually that the organisers may deduct unrecoverable expenses and they will return the remaining percentage to those competitors who put in a claim within a specified time. Often competitors say to donate their refund to the organiser's charity.

Refunds are unlikely to be made if cancellation takes place part way through the day because there would be little left to share out after expenses and it would be very difficult to check who had already run in a completed class with the high numbers we get.

The KC would certainly look into any formal complaints made if a show continued under unsafe conditions.

#3 Rave

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:58 AM

In most agility org's (i.e. the popular ones I know about), it is the host club's discretion on whether to cancel a trial. Sometimes it is the state police coming in and forcing everyone to leave because there is a tornado watch (a watch mind you, not a warning and one never formed, I was pretty pissed). A cancelled trial is rare and no, there are no refunds. Why would there be? The place has already been rented, judges' airfare and hotel paid, food ordered, ribbons ordered, etc... I have run agility in shin-high water, mud, deep sand, snow, pre-hurricane conditions, 100-degree weather, etc... Trials may pause for a T-storm or hail or other really extreme weather, but everyone usually sticks around and we start up again after it passes.

I (and most others) will pull my dog(s) if I don't think it's safe. I'm not THAT crazy.

#4 PSmitty

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:22 AM

Yeah, I don't think we can make this an anti-AKC thing...I trial in a few different organizations, and the policies are all the same. The safety of dogs comes first for everyone that I personally know that runs agility. And if the host club didn't call a trial, then I'd pull my dog if I felt it was unsafe for him. In either case, I wouldn't expect a refund, for the reasons that Rave just stated.
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#5 MaryP

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:30 AM

I don't know the answer to your question, but I've been at trials when the weather was pretty awful. I've yet to see one cancelled. I was at a USDAA trial a couple months ago and my last Jumpers run was in pouring rain. Most people pulled their dogs. In hind sight, I probably should have pulled mine, but I was kind of curious to see if he would even run in the rain (he did and ran clean). I have seen a trial postponed because of heavy rain. The trial was under cover and the rain hitting the roof was so loud that no one could hear the judge.

I think it is kind of silly, really, if the different venues don't have safety rules for weather. Especially the AKC, who goes way overboard with all their "safety" rules, IMO. One would hope, though, that a handler would pull their dog(s) if the weather was unsafe. But, I can also understand why they would need to have a "no refunds" policy, too.
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#6 The Good Shepherd

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

I guess I don't really understand the hard-core agility people. It was blowing all day, it blew roofs of buildings, it blew down huge trees, it took out gigant bill boards, visability was 50 feet from the blowing dust and sand. Its one thing to have the dog run on the flat, do weaves and jumps, but to be up on the dogwalk, the aframe or the teeter seems really unsafe and downtight stupid. The gust were soo bad it blew a 60 pound dog of the dogwalk. The health and safty of my dog is more important then any ribbons or titles, regardless of the venue.
And the agility folks call the herders weird as far as working in weather?
Claudia (AKA wantabe handler)

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#7 SecretBC

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:39 PM

Most, if not all, trial premiums contain the following language:

No entry fee will be refunded if the trial cannot open or be completed by reasons of riots, civil disturbances, fire, acts of God, public emergency, an act of a public enemy, or any other cause beyond the control of the organizing committee.


Weather counts as, "act of God."

We have put trials on hold due to tornado warnings in the past. One local CPE trial got called midday due to blizzard conditions and I believe something like 13 people actually got stranded at the trial site. I know a few dogs who have been blown off contacts from the wind. I have ran in rain coming down so hard that they paused the trial until it passed because the judge couldn't see the dog. I lost one tent to the wind. We once had a late April snow storm and the fields were covered in snow. Up north there was a trial where everyone had to pitch in and shovel the entire ring before they could start.

It happens. But it's also a reason why I find myself becoming a huge weather weenie. We have so many choices for trials in the upper Midwest now that I can pretty much plan my entire trial schedule to trial indoors. I like running outdoors and my dogs do better outdoors than indoors because we train on grass --- But I just find it SO HARD to write out a check for $300 and then get stuck running in the rain or dealing with 100 degrees and high humidity. At least the indoor trials I know we'll be running in comfort.
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#8 MaryP

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:54 PM

And the agility folks call the herders weird as far as working in weather?


I don't get this statement, or any of the other generalizations that are made on this board or elsewhere. I'm one of those "agility people" and I don't ever recall making any such statement, or hearing any other "agility people" that I train or trial with making any such statement. In fact, I don't recall ever even thinking about it.
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#9 Laurae

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 01:45 PM

I guess I don't really understand the hard-core agility people. It was blowing all day, it blew roofs of buildings, it blew down huge trees, it took out gigant bill boards, visability was 50 feet from the blowing dust and sand. Its one thing to have the dog run on the flat, do weaves and jumps, but to be up on the dogwalk, the aframe or the teeter seems really unsafe and downtight stupid. The gust were soo bad it blew a 60 pound dog of the dogwalk. The health and safty of my dog is more important then any ribbons or titles, regardless of the venue.
And the agility folks call the herders weird as far as working in weather?


If you feel conditions are adverse enough to threaten the health and safety of your dog, then you should choose not to run under those conditions. The same scenario of running in poor weather applies to every USBCHA trial I have been to. The trials are not called off in inclement weather (though runs may be temporarily halted in the case of lightning), and it is up to the participant to decide if they would prefer to pull their dog if they feel conditions are too extreme. I don't understand the holier-than-thou outrage.

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#10 The Good Shepherd

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:58 PM

There is no "holier then though outrage"

It was just a simple question from a person who does not do agility
and was told by local agility people I was crazy for herding in the middle of winter.

reading some of the replies I am now glad I decided against doing serious agility. It would be nearly impossible to run a course in a "Flamesuit"
Claudia (AKA wantabe handler)

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Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

#11 PSmitty

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 03:51 PM

I don't get this statement, or any of the other generalizations that are made on this board or elsewhere. I'm one of those "agility people" and I don't ever recall making any such statement, or hearing any other "agility people" that I train or trial with making any such statement. In fact, I don't recall ever even thinking about it.


*nods* Yup.

Here's the worse I ever ran in...and this was a covered arena. Although they did move the course over quite a bit, and the worst of the puddles were avoided.

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#12 mum24dog

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:15 AM

A cancelled trial is rare and no, there are no refunds. Why would there be? The place has already been rented, judges' airfare and hotel paid, food ordered, ribbons ordered, etc...


Do your shows just aim to break even?

Here we aim to make a profit to subsidise the running of our clubs and it's the profit that would have been made that is refunded.

We don't have the expense of flying in judges and putting them up in a hotel, rosettes don't normally have the year on and could be reused and most trophies could be reused with a new engraved plate which adds to the potential sum available to refund. At a rough guess IME we usually get 35-50% back.

It's not as if we have many cancellations - some years none for us. Last year was very wet though and I think we had 2 cancelled completely and 2 where just 1 day was lost.

Rain itself isn't usually a reason to cancel - only if it makes the ground conditions unsafe for dogs and handlers. Wind is rarely strong enough to cancel but may result in the dog walk being taken out of courses. Snow is usually just a travel issue as winter shows are indoors but at one Scottish April show it was sunny on the Saturday and a blizzard on the Sunday, which was understandably cancelled.

#13 Rave

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

Some trials lose money, some break even, some make money. There really is a huge variance dependent on many factors - the organization, site, judge, area of the country, etc... I've trialled all over the US and it varies considerably. Most don't lose money though; if they can't find a way to break even they stop holding trials. The biggest expenses are the site rental and the judge's airfare, and those can't be recouped in the event of a cancellation. If clubs had to eat those costs by refunding the entries, most would quickly go broke.

There's been a trend in the last 5 years or so to stop giving refunds for injured dogs or handlers as well (which I don't agree with). Some don't even refund a dog in heat, which are not allowed to run here (not sure if they are allowed overseas or not?). It's all up to the host club and is clearly written on the trial premium so that everyone knows before they even enter what the policies are. Entering the trial requires acknowledgment and acceptance of those policies by signing the entry form.

#14 mum24dog

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:12 AM

There's been a trend in the last 5 years or so to stop giving refunds for injured dogs or handlers as well (which I don't agree with).


Noone here is entitled to a refund in the event of personal circumstances changing, although some shows will give one. My rule as show secretary is that I will refund everything without asking questions before the date of close of entries. After that I may refund on compassionate grounds. After close of entries expenses are incurred and few peoplw would expect a refund.

Some don't even refund a dog in heat, which are not allowed to run here (not sure if they are allowed overseas or not?).


I doubt that anyone here would expect a refund in those circumstances. It's a risk you take if you have an entire bitch. They aren't allowed to run in the UK but in Europe (not sure if it's all countries) they can run at the end of a class. I'm not sure how that helps because we have multiple classes per ring. Maybe they only have one.

#15 Root Beer

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:40 AM

It was just a simple question from a person who does not do agility


If you really just want to know, the best way to find out would be to ask someone who actually chose to run in those conditions. None of us here know why they did it, even if some of us have chosen to run Agility on occasion in less than perfect weather.

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#16 Frogs & Dogs

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:36 AM

Most trials in my area are indoors, because we can't count on decent weather at almost any time of year. There was a question this winter of whether one trial would happen, because road conditions were predicted to be such that travel would be unsafe for some competitors. We were promised a full refund if the trial was cancelled, though it ended up taking place as planned.

#17 Doodledog

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

I compete in the AAC and thats how they tend to work. I know one year before I was there our club had held an outdoor trial and it poored rain so the ring was under water and they still continued. They did put it on hold when the worst of it was happening. I think though the rules are as long as its not putting handler and dog at risk of an injury or its still safe for them to run than they don't cancel it.


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