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Don't get worked up about what some people think is "the real deal". Agility is as you define it. If you and your dog are enjoying it, and you feel good about competing in that venue, that is "the real deal". IMO

 

FWIW, some people consider the European style of agility to be the real deal. I think that the USDAA is closest to that. AKC has been lagging behind, but is now supporting some changes to make their courses more 'international', thus more similar to USDAA courses. (Anyway, I think that is what is happening. I don't worry about that stuff since my dog and I are still working our way up the ranks, and I am happy to try and train whatever is thrown at me.)

 

Jovi

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it seems that so many people who I train with are always saying that the real agility is AKC and anything else is "just practice" for them. I have gone to one AKC trial so far, and while I like the courses, I didn't have nearly as much fun as I do at NADAC trials, which in my area are smaller and you can run up to 6 runs per day without HOURS in between runs.

 

I find this to be the case too. I don't really like the attitude that NADAC is just practice and AKC is 'real' agility, but I suppose it depends on where your focus is. If your goal is to earn titles in AKC, then NADAC is good practice because entry fees are cheaper and training in the ring is allowed. If NADAC is your focus, then AKC or other trials (if you enter them) could be considered practice (albeit more expensive and with more equipment). Running in multiple venues can be nice if there is a gap between shows in one venue and there is a show in another venue during that time, you might enter just to 'keep up on your game.'

 

Here we have NADAC, ASCA, and AKC. Meg and I have only done NADAC so far, but we are entered in our first AKC trial this Saturday. I like NADAC. Trials are friendly, usually have less entries (than AKC) and I can just show up and enter the day of show. Unfortunately there aren't as many NADAC trials locally this year, with over 2 months between trials.

 

Meg and I do agility for fun. We compete because its fun and we get to meet new people with a similar interest. I decided to register Meg under the AKC Companion Animal program because I'd like to compete more without traveling far, we're getting into Rally, and our trainer and many classmates do AKC. I had mixed feelings about it (and still do).

 

I've been to several AKC trials with Meg as an observer to get her used to the environment. Overall, the attitude at AKC trials it a bit less relaxed than at NADAC trials. Most AKC trials around here fill up fast and there is a lot of wait time between runs. I also decided to give AKC a try because there is more equipment. At first, I liked NADAC best because there was no teeter (Meg didn't like the teeter). Now Meg does great with all the equipment and prefers it when there is more variety (she thinks jumps and hoops are boring). I still prefer NADAC overall, but AKC will give us some more variety and a chance to compete during the local 'NADAC off season'.

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I think the attitude comes from the fact that NADAC has less equipment and those silly hoops and has a huge focus on distance handling, I got my start there, the trials are fun, the people nice and friendly and I am very glad that my first trials where NADAC ones USDAA would have terrified me. NADAC is a different flavor, USDAA is highly competive and full of driven and often insane border collies, that said I have always found people very nice and friendly, but I will happily chat to anyone. But I am guilty of thinking NADAC is not real agility, the handling is focused on distance not on technical stuff, and even elite courses are pretty straight forward..but it is my bias I love USDAA it is what I thought agility would be... I have NADAC friends who would never go ... Not their taste. I still do more NADAC than anything because the trials are more convenient but I always wish I could persuade the team that puts them on to change their loyalties :)

Don't feel pressure, I have loads of agility friends who think I should neuter my dog so I can play AKC and when I talk to others they agree with me don't risk changing an awesome dog.. Try some different flavors of agility, CPE, USDAA, ASCA see what you like... My old trainer did ASCA and little AKC, all my class mates only did NADAC, but I knew USDAA was for me.. And it was everything I wanted and more.

AKC agility is pretty pricy per run, and there are very limited runs, most of the other venues have more runs for a lower price.. Not been part of the AKC world I see no reason to pay a premium to play in their sandpit..

 

Ok I am climbing of my soap box now :)

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I think the attitude comes from the fact that NADAC has less equipment and those silly hoops and has a huge focus on distance handling, I got my start there, the trials are fun, the people nice and friendly and I am very glad that my first trials where NADAC ones USDAA would have terrified me. NADAC is a different flavor, USDAA is highly competive and full of driven and often insane border collies, that said I have always found people very nice and friendly, but I will happily chat to anyone. But I am guilty of thinking NADAC is not real agility, the handling is focused on distance not on technical stuff, and even elite courses are pretty straight forward..but it is my bias I love USDAA it is what I thought agility would be... I have NADAC friends who would never go ... Not their taste. I still do more NADAC than anything because the trials are more convenient but I always wish I could persuade the team that puts them on to change their loyalties :)

Don't feel pressure, I have loads of agility friends who think I should neuter my dog so I can play AKC and when I talk to others they agree with me don't risk changing an awesome dog.. Try some different flavors of agility, CPE, USDAA, ASCA see what you like... My old trainer did ASCA and little AKC, all my class mates only did NADAC, but I knew USDAA was for me.. And it was everything I wanted and more.

AKC agility is pretty pricy per run, and there are very limited runs, most of the other venues have more runs for a lower price.. Not been part of the AKC world I see no reason to pay a premium to play in their sandpit..

 

Ok I am climbing of my soap box now :)

I'll climb on now :). I started in NADAC. We have more NADAC trials in our area then any other organization. As far as I'm concerned, NADAC is now for practice, My dogs like it that they get to run fast, so I enjoy it for this reason, There are no real handling challenges for me, except maybe Chances now and again. I accepted hoops after a bit, but now that the barrels will become mandatory in mid 2014, I am really having a hard time considering NADAC "agility" and will be cutting my yearly trial days. I have done CPE in the past... get a good judge with good courses and there can be some challenges.

 

My very favorite is UKI, though right now we have few. We do not have USDAA here or I would be signing up. If we had ASCA I would trial, as ASCA is like NADAC used to be before they took away all of the obstacles and started introducing benign, go fast, push the path, go round things stuff.

 

There is AKC here, and sometimes I really wish I could support 'em and go since all of my training buddies go, but I just can't. It's kind of funny... my training partner thinks AKC is the organization to aspire to and will spend close to $1000 to travel elsewhere to trial in the pursuit of that double Q. We agree to disagree.

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If you had aspirations to compete internationally, would you *have* to trial in AKC to earn a place on an international team?

 

Quite glad we just have one venue here, and very, very glad our shows are so much cheaper to enter!

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Here in the UK most people consider KC agility to be the "real deal". The KC is by far the biggest organisation and holds the most prestigious qualifiers/finals for all levels of dog.

 

There is definitely a feeling that some of the smaller independent organisations are dumbing the sport down.

 

UKA is an exception and Greg Derrett is trying to up its profile but it's slow going, although there is overlap with some very successful handlers competing in UKA and KC. GD may be in competition for business with the KC but he doesn't turn down the chance to take advantage of what they have to offer when it suits him.

 

 

If you had aspirations to compete internationally, would you *have* to trial in AKC to earn a place on an international team?

 

There are a number of international competitions on offer, each with their own eligibility criteria. Team selection is down to the individual country.

 

Registration with the major national body is a convenient eligibility requirement but, for example, a UK team could be selected for the WAO Championship without any member ever having competed in a UK KC show. Unlikely but possible.

 

It does make sense to have experience of the type of agility you are going to meet though. No point training exclusively in NADAC if your aim is the FCI World Champ team.

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I'll climb on now :). I started in NADAC. We have more NADAC trials in our area then any other organization. As far as I'm concerned, NADAC is now for practice, My dogs like it that they get to run fast, so I enjoy it for this reason, There are no real handling challenges for me, except maybe Chances now and again. I accepted hoops after a bit, but now that the barrels will become mandatory in mid 2014, I am really having a hard time considering NADAC "agility" and will be cutting my yearly trial days. I have done CPE in the past... get a good judge with good courses and there can be some challenges.

 

My very favorite is UKI, though right now we have few. We do not have USDAA here or I would be signing up. If we had ASCA I would trial, as ASCA is like NADAC used to be before they took away all of the obstacles and started introducing benign, go fast, push the path, go round things stuff.

 

There is AKC here, and sometimes I really wish I could support 'em and go since all of my training buddies go, but I just can't. It's kind of funny... my training partner thinks AKC is the organization to aspire to and will spend close to $1000 to travel elsewhere to trial in the pursuit of that double Q. We agree to disagree.

 

Looks like you and I are completely on the same page, I would like to try UKI but they have not made an appearance in Southern New England yet. I have done ASCA a couple of times and have zero complaints (although only needing to Qs to title seems a little easy) and if I had an Aussie I would play, but there was a shortage of border collies.

 

If you had aspirations to compete internationally, would you *have* to trial in AKC to earn a place on an international team?

 

Quite glad we just have one venue here, and very, very glad our shows are so much cheaper to enter!

There are two major international competions FCI World Agility Championships which is the one you need to compete with a kennel club, there is IFCS that USDAA puts a team forward for I don't know other countries selection process. The new kid on the block is the World Agility Open that was co created by Monica Percival of Cleanrun and Greg Derret as a way to bring the two together.

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Thanks for all the replies everyone, sorry I took so long to answer, I have been gone. I am contemplating all your input at the moment. ;)

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I agree, compete where you want to and don't worry about what others think. Real agility is in the eye of the beholder.

 

I mostly compete in NADAC because I love the speed and my dog naturally wants distance. When your dog is running 7 yps there is plenty of challenge, it's just a different type of challenge.I also hate front crosses and prefer to be behind my dog, so it fits for me. I don't mind the hoops or barrels with my new dog, and they actually help me work on my handling because you can't just send your dog to that "obstacle" and go. You do have to work it.

 

The only aspiration I have is to have fun with my dog.

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I don't mind the hoops or barrels with my new dog, and they actually help me work on my handling because you can't just send your dog to that "obstacle" and go. You do have to work it.

HUH?

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I also hate front crosses and prefer to be behind my dog, so it fits for me.

 

Meg hates front crosses. My knees hate front crosses. My footwork is usually awful despite attempts to improve so I too appreciate NADAC courses. With Meg however, I still have to work in the occasional front cross. I tend to try to stay behind too but I do not have a fast dog normally (she's inconsistent and likes to keep me guessing at what our run will be like...lol). We've been trying blind crosses...still a work in progress for both of us.

 

A side note: Our first AKC run last weekend was awesome! No faults, placed first! Meg saved us...I forgot where we were going after the weaves but she went on without me over the correct obstacle. She really seemed to love having all the different obstacles on the standard course and was eager to get to the next one. Our 2nd run (jumpers) was over SIX HOURS later with kids motocross races nearby (loud!) so Meg was stressed, tired and not focused. She messed up twice and I messed up once because I was distracted trying to regain her focus, but we pulled it together and had some nice speed at the end (NQ though). Jumpers is a bit boring for her so I expected to be the cheerleader, but everything together was too much and her attention was elsewhere for the first half of the course. I think we're going to have to sign up for ASCA too just so she can have more types of equipment, but without the super long wait between runs. That'll give us three venues...more local opportunities, though we may take her entire agility career to earn a title in one of them...lol.

 

I made friends with an adorable herding bred Border Collie that was there for agility. I hope to see him and his mom in the future. There was also a conformation show at the same location...interesting to watch...a bit silly overall I thought (but then again, I show chinchillas). I was proud to have my dirt smudged, grass stained girl with questionable parentage by my side amongst all the fluffy, plump, spotless dogs. ^_^Meg was having way more fun than they were. :)

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I was proud to have my dirt smudged, grass stained girl with questionable parentage by my side amongst all the fluffy, plump, spotless dogs. ^_^ Meg was having way more fun than they were. :)

 

Just the way I've felt when my mutts have been at Crufts. I've never tarted them up for Crufts on principle.

 

I've longed for someone to make a snide comment so I could ask them what their dogs actually do but noone ever has.

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I was stood in line for a run, and had not realized how filthy my partner was from swimming in the pond I was a bit mortified to realize we were dripping black mud on the turf. But it is one my favorite looks, I call him a farm collie when he looks like that.. much better than fro fro collie.

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I've actually seen the 'it's not real agility' here with regards to USDAA. Up until this year we only had AKC trials around. This winter we hosted the first USDAA trial in the state. My club started up USDAA in the area but I overheard a lot of the AKC'ers last weekend talking about how they didn't want to 'waste money' on USDAA. On the other hand, I heard some others talking about how much they enjoy the various USDAA games.

 

We actually had our first trial this weekend at USDAA, so it's funny hearing that it's supposedly more scary than other venues. I wish we had more options here, to be honest. NADAC seems like a great place to start.

 

I really hope USDAA takes off around here. It's fun and I like that it's not tied to the AKC. I'm looking at a non-AKC breed possibly in the future and I would like to not have to neuter my dog to play agility.

 

At the end of the day, agility should be about having fun with your dogs. Maybe it's because I'm a 'newbie' but the people that get super stressed and unhappy about how their dog does seem ridiculous to me.

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