Sep 24, 2011

AKC agility; yes or no?

I have several AKC agility trials coming up in the next three months and I’m just not sure I want to keep running in AKC at all. I’ve looked back at Dolcenea’s running statistics comparing AKC to all the other venues we run in, and I’ve noticed her Q rate has dropped drastically in AKC, especially trials I run here at home.

Two weekends ago we were in Omaha Nebraska running in CPE and Dolcenea Q’d 8 out of 10 runs in Level 4. It was 96 degrees outside on grass with 90% humidity, and she did great. This past weekend we had an AKC trial at Douglas County with 3 runs each day and we couldn’t Q for nothing. I didn’t even take her the last day of the trial; I took Dakota instead and got him some great socialization practice.  

I think most of Dolcenea’s not wanting to play agility was due to the constant barking, crying, whining and SCREAMING of the dogs crated two crating spaces over. These dogs would scream as loudly as they could especially when their mom was running one of the other dogs crated in the group. I don’t understand why other exhibitors leave their dogs unattended for hours on end for the rest of us to have to listen to flip-out. Dolcenea having to listen to this for 8 hours out of the day just makes her upset and obviously from the results of the weekend ruins our chances of Q’ing in AKC events here at home.

I find it interesting I only have this problem at local trials. I don’t have this problem attending AKC trials outside of Colorado or when I attend other venue trials. I don’t understand why local exhibitors have no consideration for their fellow exhibitors by keeping their screaming dogs quiet in the crating area, or simply crate them in their cars where the dogs inside the arena can’t hear them flipping out! This is one of the reasons I do not like it when the hosting club does not allow chairs in the crating area. I believe if the clubs would allow people to sit with their dogs, the crating area would be a much friendlier place to crate in. JMHO.

One of the things that bothers me to no end at an agility trial and I find very annoying is when you have to listen to club members pickup the microphone to the PA system and yell into it rules like those of us attending the trial are six years old. On day one of the trial one of the club members picked up the microphone three separate times to remind all us children (at least that’s what it feels like) of the following rules:
1.   When you’re driving thru the agility show grounds in your car “slow down”, do not honk your horn at an exhibitor crossing the road in front of you and speed off when they finally get passed. Then in their last breath they admit it was the person who works for the fairgrounds in charge of the show grounds for this weekend’s trial that actually did this stupid stunt. Really!?! Then go tell them about it don’t yell across a PA system at us exhibitors trying to enjoy the trial.

2.   The next scolding we get over the PA system is pickup after your dogs and don’t let them pee on anything that human hands have to touch. I hear this every single time I attend a trial put on by this club. Really!?! The exhibitors that pickup after their dogs do it religiously and will continue to do so. The exhibitors that DON’T pickup after their dogs will continue to do so religiously and yelling rules over a PA system isn’t going to change this fact. Get over it!

3.   No chairs in the crating area, if you have them fold them up and put them on the ground. Really!?! Don’t you think it might be better for the dogs being crated inside the building to have their handlers by their sides keeping them quiet so they don’t disturb EVERYONE crating by them with their obnoxious behavior? I think this is a no brainer!

Another problem I have with AKC trials is the time I have to wait between runs. At the CPE trial we ran one run every hour or so, in AKC we run one run every 5 hours. I think this is just too much for the both of us to handle. I know I get tired of waiting to run and it’s obvious by Dolcenea’s Q rate (or lack there of in AKC) she doesn’t like waiting around either.

At this past weekend’s trial we were the 3rd from the last dog to run in 20”B class. So I walked the course then got to wait around for two hours until we finally got to run. Do you know how hard it is to remember a course when you’ve walked it two hours ago? It really sucks running in the 20”B class in AKC.  

Then the other issue I find with AKC trials is the attitude of the club members and exhibitors. I don’t know exactly what it is about AKC trials at home, but club members and some of the exhibitors really take the fun out of the event. There seems to be an attitude of entitlement or I’m better than you because I run a bullet dog, or I’m Q’ing and your not, or I have a MACH and you don’t. I just don’t understand why there is so many politics at AKC trials at home. Anymore for me running in AKC trials at home has become a chore and something I’m really considering not attending.