Dog Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
  • Like
Reactions: Mollyuu

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
I read this same article as a facebook posting on a friend's page--a friend who shows very successfully and has put multiple titles (and perfect scores) on multiple dogs--and the reaction to it there was more positive. Not that winners shouldn't be honored by that the smaller victories shouldn't be overlooked. The winners still go home with the rosettes, but it's nice that those who finally got their dogs to do something that had been really hard for them to learn should be applauded for their efforts to persevere and believe in themselves and their dogs. That kind of thing.

On the other hand, I find it a little loopy that some shows offer a sort of consolation prize that can be won by anyone who had a dog NQ, provided they choose to throw their armband in the box from which the winning number is drawn that's almost as large as what the dog who places first in a ring wins. That seems kind of unfair to me, considering that the dogs who finish second, third or fourth get nothing other than a ribbon/leg toward a title. I say that as someone who hasn't ever competed and is actually wary of doing so--for reasons utterly unrelated to how dog shows are scored--however, so it really doesn't affect me personally (and maybe I just don't get the same charge out of a ribbon/leg as real competitors would).

Some shows also have things like a Rally Challenge that are just for fun and specifically state that even those who do NQ may be eligible to win prizes. Since everyone knows that going into the Rally Challenge would know that, and it's got no bearing on anyone's titles, I don't see a problem there. If you don't like the rules, you just don't participate in it.

I guess what bothers me more is that the premiums can be high enough to discourage people from participating because it's entirely possible that you could spend $30 or so to have a dog NQ in just one ring and not everyone has access to fun matches or the equivalent. So, there may be people out there who'd like to compete but just don't feel they can justify the costs, especially if it involves significant travel/accommodations costs, which it can if you live in an area where shows are infrequent. Or maybe I'm just spoiled because the cost of earning therapy titles is dramatically less and much more within the control of the individual dog/handler team (i.e. you can generally find as much therapy work as you're comfortable doing and work toward a title at your own rate without it being a problem--and as long as you've put in the hours, you're guaranteed of the title when you send in your fees).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
I love your article! It is the spirit of personal accomplishments between dog and handler that should drive the sports! Recently Savannah and I were at a CPE trial and the club hosting the trial "awarded" the very first NQ weekend ribbon. It went to a baby dog who it was only his second trial he did the various baby dog thing: visited the judge/ring crew, stood on top of the a frame to enjoy the view, got the zoomies, ect. The ribbon was awarded in the spirit of been there done that and things will get better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #4

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I guess what bothers me more is that the premiums can be high enough to discourage people from participating because it's entirely possible that you could spend $30 or so to have a dog NQ in just one ring and not everyone has access to fun matches or the equivalent. So, there may be people out there who'd like to compete but just don't feel they can justify the costs, especially if it involves significant travel/accommodations costs, which it can if you live in an area where shows are infrequent. Or maybe I'm just spoiled because the cost of earning therapy titles is dramatically less and much more within the control of the individual dog/handler team (i.e. you can generally find as much therapy work as you're comfortable doing and work toward a title at your own rate without it being a problem--and as long as you've put in the hours, you're guaranteed of the title when you send in your fees).

Have you ever been a member of a club that puts on shows? You might want to look into it. First, you are giving back to the sport you love. Volunteerism is very important in the continuation of dog sports. Second, you learn why things are the way they are.

Venues are very pricey. In agility, it can cost around $5,000 a weekend for an indoor soccer venue. The only way these funds are raised are with entry fees. Then the club has to pay the trial secretary, the judges, buy and maintain the equipment, buy a trailer to haul the equipment, maybe maintain training facilities of their own, buy the timers, buy the ribbons, buy the trial secretary's computer (soetimes) and office supplies, and on and on.

Clubs that have their own training facilities are especially up against the wall when it comes to funds, and trials are their main fundraiser to maintain and pay rental for these buildings.

Yes, it is expensive, but so is gambling. So is a daily coffee habit. So are soft drinks. So is eating out. So is going to the movies. So is a cell phone bill, etc. We pick and choose what we wish to spend our money on. I choose dog sports. I choose it in large part because of what I wrote in my column and because of the joy I see in my dogs' eyes. I live in an area of the country where I have to travel and stay in hotels to almost all of my shows. It is about $500 a three day weekend - probably more. Pricey? Yes. A problem for people who can't afford it? Yes. But those wishing not to have hotel fees can still participate and drive back and forth to many shows. There are those that will be pushed out of showing due to the fees, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be many safe options - at least in my part of the country. Areas of the world where outdoor Rally shows can happen can find cheap venues, but in my area of the US, you cannot have outdoor shows - unless you love wind, storms, excessive heat, excessive cold and tornadoes. :D

So the price for fees is just a part of the situation in most cases. There are money hungry clubs that raise their fees above what they really need. I generally avoid these clubs because if they are money stingy, then they also tend not to maintain equipment, have poorly manned rings, don't work dirt surfaces and have other dangerous safety issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: agility collie mom

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Had a long and thoughtful response but some bug erased it...

I have not seen the original article.

Agility here has such a rule at level 2 and 3. To get a leg on level 2 the dog must have a clean run and win or if there are enough competitors, place among X. On the level 3 the dog must win to get a certificate or place N +1'th if there are enough competitors and the N dog(s) above your dog already have all their certificates for the title.

I have no idea how it affects agility. Slow dogs get stuck on level 2 and if they are not lucky or their handlers do not use any strategy (like seeking smaller trials far away from more popular venues where there might be less fast dogs with skilled handlers). I guess the handlers keep going for the fun of it or eventually lose motivation and quit or get that [CENSORED] border collie.

But to introduce a such rule in Rally-O or traditional Obedience? I think it would be disastrous. It would destroy the motivation of many and make the sport interesting only for few. That would then affect how succesful it is to arrange these trials. I believe that these sports are mostly about challenging yourself and your training skills and should be kept that way.

A set score or criteria you have to reach for a leg enables those of us who are not fast enough, agile enough, or otherwise capable to win to gain something and to be proud about it. Your success is not dependent on the success or failure of others. I admit, I like to boast on our titles! I like to know that I could train my dog to that level and that I've finally learned to have a cool head in the ring.

Some handlers though can enter to reach smaller milestones. It is their personal journey. Maybe the dog did a perfect pivot in the ring. Or heel. Or retrieve. Maybe the handler was almost relaxed insteald of panic. Maybe the handler remembered to praise the dog (our goal once). Maybe the dog did not run away from the ring this time (another goal of ours, related to the previous one). Maybe the dog was happy instead of lame and that unofficial title 'the judge's favourite today' was no disappointment either. Or the little note the judge wrote on the evaluation sheet 'wagging tail, excellent co-operation in the ring, very nice to watch'. That, if anything, should be everyone's goal in any dog sport!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,173 Posts
At the last couple of trials I have been at, they have given an Award for the happiest working team. At the one show my sister one it with her Rat Terrier and they gave the winner, free entries at the next show.

At the second trial, they gave it to a Coonhound. She would stop at every obstacle and W00 WOO and then move on. The handler never gave up encouraging the dog and even though the dog never Q'd in anything, they were a great team.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,404 Posts
Concocted "everybody wins" awards are a mirror of the times and IMO ridiculous. You win, place, show or lose. Everybody loses at times and only makes winning that much more satisfying. The losing keeps one humble and trying harder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
FinnAlva - thank you for explaining how the levels work in the UK. I knew it was a winner take all system, but I didn't know how it worked exactly. I think it's very sad that the slow teams get stuck way back at level 2 or have to travel to find shows with fewer entries or just quit. That means the handler and the dog aren't getting the benefits of agility.

What you mention about obedience and Rally in the UK is EXACTLY how I feel about agility in the US with our qualifying system. I would hate a win out system, even though I would have won out already into level 7 (isn't that your highest level?) We win first places all the time, but I still think it would be a terrible system. I have so many friends with slow dogs who deserve some motivation to continue for their benefit and their dog's benefit. Please read the original article. I think you might agree. After all, why have agility in the UK be all about BCs? Yawn.

DriveDog - I actually don't recommend in my article that dogs that can't qualify be given ribbons and awards. I just think they should be given the respect and honor they deserve for overcoming their demons. For instance, I wouldn't mind a ribbon that is a "personal achievement" ribbon someone can pick up for say, achieving the weaves or hitting all of their contacts. I also think Journey cakes are a great way for these teams to celebrate (as I state in my blog.) And mainly just a pat on the back from fellow competitors acknowledging the hard work and their journey is huge. I don't think rewarding with titles or moving up without passing the course (ie qualifying) is a good thing. I don't think handing out awards or ribbons for NQs is a good idea at all. Some venues in the US (NADAC, USDAA maybe?) give placement ribbons for teams that place but don't qualify. I think these are a waste of time, although it is nice for the beginner novice handlers to get those ribbons as encouragement, but the elite/masters teams shouldn't be given placement ribbons without a qualifying score.

You also may not have read the blog, DriveDog. I suggest you do, and then let us know what you think. :)

Thanks everyone for replying. I love the discussion. I am especially pleased to have heard from the UK where there is already a "win out to level" system in place. It sounds like it makes the sport less fun, IMHO.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,404 Posts
You also may not have read the blog, DriveDog. I suggest you do, and then let us know what you think. :)

You caught me, I did not read the blog but I have now. Overall, it addresses the camaraderie of the competitors regardless of win, lose or draw along with the spirit of competition. I have been a passionate competitor in many activities most of my entire life. I appreciate much of what your blog discussed but my passion for competition is fueled from within and has taught me many a life lesson. Yes, we can't win all the time but I'm not very good at being patronized when I lose but certainly will patronize others when they are struggling with the losing component of competition if it seems to be required for their type of ego. Losing simply fuels my fire to try harder in order to win or at the very least become more competitive amongst my peers.

Your words " Flash forward several weeks, and I found myself at a local agility trial. I heard competitor after competitor give excuses as to why their dog didn't qualify." and especially " Whether these excuses are real or not isn't the issue here. The issue is that we feel we have to justify ourselves when we don't succeed." completely agrees with my observation in most every competitive activity I have ever taken part in and resulting in my catchall for these participants which is "You are only as good as your next excuse".

Yes, when the underdog or least likely competitor who has been struggling from day one on the "field" of competition makes a breakthrough, it is to be celebrated but not in the same fashion as the individual or team which technically won the competition. Winning is winning and losing is losing however it is more in the process of becoming more competent in one's chosen competition where the life lessons are learned and a person's merit is measured.

There will always be those who quash a struggling competitor's efforts and then there are those who will have taken notice of those who have struggled and are struggling and congratulate them for their improvements, regardless of their lack of winning. I like to think I have always been the latter. I have little time for sore losers but even less time for those who diminish a competitor's honest efforts. In my book, there is no victory or "winning" when you beat the top rated competitors when they had an off performance or bad day. I personally believe winning must be accomplished when all bring their A game to the "field".

I believe you said it wonderfully with these few words " The growth the human makes during that attempt is where the heart of sport lies." And I will assume "growth" does include a brand new fancy excuse to rationalize a poor performance:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
812 Posts
In what agility I've done, I haven't tried to 'win'. I've taken my time to get Q's. And I like it that way. When I see dogs have a real hard time but still finish clean, I think it's awesome. Otherwise, the entire sport would be border collies and shelties, because hardly anyone else would even want to try.
 
  • Like
Reactions: agilityk9trainer

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Maxi 3 here is mostly BCs. I do not bother watching championships in agility or obedience because most of the dogs there are border collies, the rest are likely kelpies and a handful of Belgians. I find it boring and uninteresting. This year the Finnish champion in maxi was a Malinois, yay :)

I am also pissed that there is this big agility event coming and see, there is a border collie on their T-shirt. I won't wear that... The event's original purpose is to celebrate the variety of breeds that can do agility. Even its name says so (Agirotu, rotu = breed).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I have little time for sore losers but even less time for those who diminish a competitor's honest efforts.
Excellent, thoughtful response DriveDog. I especially love the above quote from you. I totally agree. Thank you for adding quality content to the discussion!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Maxi 3 here is mostly BCs. I do not bother watching championships in agility or obedience because most of the dogs there are border collies, the rest are likely kelpies and a handful of Belgians. I find it boring and uninteresting. This year the Finnish champion in maxi was a Malinois, yay :)

I am also pissed that there is this big agility event coming and see, there is a border collie on their T-shirt. I won't wear that... The event's original purpose is to celebrate the variety of breeds that can do agility. Even its name says so (Agirotu, rotu = breed).
I fear the over attention to the BC in agility will eventually, if it isn't already, hurt the sport. I, too, avoid BC looking agility tees. :D Of course, I don't expect a Sheltie on them either. I hope your agility organization deals with their issues so all breeds can compete with success.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
FinnAlva - thank you for explaining how the levels work in the UK. I knew it was a winner take all system, but I didn't know how it worked exactly. I think it's very sad that the slow teams get stuck way back at level 2 or have to travel to find shows with fewer entries or just quit. That means the handler and the dog aren't getting the benefits of agility.

What you mention about obedience and Rally in the UK is EXACTLY how I feel about agility in the US with our qualifying system. I would hate a win out system, even though I would have won out already into level 7 (isn't that your highest level?) We win first places all the time, but I still think it would be a terrible system. I have so many friends with slow dogs who deserve some motivation to continue for their benefit and their dog's benefit. Please read the original article. I think you might agree. After all, why have agility in the UK be all about BCs? Yawn.
.
Oldish thread but I discovered I haven't commented this one.

I know nothing about the system in UK. I live and trial in Finland.

Finnish agility has three levels as well as Rally Obedience. Traditional obedience has four levels where the first one is a national novice class and the rest follow FCI classes 1, 2, and 3.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
I don't want to get too heavy here but I think giving every kid a participation trophy was a disaster. Let's not spread this to dog sports as well. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
May I quickly point out that a system based on "Qualifying" is NOT giving out "participation ribbons." You have to EARN them by qualifying. So we are not talking at all about "participation ribbons." :D
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top