Follow the Fun to Improve Trial Attendance

Up and down the west coast, dog sports events – from official trials & shows to workshops & training opportunities – are available EVERY weekend of the year. (Maybe not Christmas when it falls on a Friday Saturday or Sunday.)  Exhibitors have an unprecedented amount of choice about where and when they spend time and money.  With that in mind, all dog clubs need to be thinking about how to improve trial attendance.

The perfect illustration in our region is how agility trials have scaled back to one judge or kept the two-judge format but seen smaller profits. We will discuss how this microeconomic phenomenon came to haunt our local dog sports community later.

In general, there are only two ways to make money: Increase Income (improve trial attendance) or Decrease Expense (single judge, two days, ribbons as required). Along those lines, a club could split the weekend with another club but given that Saturday is the most profitable day, the second club would need to be given Friday AND Sunday (so a Hope AND a Prayer). Or two clubs could alternate annually for the corresponding weekend but that requires careful planning and cooperation between separate entities which makes the governing organizations (NADAC, AKC, CPE etc.) uncomfortable.

a laundry list of fun to improve trial attendance.

Here are some ways to attract exhibitors to your current event. Most of these involve pairing up with another club to hold an event. Or, if your club can hold the additional attraction, have a few more club members around to help. Some examples require additional administration (trial secretary paperwork) but many just need a club member to step up and help out. The idea is that you have already rented the facility for the first sport so it saves you that cost for the additional attracion.

Training Matches

In AKC, sometimes called B Match or Show N Go or Ticker. If room on the grounds,  hold Matches or Show N Go in conjunction with the main sport if they are a different sport. Otherwise, you have to wait until the end of the trial day. For example: at an Agility Trial you may have an Agility B Match when the trial day is over or you could have a Puppy Conformation B Match or Obedience Show N Go DURING the day.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Tests – Trick Dog Tests – Farm Dog Tests (requires some small livestock)

These are all AKC pay as you go titles/test. All can be administered by a CGC evaluator who splits fees with the club or, if the evaluator is a club member, donates fees to the club.

Rally Trial

Fits well with the pace of an agility trial. Good return on time investment. Would not want too close to exciting agility rings. Needs around four stewards ringside (the trial chair could be one) and a separate judge from agility.

Obedience Trial

Best offered before an agility event or some distance away as exhibitors are very noise sensitive. Works well as a Friday morning when you have a Friday afternoon start. Highest levels of obedience competitors are always looking for opportunities to compete, so small trials can be well attended.

FAST Cat Trial or Test

Lure coursing for all breeds! Requires special equipment and space so best to partner with a coursing club.

Barn Hunt Trial or Rat N Go

This takes dry space under cover. A trial has two to three rings and four to five levels You have to clear up the straw afterward so be thoughtful about where this is set in relation to the competition rings. Expect this to be done partnering with a Barn Hunt club.

Scent Work Sniff N Go

Scent Work trials may not work with other events because of the isolation issue (teams must remain in the car until called to work). But Sniff N Go – their version of a training match — might fit in nicely. Even these types of matches help expose new folks to how the sport works.

Partner-up  in the Neighborhood

Work with a club holding an event in the same geographical area and cross-market both events. This allows exhibitors to get more chances to compete or train while in the area or to travel with friends or family who participate in a different sport.

Special Competitions/Attractions

Add unique games to be played post competition. You must have a game, rules and scoring written out before you start. These could be based on classes in other organizations to help with structure. In AKC, submit this type of event on the Special Attraction Form. Examples might be:

  • Weave-a-thon  ( like drag racing with weave poles)
  • Tunnel Madness (4 or 5 tunnels with a timed course) or
  • Retriever Relay (4-inch jumps and the dog has to hold an item in mouth going over # jumps to hand off to a team member)
Fun Things with Your Dog

Highlight  that which celebrates or is enjoyed by  the dog:

  • Parade of Double Digits (price of entry includes a nice rosette ribbon when nationals do this)
  • Retirement For Exhibition Only (FEO) runs of Double Digits (Dog may not be entered in the trial if this is AKC event)
  • A prize for High In Trial Old Dog (oldest dog over 10 years with fastest YPS Qualifying run)
  • Parade or FEO or Prize for High in Trial of Rescue/Rehomed Dogs (exhibitors need to sign up for this one)
  • Painting with your Dog – dog paw prints as art
  • Holiday Snapshots or Games – bobbing for hot dogs or watermelon eating contest or Fastest Recall or Santa pictures or Halloween costume contest or Photography contest.

Next Step…marketing of course

There are ways to improve the attendance of trials that are fun and could invite new exhibitors to your particular club and trial.  After you decide what to add to your event, we need to talk about how to get the word out so you see an impact in the financials sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goin’ to an AKC agility match (at Argus Ranch in particular)

K9EventsNW
K9EventsNW

** Please note this has been updated for 2018.

There are so many things you need to know and some of these things I am going to tell you are my opinion (indicated with a IMO) but since the club is responsible for everyone’s safety I am going to be a bit dictatorial so that both you and your dog have a great time and enjoy future success. A young man once said “You don’t know what you don’t know ‘til you don’t know it” and this is very true in dog sports. There are organizational rules found in rulebooks on websites and preferred methods learned as you trial in an area and customs and courtesies that folks need to tell you about. Hopefully I am giving you some of each of these.

First, let me make it clear the match I am describing is an AKC (www.akc.org) event which means dogs must be under control at all times and on leash everywhere except in the ring and at the warm up jump. If you do not have off leash control you are not ready for a match yet. Dogs may not be on a prong or corrective collar on the show grounds—martingales are okay but dog is expected to run in flat or rolled buckle collar for safety. While flexi/retractable leashes are permitted on the grounds they are not a good idea at trials because you should come to the line on a proper leash and (IMO) when walking your dog they can cause all sorts of injury to themselves and others if the flexi-cord gets wrapped around things like humans or dogs or trees or…you get the picture. If there is a serious problem or mishap the club must report it to AKC and punishments can be assigned for serious offenses even for a match.

There are matches for new judges/clubs and matches for training both allow toy rewards but NO FOOD on the course. Dogs must meet the same criteria for the match as for a trial—they must be over 15 months in good health and have an AKC number (http://www.akc.org/register/?pre=breeder&activity=puppy MIXED BREEDS are welcomed in agility). Also you need to be careful with your verbal corrections—nothing so harsh or loud as to upset bystanders. A match for a judge/club is run exactly like a trial with all the paper work and you are expected to run the course as designed.

winstonKCCSA match for training purposes is for dogs and handlers that know how to safely engage the equipment on a course but you don’t have to do all the course as designed. It is NOT for LEARNING the EQUIPMENT but for experienced teams to practice skills (start line stays, wraps, contacts, serpentines, weave poles, shorter sequences) and for new teams to see where they are on the agility journey. You don’t want to put a dog in this type of match if they have never done the equipment or never been in such a stimulating environment. Why?? Because you don’t want your dog hurt by doing the equipment incorrectly nor do you want your dog to become afraid of the equipment or the environment and, since you are limited in your use of rewards and corrections, you don’t want them to become ring-wise (that is where they know you can’t get after them or bribe them like you do at home when they are being naughty or crazy)

We are offering a match for training purposes this weekend at Argus Ranch and if you have never been to the site or to a trial in general here are some pointers (IMO). We expect to START the match around 3pm. Arrive early and leave your dog in the car. Get the lay of the land and come into the building to get a feel for the energy and sound level. Dogs not entered in the trial itself should not be crated in the building until we get ready for the match—the energy level should have come down a bit by then. Watch yourself and your dog in the door way as folks are running back and forth.

We typically have you (or someone you have do it for you) sign up $5/3 min (cash check or worker voucher) during the day of the match (in this case Saturday March 24th). You may do each ring TWICE with a dog for a total fo FOUR runs. Each run is $5 for 90 seconds but be aware that a long time when you are working on your plan…or trying to get a dog to come to you. You will sign up by jump height and you may jump whatever height you wish. (IMO) jump lower for working on your handling or problem solving or a new place and regular height for conditioning.

At Argus, you may have to park in the back of the property until it clears out a bit. When you come in the door you have a ring to the left, a ring to the right, and a corridor up the center at the end of which is the Trial Secretary Table (I wear a red ball cap at trials I am working because I just can’t get the dirt out of my tiara). Only dogs ready to run are to be in the corridor up the center so please don’t drag your dog up to the secretary table to ask questions. You usually sign up for matches by the Secretary Table as well as find out when the measuring official is available.

To be officially measured you need an AKC number (http://www.akc.org/register/?pre=breeder&activity=puppy ) to be sound and over 15 months old. If you would like an unofficial measurement or to get your dog use to the measuring process please ask for assistance as the wicket is expensive and we don’t want it knocked about.

Potty areas are marked and most are on-leash. DO NOT use the field next to the arena for play, training or bathroom—it is being prepped for summer events and needs to be well kept (even if the gophers are not respectful we should be). Areas where dogs are allowed to be off-leash are marked but you may want to keep your dog on leash anyway to prevent injury—fields are not level and human and dog legs can get hurt. Also, other folks may not have the recall they THINK they have when their dog sees your dog or your dog sees their tennis ball/Frisbee/stick. Don’t assume anyone wants their dog to interact with yours.

You might not know about ring prep at this stage in your agility education so I am going to explain it from the perspective of those of us who are running dogs (IMO). Please let us focus on the course and our dog before and after our run. Don’t come into that corridor and start chatting about our breed or want to tell us how the run looked or ask questions about strategies. We are trying to focus on the job at hand and build the bond with our dog—who is getting amped about running before we go in and demanding praise and cookies when we get out. We may be running to get our next dog so timing is precious. Ask questions or share observations once everything is settled back down for that handler. This is especially important to those who are agility instructors—students might want to film their runs for discussion later but please let them enjoy the time with their dog.

Hope I haven’t overwhelmed you but, with more than a decade in the sport as a handler and trial secretary, I can promise you the more you know and plan and train, then the better and more successful your agility career will be.

See--red hat means I am working the trial
See–red hat means I am working the trial

Safe travels, Theresa and the Cardis

 

AKC Agility B Match OUTSIDE!!

 This weekend Boston Terrier Club of Western Washington is having an AKC all breed agility trial at Lakebay Wa. They are hosting an agility B Match after the trial day is done around 330 pm on BOTH Saturday & Sunday. We also are having a potluck Judge’s dinner starting around 4 pm so feel free to join us in that too. We also will have a few vendors if you would like to come early and shop.

The trial and the match are outside on the grass with sheep fencing (large open squares of light weight net fencing). We will have a Standard ring and a Jumper With Weaves ring. You may bring toys in the ring but no food in the ring. Dogs do not have to be entered in the trial but  must meet the same criteria for the match as for a trial—they must be over 15 months in good health and have an AKC number (http://www.akc.org/register/?pre=breeder&activity=puppy MIXED BREEDS are welcomed in agility as well as other sports.

Sign up at the Secretary’s table starting  at noon each day. Cost is $5 for each 60 second run  (cash, check or worker voucher). You may do which ever ring(s) you want as many times as you want (at $5 for each 60-second run) but be aware that can be a long time when you are working on your plan, trying to build focus, understand a maneuver or trying to get a dog to come to you. You will sign up by jump height and you may jump whatever height you wish. (IMO) jump lower for working on your handling or problem solving or a new place and regular height for conditioning. I hear the weather should be in the 80’s.

Again, the agility fun match I am describing is an AKC (www.akc.org) event which means dogs must be under control at all times and on leash everywhere except in the ring and at the warm up jump. If you do not have off leash control you are not ready for a match yet, but feel free to work on attention on leash out of the ring. Dogs may not be on a prong or corrective collar on the show grounds—martingales are okay but the dog is expected to run in flat or rolled buckle collar for safety. While flexi/retractable leashes are permitted on the grounds they are not a good idea at trials because you should come to the line on a proper leash and (IMO) when walking your dog at an outside trial there are even more things to get tangled– humans or pop-up shade tent legs or chairs.

Don’t forget to be careful with your verbal corrections—nothing so harsh or loud as to upset bystanders. Again, if there is a serious problem or mishap the club must report it to AKC and punishments can be assigned for serious offenses even for a match.

A match for training purposes is for dogs and handlers that know how to safely engage the equipment on a course but you don’t have to do all the course as designed. It is NOT for LEARNING the EQUIPMENT but for experienced teams to practice skills (start line stays, wraps, contacts, serpentines, weave poles, shorter sequences) in the very different environment of an outdoor trial and for new teams to see where they are on the agility journey. You don’t want to put a dog in this type of match if they have never done the equipment or never been in such a stimulating environment. Why?? Because you don’t want your dog hurt by doing the equipment incorrectly nor do you want your dog to become afraid of the equipment or the environment and, since you are limited in your use of rewards and corrections, you don’t want them to become ring-wise (that is where they know you can’t get after them or bribe them like you do at home when they are being naughty or crazy)

Volunteer Park in Lakebay Wa on the Key Peninsula is a lovely park with a couple nice open spaces and a little forested walk. The Snack Shack will be open some of the weekend. You may park wherever there is room and there is overflow parking/camping in a field above the trial area. Just follow the road you come in on straight past the ball fields and up the dirt hill.

K9EventsNW

The Trial Secretary’s table should be not far from the rings so please don’t drag your dog up to the secretary table to ask questions. I will be wearing my new brown ball cap with this logo

We do not have an official to measure at this trial. If you  would like an unofficial measurement or to get your dog use to the measuring process please ask for assistance as the wicket is expensive and we don’t want it knocked about.

Since this is a public park it is imperative that you pick up any and all pet waste you come across or your dog deposits. There is no off leash area around the rings. Also, other folks may not have the recall they THINK they have when their dog sees your dog or your dog sees their tennis ball/Frisbee/stick. Don’t assume anyone wants their dog to interact with yours.

Come early and see the runs but please understand  from the perspective of those of us who are running dogs. Please let handlers focus on the course and our dogs before and after our run. Don’t come ring side and start chatting about our breed or want to tell us how the run looked or ask questions about strategies. We are trying to focus on the job at hand and build the bond with our dog—who is getting amped about running before we go in and demanding praise and cookies when we get out. We may be running to get our next dog so timing is precious. Ask questions or share observations once everything is settled back down for that handler. This is especially important to those who are agility instructors—students might want to film their runs for discussion later but please let them enjoy the time with their dog.

Trialing outdoors can be a great deal of fun but it does offer a different level of challenges. Hope I haven’t overwhelmed you but, the more you know and plan and train, then the better and more successful your agility career will be.

 Safe travels, Theresa and the Cardis

 

 

Nationals with a Capital N or how to build you Dog Sport Karma

In dog sports, the term “Nationals” means an annual event for that sport (conformation, agility, rally, obedience), breed (Pugs, Poodles, Pumis) &/or organization (AKC, UKC, CPE, NADAC, ASCA). For example: American Kennel Club (AKC) as an organization hosts Agility Nationals. Dogs that are registered and compete in AKC agility events at the Master level and meet the annual criteria will be invited to attend this event and compete against other dog/handler teams from all over the US (and Canada too!). The next AKC Agility Nationals will be in Perry GA March @4-26 2017.

Breed groups in AKC, for example, also have annual meet ups where only that breed competes in various performance sports depending on the breed of dog (Herding for shelties, Hunting for Gordon Setters, Lure Coursing for Greyhounds) as well as the companion sports (agility, obedience, rally, tracking) that the club thinks people would like to compete in for the week. If they expect that there aren’t enough folks to have an event of just that one breed they may hold small All Breed trials but only give prizes to the host breed. Of course, the historical foundation of these events is confirmation so you can see the depth of the stock that makes up your breed.

An example of this type of event in our own backyard is the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America (http://www.acdca.org/ ) Nationals to be held here in the Pacific Northwest. Events will be held in and around Lacey WA from September 18th to 23rd. As you can see by the schedule of events the club will hold agility for just Cattle Dogs on Sunday and herd trials on the last two days at a local facility.

The Australian Shepherd Club of America (www.ASCA.org ) will be hosting its 2016 National in Albany OR September 9-17. While this organization allows mixed breeds and other pure breeds to participate in its various programs The National and its pre-event warm up competitions are only for Australian Shepherds who have met the requirements to compete.

Now that being said you should know that these various types of Nationals are held a different locations around the US depending on a number of factors such as regional clubs willing to do the support work and the necessary facilities being fairly close to each other. Because the population is spread out over greater distances, Nationals held west of the Mississippi tend to be smaller and need more help from the dog sport community at large.

With the is in mind, if you would like to lend a hand bar setting or stewarding or course building or anything that you already have a skill at with either of the above events you can contact the trial chairs directly. Let them know what you can help with—sometimes they need folks who are not entered to drive judges around or to help pack equipment up at the end of the whole production—and the times you are available.

Budgets are tight so don’t have any expectations of more than a few refreshments but these are wonderful opportunities to watch a great many dogs compete in a unique environment and perhaps get you interested in upping your own dog sport bucket list.

Here is Althea with the ribbons she won for herding, rally, and agility at the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National in Ca in 2007.
Here is Althea with the ribbons she won for herding, rally, and agility at the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National in CA in 2007. And yes she was the SMALLEST Cardigan Corgi at the Nationals that year.

 

Don’t miss the summer fun in LAKEBAY WA!

 The Boston Terrier Club of W Wa still has room in the Summer Agility Trial.

You know how I like all things vintage. Well this trial celebrates the long history of AKC all breed agility on the Key Peninsula. Just like it was “back in the day” this is a one judge (Paula Ratoza) trial held outside on grass at Volunteer Park in Lakebay WA August 5, 6 & 7.

Friday starts around noon and is Excellent/Masters only—STD then JWW then Premier STD and finally Premier JWW. The park has a family movie showing on Friday night should you be among the dry-campers staying over at the venue.

Saturday we start with FAST (Excellent-Masters/Open/Novice) then Excellent STD, Excellent JWW, Open STD, Open JWW, Novice STD, Novice JWW. After the trial is done for the day we will have an agility B Match (need not be entered in trial but since we have have only deer fencing around the rings your dog does need a good recall) and the judge’s dinner which is a potluck barbeque

Sunday we start with Time 2 Beat to get the folks going then Excellent STD, Excellent JWW, Open STD, Open JWW, Novice STD, Novice JWW.

When we publicize the event, we let the public know we have vendors so feel free to bring whatever you sell even if it is not dog related. You can also organize a swap and shop with your friends if you are clearing out cupboards!

You can enter on line at www.akc.org using the “my AKC” function or download a premium here and mail it in with check before the trial closes on July 22 at 6pm.

There is dry camping at the site for $15 a day paid to the club—there are a few places in the trees for tent campers and a large field above the baseball field for RV’s and overflow parking. Camping next to the field is reserved for trial staff.

Safe Travels Theresa and the cardigans

Dr. Patti Schaefer is back on her feet

canisport logoDr. Patti Schaefer took a bit longer to get back to her vet practice than she had planned but she is finally back on the road to see her patients —just in time for the summer dog sport season. Patti is still recovering the stamina and strength you need do battle with the traffic in our area so her on-site clinics in Olympia, Tacoma and Kent have been limited in the number of returning clients she can see. Patti wanted me to pass along her heartfelt thanks at all the support the community sent her way as she recovered from her surgery to fix her broken hip.

Dr Patti’s availability at Family Dog Training Center in Kent is located on their website at  http://www.familydogonline.com/dr-patti-schaefer/  Email office@familydogonline.com  with your first two choices to be put on the schedule.

For her Tacoma and Olympia availability contact Patti directly here: www.Canisport.com

 

Agility-Fund Raising

This has been flying around the FaceBook but is such a great cause it bears repeating! Hurray as the drawing is June 24th!agility a go go

Do you need a competition TEETER in your backyard? Afull size teeter has been generously donated by Agility A Go Go and Ric Travis to be raffled off. All proceeds from raffle ticket sales will benefit our two local PNW junior handlers, Emma Hughes and Gabi Loesch, heading to Slovakia this summer to compete on Team USA for the European Open Junior competition. You can buy tickets from either of the girls.

1 for $5

4 for $10

10 for $20

Emma has a paypal link set up   PayPal.Me/EmmaAgility Please add “Teeter Raffle” in the comments.

Gabi has a GoFundMe link https://www.gofundme.com/agilityadventure Please add “Go Go Gabi” in the comments.

 

 

 

Seminar–Mental Skills for All Dog Sports

So how well did you do last weekend at the dog show or agility trial or obedience trial or, heck, even a fun match??

If your dog sports competitions aren’t quite as successful or fun as you would like perhaps you might like to join the Mental Skills Training For Competitive Canine Handlers seminar at Family Dog Training Center in Kent Wa on April 16 & 17 with Brenda  Riemer, Ph.D..

Brenda is not only a sports psychologist, she is also a dog sport competitor with championship and High in Trial canine team mates.

Saturday: What is competition; Why we get ring nerve; Skill training; Ways to reduce stress; Use of imagery; Exercises for all participants

Sunday: the working spot teams will do a complete run thrus with Brenda coaching them. the Auditors will play judges, steward, audience and get to see Brenda’s teachings in action.

All the working spots have been taken for the seminars but there are plenty of auditor (attending without a dog) slots left. Brenda has exercises in the seminars for both those with and without dogs. Saturday & Sunday Auditor $150 / One Day Auditor $85

Online Registration: Register

More information and paper registration: docx pdf

AKC AGILITY MATCH Saturday March 26th at Argus Ranch

th0WWPHBBYWith such a small all breed AKC agility trial for the Boston Terrier Club of Western Wa March 25 to 27 at Argus Ranch in Auburn WA we have added a Match for Saturday Match 26th. We will have a Measuring Judge available too. Come by and help set a few bars-watch a few runs -then work your dog in the Match. See you there!

SATURDAY  AGILITY MATCH    

March 26TH   

$5 for 3 minutes   STD and JWW as many runs as you wish. 

Start 30 min after last run (around 3pm we think) 

Sign up at the trial

Dog must be eligible to run in AKC all breed agility trials

On course toys  okay but no food     

 Want the run order for this trial? Visit the events page.

AKC- Agility – March at Argus Ranch in Auburn.

See you in March at Argus Ranch
See you in March at Argus Ranch

The BTCWW all breed AKC agility trial that will be held March 26, 27 & 28 2016 at Argus Ranch for Dogs in Auburn WA CLOSES this FRIDAY MARCH 11th @ 6pm.

The Premium and location information is located on my event page

Friday is Excellent/Masters STD, JWW, Premier STD and Premier JWW. Franna Pitt is the judge.

Saturday & Sunday are all levels of FAST, Time 2 Beat, JWW and STD. Judge is Art Brest and we will do the games then Excellent/Master STD then JWW, Open STD then JWW, Novice STD then JWW.

Lori Sage is our overflow judge(and equipment provider) for the weekend. The trial is Unlimited which means it is a one judge trial but if we go over the one judge limit of 330 runs per day, we have an overflow judge who steps in and judges those few runs that are over the limit (usually works out to be one of the games or Novice). We are inside on dirt using both rings but only one at a time.

  • You may sign-up online using your MY AKC account at AKC.org.
  • You may hand deliver your entry to 4705 SW Hinds St Seattle WA 98116 (my house in West Seattle and there is a bin under the mail box where you can leave envelops.)
  • You may hand deliver your entry to 1515 Central Ave S Kent WA 98032 (I work at Family Dog Training Center M-F and there is a slot in the front door where you can leave envelops DO NOT interrupt classes)

I am swamped with the Seattle Kennel Club show this week but feel free to send me an email to confirm I have gotten your entry. I will reply as soon as I can.

I had a big issue with Office 365 and my web server earlier so I am very gun shy. In a great example of God’s sense of humor– my non-tech equipment is missing too. My cat, Ninja Phil, has hidden my trusty plastic AKC letter opener that I use to open every paper entry. Eventually, whatever he steals shows back up but SERIOUSLY!!

Don't be slow or you'll miss the Boston's All Breed Agility trial at Argus this EASTER Weekend
Don’t be slow or you’ll miss the Boston’s All Breed Agility trial at Argus this EASTER Weekend