Agility has come along way since its inception in Britain 35 years ago. Long gone are the days of cross walks and window jumps, and so are the days of being able to handle weaves from heelside only! Speeds are faster, turns are tighter, running contacts are not something that “can’t be done”. So it is only a natural progression that courses would become more technical and challenging, and since agility started on the other side of the pond, it makes since the trends of course design and handling maneuvers would begin over there as well.
I for one, enjoy the new handling challenges and increased technicality in courses. I like training for the new patterns and maneuvers. I like to push myself to try to be as smooth and efficient as possible with my partner and I love that we can communicate such detailed information to our dogs and they understand what we want from them. I also happen to be a pretty competitive person, and because of my competitive nature, I like to see just how good we can be. I have participated in FCI World Team tryouts 3 times with my Golden, Cheetah we were members of the 2010 US Team that competed at the European Open, in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Recently, I have heard some talk of an Excellent C class in AKC that plans to have a more “international flair”. USDAA has a Masters Challenge class were these types of courses already here! I know that not everyone likes or wants this type of course, but they should be at least optional titling courses, so that the people who want to participate in them can have a place to compete in them. I felt somewhat prepared for tryouts and EO, but that was basically from looking up courses and setting them up in my backyard and practicing them by myself…while people who are aspiring to be on world teams certainly must do this type of practice on there own, it would be nice to be able to compete on courses like that before going to tryouts or campaigning to make the team.
When I teach my students handling skills, I regularly put in backsides, Ketschkers, and threadles. Sometimes they ask me why they will need to learn these types of maneuvers…that they are not going to see it on a regular course. I think the time is coming soon that they WILL be seeing the need for these skills on a “regular” course…I say bring it!
For more articles on this topic go to… http://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/internationalization/