Calera Oklahoma was friggin’ cold, and wet, and windy. I did six days of NADAC judging clinic… three mixed classroom/ practical and three practicing judging under NADAC rules for a Fun Raiser trial. I’ve learned heaps and have a lot of notes to sort through.
I’m happy to be home. I left early on Thanksgiving day and now it’s well into December. I especially regret that I didn’t get the haircut I needed about a week before I started the trip. Did I mention that Calera was windy?
Never have I maintained much of a bias for or against any agility venue. You know, it’s all rock ‘n roll to me. With that in mind I find NADAC to be pragmatic and forward-thinking and probably apart from any venue subscribing to the so-called “international standard” for the sport. I say “apart” and intend not to mince words here. This is not the same game as played in the USDAA, TDAA, or AKC. NADAC is founded on a thoughtful sensitivity for safety and fairness to the dog both in the design of courses and in the construction of equipment.
Course design is intuitive. And everything is about speed and flow. You know, the reason I even attended this clinic is because I’ve wanted from the beginning to make my boy Kory’s introduction to the sport of agility in NADAC. I want him to understand from the very beginning that agility is about working at full speed.
As to construction standards… if there is any one thing that has permanently switched in my brain is that contact obstacles should have a rubber surface; (yah, I reckon a NADAC person reading this would be wondering why I’ve been retarded on the point). To tell you the truth, Sharon Nelson did about a 15 minute demonstration on a full-height A-frame with a young pup who’d not been previously introduced to the obstacle. Here was a young dog wiggling around and moving with complete confidence and control on a surface that without the rubber would have had the dog scrabbling his toe-nails against a harder surface and feeling out of control. With the rubber surface the dog was completely nonplussed and in control.
In terms of distance training and handling and directional control of the dog NADAC players are far superior to players in any other venue in this country. I’m sorry, that sounds like quite a preposterous claim based as it is on a nearly insignificant statistical sampling. Given the amazing distance handling I saw this past weekend… I believe it right down to my bones.