This morning we head up to Ottawa for the Canadian National Agility Championships. This would be the ninth year for this event. It is different than any other National Championship that I am aware of, not only in that consistency is crucial, but also the dog’s ability to do Gamblers is critical as well. You run in 6 classes in total; 2 jumpers, 2 standard & 2 gamblers classes. The winner is decided by point accumulation.
You get (I think) 75 points for a clear run in jumpers and 100 points in standard. If you have a fault your faults are taken off that score. So a bar down in standard would be 95 points. That makes it appear like a fast dog could win (making up that 5 second penalty) with less clean rounds. It is possible but not as easy to do as it appears as there are “bonus” points awarded for every second under standard course time you can run. In standard class that is usually about 20-25 extra points for my dogs. So if you have a bar in standard that really is a 30 point penalty or more depending upon how fast your dog can go. Most AAC National Champions these days have had 6 clean runs out of 6 classes. Possibly in the 10″ class that may be different but not so in the others.
The real kicker for me is the gamblers class. Canadians can gamble like it is nobody’s business. Adrian Royakkers for example, has been known to leave his dog at the start line in gamblers and go outside the ring to stand and direct his dog around the course (which of course, he wins).
As a nation Canadians are great at it, I think mostly because to qualify for the nationals you need 350 points at your regional championship so you don’t want to ignore the gamble class.
Another reason for this nation’s excellence at gamblers is the strict requirements that are put on the class. The dog must perform the gamble a minimum of 18′ away from their handler. Also there are 2 “mini” gambles put within the opening sequence of each gamblers class. Makes for great strategy.
In the early years of the AAC Championships I had a good run of winning. However, (as I mentioned in a previous post) my now past dogs (Shelby, Stoni & Twister) were great gamblers, in fact I rarely gave the gamblers class a second thought.
That is not the case now. With my young dogs I have focused more on understanding in positional cues for standard classes and quiet honestly I don’t practice a ton of gambling work. So my goals at these events have always mean to do well in Standard and Jumpers and let the chips fall where the may in Gamblers.
But I am a big believer in creating your own reality, so I am going to this nationals with a positive mind set for both girls in all classes! While I won’t lose sleep over the gamblers classes I have to admit my favourite class of all at the nationals is still the Steeplechase!
I know we are going to have a blast, lets just keep our fingers crossed that the weather behaves. Send us all of your positive vibes!
Today I am grateful to be heading to the nationals for the weekend. Big event, lots of friends to re-acquaint with and two awesome dogs to run. Life is good!