Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slaying the beast

I hear it on good authority that there is a good chance that the AKC will pass a new ruling that will allow the A frame to be set at 5' for the 8" and 4" jump heights.

This would be a prayer answered for many little dogs.

There are issues, of course, and no change comes without challenges. Or, worthy opponents. But this one, bottom line, is a good and decent change.

The A frame, as it is set today, is a grossly outsized challenge for toy breed dogs. Even if they are able to successfully make the climb, they are still faced with the repetitive stress of the descent (at best), and the potential for hurt or injury from the inevitable slips that can send a dog hurtling to the bottom.

You might note that this "downside risk" is present for all dogs, and you would be right.

That's why it possible that the lowering of the A frame height should trigger additional discussion on how we should think about the A frame for all dogs. For example:

  • Should the A frame be dropped for all jump heights?
  • Or dropped for all preferred?
  • Would rubberized slats and surfacing be a better solution for all?
The best thing is, any changes along these lines would have the safety of dogs as the primary driver.

We invest so much of ourselves into the training of our good dogs. And, as has been said so many times, by so many great judges in the ring, our dogs did not sign on for this job.

As such, it is up to us to make whatever decisions are necessary to keep them safe and to extend their ability to have long, productive lives and careers.

After all, if the tables were turned, wouldn't they do that for us?

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