Teacup Dog Agility is Great Fun For Small Dogs

TDAA dog agilityAll sized dogs can compete in all other venues, AKC, USDAA, NADAC, CPE, UKC but only dogs under 17″ at the shoulders may compete in TDAA.  The jump heights in TDAA are 4″ – 16″ where the 12″ setting is for the Large Dog division and 16″ being for the Supers.  The reason for it’s inception is pretty self explanatory once you see the equipment they use and the length of the courses they run.  It is pint sized for the pint sized dogs without taking one once away from the difficulty of the course as far as handling.  It merely makes a course “fair” for the smaller dogs.  Remember that while the obstacles look cute and small, the course is also set small so they are running a course that is scaled down as well keeping the handler on their toes.

And don’t think that TDAA is a boring venue with only standard classes, it in fact is full of fun classes of which we will be looking at some of today.  Many of these games will be familiar with other venues, but most are only found in TDAA.  The list thus far includes 56 different games like Black Hole, Chutes and Ladders, Connect the Dots, Near and Far and Weakest which we will look at today.  They also have more common games such as FAST!, Touch N’ Go, Full House and Jumpers.

Black Hole starts on the table obstacle and ends at the finish line.  The team runs the course in numerical order accumulating points for each correctly performed obstacle.  The Black Holes are the pipe tunnels and are set as traps throughout the course.  If the dog goes into a pipe tunnel they are off course and scoring ends.  The handler must then direct their dog to the table to stop the time.

Chutes and Ladders starts at the start line and ends on the finish line.  The team runs a course comprised of contact obstacles and tunnels in numerical order.  There are variations to the scoring of the game.

Connect the Dots starts and finishes on the table and only becomes live once the dog is directed on it.  The object of the game is to collect points from dot to dot with the dots being the contact obstacles.  No points are required to collect the first dot, but are encouraged. Each obstacle including the dots can only be performed twice for points overall. Each obstacle between dots may be preformed only once for points. The dots need to have points in between in order for the dot to count.   If an obstacle is faulted all points gained from the previous dot forward are lost.  If a dot is faulted the team must repeat the dot in order to earn the accumulated points.  There is 50 seconds of play on the clock.

Near and Far is a distance challenge game and starts on the start line and ends at the finish line.  The team will perform a numbered course and at two specified places on the course the dog will be required to perform obstacles while the handler stays behind a containment line.  Only in level one can the handler cross the line and only receive a penalty, all other levels will result in a NQ.

Weakest Link is a game where the team has 60 seconds to accumulate points and bank them by performing the tire obstacle before those points will count toward the overall score.  Each obstacle has an allotted amount of points and each obstacle taken has to be the same or more points than the previous obstacle.  Each banked sequence must be different by at least one obstacle.  When the team banks a set of points they are safe and they start over collecting points.  When the 60 seconds is up only banked points will be counted.

So you can see there are some really great games to play in TDAA as well as standard classes so don’t be shy and give them a go the next time you compete at a TDAA trial, even if it is your first time.  Be sure to check out our full line of both practice and competition TDAA agility equipment at www.affordableagility.com  For more information on the different games you can visit the TDAA website Games Briefing page.


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Outdoors Fall Dog Agility Safety

outdoors dog agility safetyHunting season isn’t just in the fall and if you live in an area that allows hunting you need to keep that thought in the back of your mind.  For those who live in rural areas or visit areas that are frequented by hunters, hunting season can be at the least an inconvenience and at worst it can be a disaster.

So if you hike, bike or live in areas where hunting is permitted you need to know the seasons and be prepared for you and your dog’s safety as well as for an emergency.  No one is out to shot you or your dog, but a stray bullet, well, could put an end to your training.  Areas that are going to be the most dangerous are the highly wooded areas and areas of tall undergrowth.  The best defense in these places is to stay on well marked trails and try to avoid dawn and dusk hours where visibility will be poor.  You and your dog should also wear bright orange vests, collars and hat.  The more color the better.

While hiking don’t stalk around trying to be quiet as you may not only startle a hunter, you may startle his quarry and if the hunter doesn’t know you are there, you could be in the line of fire.  And during peak hunting seasons, keep your dog on a leash.  It may be less relaxing, but it could keep your dog from being mistaken for a deer or other quarry.  It can also keep your dog from bolting if a gun goes off nearby and keep them out of special finds left behind by hunters such as gut piles.

Always carry a cellphone in the off chance that there is an incident as well as a whistle in case you have poor cell phone coverage.  You can also put bells on your dog’s collar or vest.  Cowbells work well as they are easy to hear and not too annoying to walk with.  This will help protect your dog in case they escape so you will be able to find them easier and they will be giving a warning sound to hunters as well.

The best protection is to find somewhere else to get your exercise during peak hunting days and seasons.  It can be frustrating to have to give up your back forty exercise area, but it is only for a short time and really isn’t worth the risk if you live or exercise in an area that sees high hunter traffic.  No one, including the hunters, wants you or your dog being hit by a stray bullet or arrow.  You are both out doing what you love, we just have to learn how to keep each other safe.

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Food Gobblers & Dog Food Bolting

Om nom nom...

Om nom nom…

Everyone knows dogs love food where ever they can get it.  From the counter, from the kids at the table and even from the garbage cans.  And dogs do follow their ancestral wolves, dingos and coyotes in that their system is designed to take one and if lucky two big meals a day.  However, they are not designed to have a huge bowl of processed kibble that requires no work on their part to eat.  Because of this and other factors including competition, some dogs have developed the annoying and dangerous habit of bolting their food.

These ‘gobbling goblins’ are a danger to themselves by setting them up for bloat or choke and vomiting up their food and thus losing weight and suffering from poor nutrition.  If you are not home, bloat and choke can be life threatening to your dog and no one likes to come home to a pile of ABCD (already been chewed & digested) dog food in the hallway.

To help your wolfing dogs, there are many products from dishes with built in obstacles and ‘toys’ you fill and your dog has to push it around to get food to drop out.  Or there are timed dishes that will let out small amounts over a period of time so your dog can’t scarf it all down.  If you are at home you can also slow a dog down by scattering their food or use feeding time as training time and give them kibble for rewards.  Another idea from Debbie here in the office was to put the bowl on a cookie sheet so the whole bowl slides around and your speed-eating demon dog has to chase it around for their dinner.

If you have a dog that has these issues, the worst thing you can do is do nothing.  Having a dog or puppy that bolts it’s food can be a real challenge, but once you find a system that works, you and your dog can rest easy knowing they will stay healthy and well during dinner time.  This really is a situation where an ounce of prevention will be worth a pound of cure.

If you have a system that works for you and your dog we would love to hear it.  Please comment below so others can learn from your experience.

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