H (1)B Safety—Obstacles and equipment in the test area must not include unnecessary protrusions and where “wings” or side supports are part of an obstacle they must be appreciably higher than the part to be cleared by the dog
From 1-7-16 : H(1)(B)3. Obstacles a. Hurdle—The height of the hurdle must be 650mm (550mm) for Lower Height Option) for Large Dogs, 450mm (350mm) for Lower Height Option) for Medium Dogs and 350mm (250mm) for Lower Height Option) for Small Dogs. Width: 1.219m minimum. The top bar or plank must be easily displaced by the dog. A wall should have displaceable units on the top. The height of hurdles in special classes may be lower than those listed above, but the height must be included in the schedule.
So what does this mean?
A hurdle aka jump comprises a wing on each side which must be higher than the top bar or plank.
The hurdle can be topped with a bar ie pole or a plank. We have a plank which we do use occasionally in training so don’t be surprised if you see a plank in situ. Whichever it is must be easily dislodged – mind you, in windy conditions when jump wings have to be pegged (ie our show on Saturday) the poles are less likely to be knocked off though may blow off in the wind! If the pole comes off as a result of wind and not by you or your dog then you don’t get faulted. You must ensure your dog always jumps through the gap between the wings even if the pole has been blown off – failing to negotiate the obstacle even with no pole up, results in 5 faults. If the handler knocks the jump over (it does happen!) your dog still gets faulted!
Each hurdle has to be adjustable so that the top bar or plank can be moved up or down according to the size of the dog running so a dog that has been measured large the jump height has to be set at 650mm.
The jump height is measured from the ground to the top of the pole or plank.
If the pole or plank is displaced then that will result in a 5 fault penalty (Rule 5a(6) and (10). If the pole or plank moves but does not fall off then no faults arise.
Jumps are the most straightforward pieces of equipment to make or buy – they can be as simple as two poles stuck in the ground with a piece of tube going across; or a caveletti which is a single pole with a cross of wood on each end. (to come, links to equipment sites and plans).
When training it is not necessary always to train your dog at the height at which it competes. Dogs can get complacent and so it can be useful to have jumps at different heights and different spacing between jumps which makes the dog think about where it is putting its feet. A dog will naturally want to put at least one pace in between two jumps but if running at speed and if the space is not too great between obstacles then they can “bounce” ie jump over the first one and immediately take off and jump the second one. A dog that can achieve that is gaining time. It has to learn to do this however and that is why it is good to train dogs over different heights and with different spaces between jumps.
When walking a course, look beyond the jump as your dog would be looking. What will the dog see? For instance if the start is a jump followed by a tunnel, what is your dog going to be seeing? Will it see the jump or will it be looking past the jump straight at the tunnel? What angle is the jump set? Which way will your dog be going after the jump – will you need a directional command (whether voice, body or arm)? Is there something tempting the dog will see – such as the tunnel, or a piece of contact equipment whether or not you want them to go there. Think dog!
The lower height option:
This comes into effect on 1-7-2016 but is at the discretion of show organisers. Progression has been amended to permit progression at the lower heights save in Championship and KC Qualifier classes.
Please see linked Q & A produced by the Kennel Club click here.
VARIATIONS ON JUMPS:
SPREAD: (CALLED a rising spread jump) Rule H(1)(B).3.b
A maximum of 2 single jumps as in Item a-(Hurdle) placed together to form a double spread, there must be no more than 2 elements to this obstacle. The top bar on the first hurdle must be at least 150mm to 250mm lower than the second hurdle. The maximum spread to be: Large Dogs - 550mm, Medium Dogs - 400mm, Small Dogs - 300mm. There must be only one pole on the back hurdle. The feet of the side supports (wings) should not be interlocking but touching and must not be out of line by more than 76mm.
BRUSH FENCE: H(1)(B).3.c
Dimensions and details as for Item a—(Hurdle). This obstacle must have an easily displaceable top unit ie a pole. So effectively this is just a visual difference to the dog but may not be so different as a wall.
WALL: same as hurdle only with displaceable units on the top. (the lower jump heights will apply to this but in reality the logistics and costs of alteration may mean this will be even rarer). This is a solid obstacle and therefore very visually different to a jump.
WISHING WELL: H.(1)(B)1.h
This obstacle will be of stable construction and will be able to be fixed to the ground. To ensure the safety of the dog, it will have no sharp edges. Should a design be utilised which involves a removable centre section then the resultant corners must be rounded or padded. It will have a roof of which the bottom will be no less than Large Dogs - 1500mm, Medium Dogs - 1220mm, Small Dogs - 950mm from the ground. The roof must not project beyond the width or depth of the base. It will have a displaceable top bar the height of which will be: Large Dogs - 650mm, Medium Dogs - 450mm, Small Dogs - 350mm. The minimum space from the top of the bar to the top of the base will be Large Dogs - 160mm, Medium Dogs - 150mm, Small Dogs - 105mm. The overall width of the base will be between 900mm & 1400mm. The depth of the base which the dog jumps will be a maximum of Large Dogs - 550mm, Medium Dogs - 400mm, Small Dogs - 300mm.
Walls and wishing wells are uncommon but are to be found at Championship shows eg Kernow K9.
These obstacles are visually different to a dog and therefore need reinforcing by command so the dog knows it has to do something different.
If your dog “banks” a solid obstacle that will be 5 faults – it is sometimes very difficult to train your dog NOT to bank a solid obstacle.
Mrs Ann Hampshire
Dartmoor Dog Training Club
West Brushford Farm
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Guide to Surviving your first agility show:
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Minutes of Kennel Club Agility Liaison Council Meeting 17th January 2019 see here.