Thursday, August 01, 2013

Not Sure What Those Folks Over at USDAA are Smoking

It's taken USDAA a billion and one years to evaluate and make changes to their aggressive jump height designations and their final solution is a baffling one at best.  If you're a big dog over 21", still sucks to be you, you're jumping a whopping 5" over your shoulder height.  If you're a small dog still sucks to be you, no 8" class was was added.  They did add 2 more jump heights though because apparently the day isn't long enough and maybe they're taking kick backs from chiropractors.

If your dog is 10" - 17 1/2", lucky you, the most you jump over your shoulder height is 2".  However go over 17 1/2" and now you're jumping a whopping 4 1/2" over your shoulder height.  And again, the 21"ers are still jumping 5" over their shoulder height.  Clearly no one at USDAA is aware of the concept of height to weight ratios, how they effect the impact on the dog when he lands and how they go up exponentially with the size of the dog.  If anything it's the big dogs that should be getting the break!  This is why NADAC eliminated the 24" class and while I don't agree with that decision at least they're aware of and acknowledge the extra challenge the majority of big dogs face.

Also having jump heights at 2" increments for 4 jump heights waters down the competition.   In this area the 12" and 16" classes are already tiny.  I checked 2 recent trials with entries on the large side and there were 2-3 dogs in the 12" class and 5 dogs in the 16" class for Masters Standard and 1 dog in 12", 5 dogs in 16" for Grand Prix.  So now those 6-8 dogs are spread between 3 jump heights.  Great for getting GP byes but not so great for the backs of the jump setters and the length of the day.

And speaking of the length of the day, the most baffling change of all is the addition of the table to  Gamblers and 'other' classes, whatever that means.  While most people were hoping at least for a positionless table and some were dreaming large for the elimination of the table, USDAA has gone the opposite way and added the table to an already long class.  The one bit of good news is that I think addition of the table to Gamblers, and the 'other' classes, is optional.  And what judge in their right mind would add a hugely unpopular obstacle that adds a whole bunch of time and hassle to the class?  I don't think that judge would get invited back by very many clubs, that's for sure.  And who is going to waste 5 full seconds on the table in Gamblers, even if you have a good fast table?  This is good for people who want to train the table, ie if the dog has table issues you can get the dog on the table then take him out of the ring to reward.  It's also good for loitering before the gamble if you end up with a few extra seconds before the horn blows.

But seriously, what are they smoking over there at USDAA?  Why are they so clueless about how to run a business?  Give your customers what they want, duh.  Marketing 101.  And how did they manage to take so many zillions of years to 'study' their jump heights and come up with such a bizarre solution that seems to cause more problems that it solves?  Especially when the solution is easy and obvious - match the heights that AKC/DOCNA, etc. use.  Nobody needs a 'study' and a bunch of colorful graphs that are impossible to read to tell you that.  We don't care about stupid graphs or quaint, arbitrary notions about 'dogs shouldn't jump under their shoulder height', we care about what we see with our dogs week in and week out.  Dogs either jump 2" over or 2" under their shoulder height, easy peasy.  Or if you're going to have jump heights at 2" increments then have them for everybody.  And make sure you give coupons for the chiropractor away with those worker coupons for the jump setters.


  1. Could not agree with you more. I love the course challenges in USDAA, but they are truly a bunch of morons. And that's being polite.

  2. I know, I love the course challenges too but that's about all I love. I think they've actually managed to piss off more people than if they'd done nothing at all. Aside from the 16" and 12" cusp dogs I'm not sure who if anybody benefits from these changes.

  3. I guess also the older 21" dogs in Performance benefit because now they can do 20". But it also means 20" is the highest you can go in Performance which is probably problematic for the younger dogs jumping 24" in other venues.

  4. The whole table thing was a complete mystery to me, too. From completely out in left field.

    I, also, will be surprised if we end up with anything other than smaller 12, 14, and 16" classes. Which, as you said, already so small-- But if it breaks up the mongo 22" class into two heights, maybe that's good for top ten placements. Not clear whether it actually changes super-Qs--I read all the changes and rules but now it's foggy already. I'll look it up again when we actually have the changes, since working score table I'll kinda need to know.

  5. I realized after the fact that they're combining some of the heights for scoring so I don't think there are now more super Q's, GP byes, etc. And it's going to be super confusing for both competitors and the score table.