Before we get going, I thought I'd clear up some of the commonly used vocabulary for anyone that isn't familiar with Agility.
When I'm referring to Philip getting a Q, that means he got a qualifying score in his run. Qualifying scores, or Qs, are gained in order to achieve various titles. For example, in AKC a dog has to get 3 Qs in Novice in order to move up to Open. Similarly, an NQ means a non-qualifying run.
Classes are different types of course set up. I'll explain particular ones below, but the thing to remember is that they are (for the most part) separate from each other. A dog could easily be advancing to Excellent in one class, and still be in Novice in another.
Levels are meant to separate dogs based on their experience. Most organizations have 3 separate levels equivalent to beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each dog starts out in beginner level classes and moves up as it gets enough Qs. In AKC the levels are called Novice, Open, and Excellent. In USDAA they are Starters, Advanced, and Masters. I'm not familiar with other organizations, but the labeling should be similar.
AKC offers 3 different classes - STD, JWW, and FAST.
STD is a standard course, in which all the regular obstacles are used.
JWW stands for jumpers with weaves, and the course consists strictly of jumps, tunnels, and weave poles.
FAST stands for fifteen and send time, it's a newer class and consists of 15 point-valued obstacles to be completed in whatever order in a given time. However, a certain combination of these needs to be completed in order and at a distance, it's called the send bonus and gives extra bonus points towards the total score.
USDAA offers 5 different classes - Standard, Jumpers, Gambler, Snooker, and Team Relay. They also have several different tournament matches, but I'm not familiar with those.
Standard is similar to AKC's STD, and is just a normal course with all the regular obstacles.
Jumpers is similar to AKC's JWW, but without the weaves, i.e. just jumps and tunnels.
Gambler is similar to AKC's FAST, but with a few differences. The distance work portion is called a gamble here, and it must be completed at the end. The time is limited for both - the point gathering and the gamble.
Snooker is another point gathering game, but here you are presented with 3 red jumps and a series of 7 point-valued obstacles. The dog has to take a red jump successfully, followed by one of those 7 point obstacles. Then another red and point obstacle, then another. Finally the dog has to run the 7 point obstacles in order.
Team Relay is just like Standard, except that more than one dog competes. The most common relay competition is Pairs Relay, i.e. two dogs on course. The course is split in half with one dog running first half and the other second.
Whew, I think this will do for now, but let me know if there is any other terminology you'd like me to clear up. Some of the classes are hard to explain with just a few sentences, so I could go into more detail about them later if there is interest.