Since Agility is a relatively new sport, the rules under the different organizations are constantly changing. This year AKC has introduced several changed starting on September 1st, and one of the biggest ones affects the Pause Table performance.
As you might remember from my original Pause Table post, AKC's rules were requiring the dog to either sit or lay down on the table for 5 seconds in order to perform the obstacle correctly.
This has been an issue for many dogs and handlers, so the complaining finally got through. Starting September 1st, the dogs are no longer required to perform any particular action on the table, but rather just stay on it for 5 seconds. The dogs may stand, sit, lay down, or balance on their hind legs - so long as they stay on top on the table, the count continues.
This new rule gets rid of any time loss when dogs would break their position, but getting off the table before the 5 seconds is up will still count as a fault, and require the dog to get back on it and the count to be restarted before continuing on. I think it's a good change overall. The one bad thing I can see coming from the new rule is that the impatient dogs will be tempted to break the count early if they are allow to stand "on guard".
Judging on what I heard from the people attending trials last weekend, everyone is very happy with the change so far - things are moving along faster, and many dogs are really benefiting from this. You have no idea how often I've seen a dog get up on the table and sit when it's supposed to lay down or vice versa, with the poor handler practically doing cartwheels around it, but no more of that!
I'll be attending a trial this weekend, so it'll be interesting to see this new rule in place first-hand. It probably won't have much of an effect for Philip though, since he's always been very good with sitting or laying down on the table. Since we also compete in USDAA, which always asks for a down, I'll continue making him lay down in AKC as well.