I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Agility is still a young and growing sport. Many different organizations hold trials and offer various Agility titles, and each comes with its own set of rules. These rules morph over the years, usually improving on the safety or the challenge level of the sport.
Starting July 1st, some new rules are going to be taking effect in AKC Agility. Since Philip and I have a couple weeks before our next trial, I thought it would be a good time to review these :)
The biggest news is, of course, the new Time 2 Beat Class. I've mentioned it now and again before, and I plan on making a detailed post about all the rules closer to date, but I'm very exciting for this new class. It's meant to run more like the tournaments in USDAA, and should be a fun new thing to strive for. This class comes with its own new titles when certain points are accumulated, but I'll explain all that when I make a separate post, I promise.
Second up is the removal of MACH point place multiplier. As you might remember from my quick tangent on MACH points before, the current system has a multiplier in place, such that any dog taking 1st place gets their points doubled, and 2nd place dogs get 1.5 times the number of points. Well, starting July 1st this will no longer be in effect, so the number of points earned will be equal to the number of seconds ahead of SCT, no matter what place the dog came in.
This is both good and bad. On the one hand, it's better for those people trying to get into the top 5 of their breed and go to the invitational events, since there won't be a bias for dogs that run in smaller classes and default to 1st or 2nd places due to sheer lack of competition. On the other hand though, those of us just shooting to put a MACH title onto our dogs won't have the luxury of getting a point boost when our dogs do run fast and beat others anymore.
Last, but not least, AKC has introduced a PACH title. This title is very similar to MACH, but it is for dogs running in the Preferred classes. Previously, preferred dogs could only get PAX (20 QQs, no points) as their highest title, but now they have new heights to strive for. To earn a PACH title, the dogs have to earn 750 points and 20 QQs (just like for MACH, but doing so in the preferred height). The very cool thing about this new title is that it is retroactive, meaning that any dogs who have completed the required number of points and double-Qs prior to this date will still get the title added to their name!
There aren't going to be any obstacle changes that I'm aware of, so I think this about covers it. Be on the lookout for a comprehensive T2B post sometime soon!