Instead of correcting the A-Frame height discrepancy for small dogs, USDAA opted to quietly change the description of the Performance Program.
Original wording: “The Performance program offers lower jumping heights for dogs, more generous time constraints on course, and a lower A-frame for all height classes.”
The discrepancy was that “all height classes” only applied to Performance dogs jumping 16″ and 22″ and not for dogs jumping 8″ and 12″. Small dogs had the same height A-Frame as they would have in the Championship Program. Many “small dog” people supported lowering the A-frame on USDAA Sounding Board but instead of fixing the discrepancy, USDAA changed the wording.
New wording: “The angle of the ramps beneath the apex determines the power of ascent and skill required to scale the ramp, as well as the impact on the ramp as the dog engages it. The angle for large dogs is 98° and the angle for small dogs is 104°. All dogs in the “Performance Program” use 104° angle of ascent and descent.”
How does one come to terms with USDAA allowing small Championship dogs to run over a lower A-frame than big Championship dogs.. yet not allowing small Performance dogs to run over a lower A-frame than big Performance dogs. Perhaps the forces of gravity and momentum “magically” change at 5’6″? Snark. Snark.
Example of Lil running over a 5′ A-Frame with minimal impact on her front end during the descent and dismount
I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing with the fact that gravity and momentum play greater roles on higher A-Frames. Heck, USDAA lowered the A-Frame from 6’3″ A-Frame to 5’10” for large dogs and 5’6″ for small dogs in their Championship Program and acknowledges “the impact on the ramp as the dog engages it” in the new wording regarding the A-Frame.
Although many people wrote emails to the president of USDAA supporting the lowering of the A-Frame for small Performance dogs, the president emailed me privately stating he saw no need to lower the A-frame for small dogs but if he saw evidence that higher A-Frames were detrimental, he would “of course” act on it.
Too bad A-Frame related injuries are not visible like gashes caused by metal jump cups. How would one go about showing evidence of increased “wear and tear” over higher A-Frames? Time lapsed X-rays? I suppose the very small 8″ class size in USDAA might be viewed as a form of “evidence” that people do not feel USDAA is an appropriate venue for small dogs. My dogs were often the only 8″ dogs at local USDAA trials.
Regardless, I’m sticking with my decision to only run Lil over 5′ A-frames, which I believe is in her long-term best interest.
On a related note, a fellow 8″ dog competitor started a petition which I am cross-posting below:
Greetings Small Dog Friends,
Please sign and share this petition as affirmative action to both play and keep
our dogs safer!
Blessings and thanks,
Diann and Tinkerbell