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Old 03-06-2013, 11:27 AM
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CaliTerp07 CaliTerp07 is offline
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Default Jump height question

Lucy is 16.25" tall. She's always jumped 16" in every venue (or we'll drop her to skilled/whatever the name is to make it 16"). She is now 8 or 9 years old (our best guess).

This weekend for the first time, I entered her as a veteran, which drops her jump height to 12" in NADAC. Apparently I filled out the form though, and I signed her up as a skilled veteran, which double drops the jump height to 8". I emailed it to change it, and the trial coordinator (a top NADAC judge) recommended I keep it at 8.

I'm torn. The NADAC people recommend dropping the jump heights from the very beginning. They see no reason to ever jump dogs higher than necessary in an attempt to lengthen their careers. My trainer says Lucy is fine structurally, and doesn't believe careers are shortened from repetitive jumping, but from acute injuries. She says I can still jump her 16" if I want.

What are your thoughts? I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm on the verge of tears at the thought of cutting her jump height in half, but I don't know if that's pride, sadness that she's older, or that I feel like I'm "cheating" by dropping her when she doesn't show any strong reason to do it other than age.

What would you do? 8", 12", or 16"?
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:35 AM
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Shai Shai is offline
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A lot depends on her structure and jumping style. At least from what I've seen, twisting/sliding/slipping tends to cause far more injuries in agility than anything else. Without actually having seen how your dog moves/works, as long as she is healthy, moving comfortably, and you are taking the time to warm her up and cool her down properly before and after each run I really don't see a problem with any of those jump heights.

A lot of agility have very strong opinions that Their Way is the Only Way. Do what is right for you and your dog and give outside opinions as much weight as they deserve.

As for what I would do -- Webster is also a bit over his high measured regular jump height (he also jumps 16" and is taller than that at the shoulder). In his case, if he had to be moved down to 12" in order to safely before agility, I would not run him at all. His body is taking far more punishment from the A-Frame and weaves than from jumping under his shoulder height so if he can't handle 16" then in my opinion I have no business asking him to do the same course at 12". But that's me.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai View Post
A lot depends on her structure and jumping style. At least from what I've seen, twisting/sliding/slipping tends to cause far more injuries in agility than anything else. Without actually having seen how your dog moves/works, as long as she is healthy, moving comfortably, and you are taking the time to warm her up and cool her down properly before and after each run I really don't see a problem with any of those jump heights.

A lot of agility have very strong opinions that Their Way is the Only Way. Do what is right for you and your dog and give outside opinions as much weight as they deserve.
Thanks, that helps a lot. She shows a lot of self preservation (none of the crazy attempting to stop on a dime and sliding, or twisting in the air to land funny. She's generally a wide jumper).

And yes, your second paragraph is proving absolutely true. It's hard as a novice person who isn't confident yet in what is "best" (despite training for 4 years now!), but I have to believe that I know my dog better than a stranger does.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:00 PM
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Remmy is about 10 inches at the shoulder so since he is under 12" in AAC, he started out jumping 10". After a couple of years I put him in Specials which dropped the jump height to 6" and it also lowered the A-frame and took out the doubles and spreads. It was not so much the jump height as the A-frame that he was having trouble with at the trials.

I do want him to compete as long as possible so see nothing wrong in making it easier for him.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyllobernese View Post
Remmy is about 10 inches at the shoulder so since he is under 12" in AAC, he started out jumping 10". After a couple of years I put him in Specials which dropped the jump height to 6" and it also lowered the A-frame and took out the doubles and spreads. It was not so much the jump height as the A-frame that he was having trouble with at the trials.

I do want him to compete as long as possible so see nothing wrong in making it easier for him.
The NADAC a-frame is a fairly low height for all dogs (5' I believe), so that's not a huge concern for us. We also do running contacts, so she can adjust her takeoff a little bit to mitigate stress on joints. If we competed in USDAA where they have higher jump heights and a taller a-frame, ways to lower both would definitely be something I considered.

I haven't seen her showing any signs of jump refusals or avoidance behaviors towards any obstacles. She's still extremely fast--I just think she's getting older, so it seems logical to me that it's time to explore lower heights.

I'm a smidge worried that lowering jump heights will increase her speed that much more and make her even trickier to handle...guess we'll find out.

I emailed back the trial coordinator and signed up for 12". Sunday we're at a different trial jumping 16". It'll be interesting to compare the differences in her performance.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:03 AM
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It's so individual, as Shai said. Really depends on the dog. My Tess is 7 years old, and a Stafford, so built like a brick, and particularly front heavy. She has excellent structure, she's just a Stafford. Last year, a friend suggested that after Tess finishes her MACH, there's nothing more to prove by running her at 16", and I realized she was right. (Tess is 15 1/2", and has run 16" in all venues as long as she's been running, except when we've done International stuff, and she jumped 18")

So the MACH has been a little more delayed than I expected, due to a hiking injury, but my plan is pretty firm with her to move her to Preferred in AKC as soon as the MACH is finished. There, she'll jump 12". I don't know if it will extend her career at all, but it's easier for her, and adds new challenge for me (since she'll be faster), so why not?

I'm currently planning to keep her at 16" in USDAA, to see if I can finish any more titles there, since I don't think 16" is really that hard for her, and we do so little USDAA. But if going back and forth is hard, or if I really feel the 16" is too much for her, I'll move her down in that organization, too.

Her dam, btw, ran until she was sidelined by Cushings at 9 years old, and never moved down in AKC, our primary competition venue. I did move her down in USDAA, thinking I was about to move her down in AKC, and then she was doing so well in 16" in AKC, I just left her there.

I don't think I'd want to do 8". 12" feels like a reasonable concession to an aging dog, 8" is really just a speed bump for mine, not a jump; and I kind of think that if my dog can't jump at all, maybe it's time to retire.

But it really depends on how your dog is built, and how she jumps. Whatever height she's comfortable at, and feels "right" to you, is probably the best choice.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyinsbt View Post
I don't think I'd want to do 8". 12" feels like a reasonable concession to an aging dog, 8" is really just a speed bump for mine, not a jump; and I kind of think that if my dog can't jump at all, maybe it's time to retire.

But it really depends on how your dog is built, and how she jumps. Whatever height she's comfortable at, and feels "right" to you, is probably the best choice.
That's how I feel too. I think I have come to terms with 12". 8" is barely a jump though If she ever gets to where she can't jump, NADAC has jump-less, contact-less classes (tunnelers, hoopers) but I can't see making her do contacts if she can only do 8" jumps.

Thanks for the feedback
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:37 PM
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Update: Ran her at 12" yesterday and she was still bouncy bouncy happy and excited for they final run of the day (NADAC has 6, so it's a lot!). Today I ran her at 16" for 4 USDAA runs and she ran them all clean (although they mis-set the tire too high for our first run I think, so she avoided that).

Sooo...she can obviously do either. I think I liked her at 12" in NADAC though, and will keep her there going forward. NADAC lets you swap back and forth as desired, so I can always go back to 16 if I feel a need for some reason.
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