We’re holding an agility trial!

Eastern Herding Dog Rescue has started a USDAA agility club – To the ResQ! The purpose of this club is twofold: one – to fundraise for our rescue and two – to promote agility in dogs – rescue or otherwise!

We will be holding an intro trial on May 31st in Charles City County, Va. You can find the premium here.

Here is a “how-to” on everything you need to know!

Entering the To the ResQ USDAA Intro trial:

troy1Congratulations on starting your first trial! Hopefully this is the first of many. Some things to think about when you are entering your first trial:

Are you ready? Is your dog ready? Does your dog know all the obstacles? Can your dog be off leash under your control?

If the answers to these are yes, and you feel confidant, go ahead and sign up! This event is a great way to see where you are in training or to practice if you have been competing for a while. If you have never competed in USDAA, you will need to register, but that can be done with the premium (check the last page).

Next, think about what are your goals for this trial. It’s easy to say “get a Q!” but let’s be realistic. If this is the first time your dog has ever done agility outside of your training location (or maybe outside at all), focus on the little stuff! Look for “personal Qs.” Those could be keeping a start-line stay, staying with you the whole course, or just keeping it fun. After all, we are doing this to have fun!

Filling out your premium:
mistymountain10The classes that are being held are Standard, Jumpers and Gamblers. Standard is a numbered course that includes all contact obstacles (teeter, dogwalk, A-frame and table), 12 weave polls, jumps, tunnels, tire, etc. Jumpers is a numbered course that includes only jumps and tunnels. Gamblers is a “game” that lets you more or less pick your course. It is divided in an “opening” and “joker.” In the opening, you may take any obstacle in any order (the judge may have some restrictions the day of so listen up) for a certain amount of points. When the buzzer goes off, you must complete the “joker.” The “joker” is a sequence of obstacles (probably 3 or 4) that must be taken in a certain order. Here’s the kicker – there will be a bright piece of tape that you cannot cross. So your dog must complete these away from you in the allotted time. The judge will explain all the rules the day of.

Think about what obstacles your dog knows. If they do not know contacts or weaves, do not enter standard or gamblers. If they know contacts but no weaves, gamblers is probably ok.

Jump height: Check this chart for what height to sign them up for. This will tell you the minimum height – you can always pick any height higher.

jump height

If your dog has never competed in USDAA or has competed but has never gotten a title, you can check the box under class. If your dog has ANY title in USDAA, check the box under FEO (for exhibition only).

If you want to enter the “Fun Run,” please bring 5$ cash or check made out to Eastern Herding Dog Rescue to the trial.

The day before the trial:

Zen1Go ahead and pack up everything you will need before so you aren’t stressing the day of. Things you will need: your dog – although maybe you should wait till the day of to pack him up :), leash, treats (whether toy or food), sunscreen, chairs, water and water bowl, crate, tarp or blanket to put under the crate, sunshade for your car, battery powered fans, directions to the site, height card – if you have one, and food/water for you (please bring a dish to share at our potluck!).

The morning of:

In USDAA, dogs are NOT allowed to wear a collar – any collar – even a Seresto (you will be eliminated – trust me – been there, done that). I would get a slip lead and remove the collar. Pack up the car and head on out. I would recommend getting to the site at 8:30-9 so you have plenty of time to get your dog measured, set up your crate, figure out where to go etc.

When you get to the trial:

solo1Set up your crating – this can be in your car (make sure you have sunshades, fans, etc. because it will probably be HOT) or outside the ring. Think about your dog. If he stresses/barks in the crate – please don’t crate right outside the ring 🙂

Sign in – look for the sign in table. Most likely someone will tell you to get measured before they will sign you in. There will be a judge and a measuring table nearby. Also, grab course maps.

Get your dog measured. If you don’t have a permanent measuring card (if you don’t know if you have one, you don’t :)), you will need to get measured. This will be done by the judge. Bring plenty of treats because you need them to hold still. The judge will confirm your jump height.

When the trial starts:

aframeThe courses will run Gamblers, then Standard then Jumpers and then the fun run. Make sure to keep an eye out for which course is running when. When a course is being built, make sure to check in right outside the ring – on a list on an easel. The judge will call a briefing, go over any rules and give you 8 minutes to walk the course.

Before your run, there will be a practice jump outside the ring. You can use this to practice with your dog. Make sure you warm up your dog and get him to stretch. You wouldn’t go for a run without warming up – so neither should your dog!

Keep an eye on the run order so you don’t miss your turn. The gate steward will keeping the dogs moving. Make sure you come in with your dog on leash and leave with them on leash (this isn’t a rule for USDAA but it’s a good thing to do). No treats in the ring! Also, don’t crowd the other dogs – not all dogs like other dogs in their face!

The fun run will take place at the end – 5 dollars a run. Here there are no rules 🙂 Baby dog? We can put the jumps on the ground. Treats – ok! Toys – ok! Make up your own course – sure!


When you hear the phrase “run clean,” it means running a course without faults.

ajax1Standard faults include knocking a bar, missing a contact, flying off the teeter, leaving the table early and wrong course (there are more, but these are most common). These will all cause you to NQ (not qualify), you may still, however, place. Refusals (going around obstacles or missed weave entries) are not faulted in intro.

You may be eliminated if you fail to complete the course, your dog eliminates in the ring, your dog wears a collar, not completing the “joker” (in gamblers) or if you train in the ring (again, there are more, but these are most common). The difference between NQing with a standard fault and being eliminated is that being eliminated means you cannot place (ie no ribbon). The result is still an NQ.

When you are not running:

Help out! We will need tons of help. There is no better way to learn all the rules, than volunteering. Even if you have never been to a trial, we will need help setting bars, fluffing chutes, moving leashes, etc. Someone will teach you how to help if you don’t know.

After your run:

jenga1Check the results book. If you Qd grab a ribbon! If you placed, grab a ribbon! Make sure to take pictures and send them to us! If you didn’t Q, it’s ok! There will (hopefully) be many more opportunities to run. Remember the personal Qs!

When you are done, stick around if you can to help us pack up. We would love it!




Hopefully this answers most of your questions. If not, I (Sarah) or any other club member can answer any question you may have or someone can help you at the trial. We were all at our first trial at one time. We want you to come back to future events!

2 thoughts on “We’re holding an agility trial!

    1. easternhdr says:

      The trial will take place outdoors on grass. There is contractor fencing around the ring and full fencing around the ring and crating area. There will be little shade, but some tents will be provided.


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