NALA and AGILITY LINK - What's it all about?

  • What is NALA? What is Agility Link
  • What do members get from belonging to NALA?
  • What competitions are offered?
  • Who provides the courses?
  • What is the scoring system?
  • How is the Dog of the Month (Improver of the Month) selected?
  • How are the Top Dogs selected?
  • How does the Club Competition work?
  • Does the judging differ from standard agility judging?
  • Why is there no Standard Course Time?
  • Is it true that dogs with faults can beat dogs that go clear?
  • What about using a handicap system to make it fairer?
  • Calendar ][ Agility Groups ][ Agility Link ][ Flygility Link ][ ]

    WHAT IS NALA? WHAT IS AGILITY LINK?

    NALA is the National Agility Link Association. It offers a competition covering 11 months of the year called the "Bosch Agility Link Novelty Correspondence Series" and a magazine called "AGILITY LINK" which is produced every month except January.

    WHAT DO MEMBERS GET FROM BELONGING TO NALA?

    Belonging to NALA is a positive way of supporting Agility in NZ. You belong to an organisation composed solely of Agility enthusiasts. The monthly courses are a relatively cheap way of introducing new people to the Agility competitive scene, help provide a focus for training (monthly courses) and provide an incentive to go to training - especially for the more experienced ones who might otherwise drift away from Club activities. The Club competition helps develop a feeling of Club identification

    NALA runs a library which gives its members the opportunity to borow books and videos on a wide range of agility and training related topics. Attractive badges are available, with free bronze, silver or gold bars awarded by Zone co-ordinators when dogs attain an agility qualifications (AD, ADX, Champion). NALA gives members the opportunity to design courses, judge them, and receive payment for their trouble! NALA organises seminars and visits by overseas experts including Tony Veal, UK, and Susan Garrett, USA. NALA gives its members the opportunity to participate in Flygility - The NALA Sport. There are prizes to the best 10% of dogs over the year as well as Club prizes in each division. Prizegetters receive generous ribbons and sponsors product. Dogs and Handlers participating in the monthly competition gain the opportunity to compete against others from all over the country without leaving their home turf!

    The Agility Link magazine provides an advertising forum - for equipment, accommodation, competitions etc. Agility Link provides a source of Agility information - e.g., training tips, equipment information, judging and stewarding information, and an exchange of ideas from all over NZ and Australia, as well as a vehicle for the expression of new ideas and individual opinions.

    NALA also hosts the NZ Agility Email List. The list provides discussion of New Zealand dog agility and related matters such as dog training problems, possible rule changes and new agility ideas.

    WHAT COMPETITIONS ARE OFFERED?

    There is an Agility course and a Flygility course printed each month in Agility Link. There are individual competitions and Club competitions offered in both sports. The emphasis is on participation with eight scores required before a yearly total can be given.

    WHO PROVIDES THE COURSES?

    Members are encouraged to submit courses for the Agility competition. Courses need to be to scale, in a ring measuring 30m x 40m, on A4 paper, in black ink. Courses can also be submitted using Clean Run Course Design Software. Three times a year the course is a Jumpers course.

    WHAT IS THE SCORING SYSTEM?

    When dogs run around the course they get a running time and faults, or a clear round, or they are eliminated. These scores go to the Results Recorder who enters them into the computer, and at the end of the month it spits out the results.

    The dog's time is added to the dog's faults and the sum is its SCORE for the month.
    e.g. Dog has a time of 52.00 seconds and 5 faults, it's SCORE is 52.00 + 5 = 57.00
    If the dog goes clear it receives a 5 second credit
    e.g. Dog goes 52.00 secs and clear. it's SCORE for the month is 52.00 - 5 = 47.00.
    If the dog gets eliminated, its SCORE for the month is "the placing of the last dog plus 10"
    e.g. If the last dog's ranking is 300, all eliminated dogs would get a SCORE for the month equal to 300 + 10 = 310.

    HOW IS THE DOG OF THE MONTH (IMPROVER of the MONTH) SELECTED?

    Dogs which are eliminated are not eligible for the IMPROVER of the month. The computer compares the SCORES for the month with the SCORES for the PREVIOUS month. e.g. In Month A the dog (X) was 300th. In month B it finished 2nd. The improvement was 298. The next best dog (Y) improved from 200th to 10th. (This improvement is 190). Dog X gets the DOG OF THE MONTH or IMPROVER award.

    HOW ARE THE TOP DOGS SELECTED?

    Any dog which competes in LESS than eight runs during the year cannot be considered as the rules require at least eight scores out of a possible eleven scores. All dogs which compete eight or more times are ranked according to the TOTAL of their BEST EIGHT scores. Obviously those dogs which ran eleven times (the highest possible runs per year) will have more chance of dropping their worst scores and achieving a higher placing.

    For the last two years the awards have gone to the top twenty dogs ranked this way.

    HOW DOES THE CLUB COMPETITION WORK?

    Every Club requires three members to complete a round before they can get a Club Score i.e. If only 3 dogs ran and one was eliminated there will be no Club score given. The Club Score is the SUM TOTAL of the three BEST rounds according to Agility Link rules (i.e. Time plus faults with credits for a Clear round). The Clubs are ranked, and the Club which finishes first gets a score of 1, second gets 2 and so on. At the end of the year the rankings are added together and the Club with the lowest score wins that Division.

    There are currently three Divisions in Agility Link. All new Clubs enter Division Three. Some of the larger Clubs divide their dogs into two or more teams, and they enter initially at this level too. There is a Promotion/Relegation system. The Division Three winner moves up to Division two, and the Club which finishes last in Division Two moves down to the third Division, etc.

    DOES THE JUDGING DIFFER FROM STANDARD AGILITY JUDGING?

    Judging is based on current NZKC Agility Regulations. However, any person who knows the Agility Link rules may judge Agility Link courses. Clubs may use two or more people to judge the monthly course, and those people are then permitted to run their own dogs. There are no faults for the weaves but they must be completed correctly. The crossover is judged as for Novice. Corner poles must be placed on the corners of the long jump.

    Care must be taken to ensure the course is set out as per the plan, with the distances between the obstacles measured with a metre wheel. The total Course Length must coincide exactly with that stated on the Course Plan.

    WHY IS THERE NO STANDARD COURSE TIME?

    The very first Agility Link magazine, June 1989, explained, "because of the complexity of maintaining an on-going points system for participating Clubs and competitors, the standard practice of having a SCT for a course will not apply. In this competition, to emphasise the prime importance of accuracy, and hence safety, when an individual competitor has NO COURSE FAULTS a five second bonus will be granted. "

    Over the years the results have changed from being manually recorded, to being input into a computer programme and the integrity and character of the competition has been maintained.

    IS IT TRUE THAT DOGS WITH FAULTS CAN BEAT DOGS THAT GO CLEAR?

    Yes it is true. If a dog goes around a course very fast and collects faults it may beat a dog that goes clear, but much slower. However if you check your monthly results sheets and you will find that on the whole the highest placed dogs go clear. And at the other end of the spectrum, in the monthly results sheets you may also find slower clear rounds within the last fifty dogs (excluding eliminated dogs).

    WHAT ABOUT USING A HANDICAP SYSTEM TO MAKE IT FAIRER?

    A Handicap system was introduced in the 1991/92 season. Dogs that finished in the first five of any month received the following handicaps: first = 5 secs, Second = 4 secs, third = 3 secs etc. It was introduced in "an endeavour to encourage all levels of Agility expertise to enjoy participating." In the Interclub competition the dog's handicap rankings were used. However the handicap system failed to work as anticipated and penalised the smaller Clubs. It was dispensed with in 1993 and a three tiered competition was introduced.

    Calendar ][ Agility Groups ][ Agility Link ][ Flygility Link ]


    Last modified 17 February 2005