A Little Bit About Agility
First it’s important to understand that there are several classes in agility: Standard (the one with all the equipment), Jumpers with Weaves aka JWW (jumps, weaves, and sometimes a tunnel or chute), Fifteen and Send Time aka FAST (equipment is worth different points and you have to get a certain amount of points in the alloted time, including a “send” where you have to handle the obstacle(s) from a certain distance), and Time To Beat aka T2B (a course with at least one repeating obstacle where the fastest dog gets the most points and depending on your time against that dog you get different points.)
We’ll start by explaining Standard and JWW. There are four levels:
Novice, Open, Excellent A, and Excellent B. To get through Novice, Open, and Excellent A you have to get three legs. Remember there are two categories — Standard and JWW. You can progress through at different levels, so you could be in Excellent A JWW and Novice Standard.
Once you get all 9 legs (3 in Novice, 3 in Open, 3 in Excellent) you progress to Master (formerly Excellent B.) Once in Master, you start earning MACH (Master Agility Champion) points. Points are earned for each second under standard course time (SCT) — you need 750 points for your MACH.
In addition to the points, you need 20 Double Q’s. This means you have to pass in both JWW & Standard (both Master classes) in the same day. Do this 20 times, plus earn your 750 points — and you have earned your MACH!
There is another reward along the journey to MACH to reward your persistence. Earn 10 qualifies in JWW or Standard and you can earn your respective Master title, ie Master Agility or Master Agility Jumpers with Weaves.
Here are the abbreviations:
NA – Novice Standard
NAJ – Novice Jumpers
OA – Open Standard
OAJ – Open Jumpers
AX – Excellent Standard
AXJ – Excellent Jumpers
MX – Master Agility
MXJ – Master Agility Jumpers
and MACH – Master Agility Champion
Now for the “extra” stuff…
FAST isn’t seen as often, but it still a fun game. You get to create your own course and each obstacle is assigned a different amount of points. In Novice, you need 50 points and to complete the “Send Bonus.” The Send Bonus is a series of obstacles that you have to handle from a defined distance. In Novice it is at least 5 feet. The you have to get out of the ring in a set amount of time. It’s a fun game of math, agility, and time management! The abbreviations are:
NF – Novice FAST
OF – Open FAST
XF – Excellent FAST
In T2B, the judge doesn’t wheel for SCT, instead there is predetermined time for your height group. Let’s say it is 50 seconds. This means that to qualify you have to run clean and finish in less than 50 seconds.
There is also a Master Course Time that is set by the fastest dog in your height class. Let’s say the fastest dog runs the course in 30 seconds. You get points based on your percentage to MCT. So if you finished in 34 seconds, you would be within 20% of MCT. You win points based on your percentage of MCT. Whichever dog sets MCT earns 10 points, then 10% gets 9, 20% gets 8, etc. So as long as you qualify under SCT, you will get 1 point and could earn up to 10.
To earn your T2B title you need 15 qualifies and 100 points. Easy enough, right?
Hope this very basic overview helped! For more info: http://www.akc.org/events/agility/