Author Topic: Possible VT solutions  (Read 6011 times)

BeckyAH

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #90 on: December 08, 2017, 04:49:56 PM »
Quote
I tend to be of the opinion that being highly concerned about other people's opinion of the validity of your titles or  organization choices is a personal problem - not a problem with the organization or for the organization to solve.

When an organization is trying to solve the problem of dwindling trial numbers and can't figure out why people are leaving NADAC, then this does become a problem for the organization to solve. If people won't do NADAC because they think the titles are a joke then that IS a problem for the organization. This is not about my feelings, it's about one of the reasons why NADAC numbers have dropped since the inception of the VT program.

Also, as a person operating a business and deriving at least a portion of my income from training others to do agility, it does matter if people think my titles are a joke because I am less likely to obtain their business. So this sort of thing directly affects me.

I don't think NADAC numbers have particularly dropped since the inception of the VT program.  I think NADAC numbers have dropped.   Correlation doesn't equal causation, and certainly I've seen no evidence of any direct correlation in those numbers.   Or even allusion to them outside people who don't like the program.    I also think it's been made clear that it is important to people running NADAC to keep the VT program, even if limited and in spite of additional work for them.  I assume there are reasons for that.

And you are absolutely right.  Every single person has the right to spend their money where they see fit, and to ensure that those places are working for them.   People are going to be unhappy no matter what happens with this change.  The options in that case are, ultimately, 'deal with it or find a better fit to give your money to'.   

In NADAC in particular, I see more complaining about those changes,  with the idea that things should be changed to better suit them individually, than I do ANYWHERE else in either dog sports or life.   I have no idea why it happens so much here, possibly because the people running it try so very hard to make sure to get input, or maybe it's just visibility of it.

But it frustrates the ever loving crap out of me when it happens - especially when it happens AFTER opportunity to present discussions and points of views, have input,  and a decision of any type is announced.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 04:53:17 PM by BeckyAH »

Foomin Z

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #91 on: December 08, 2017, 05:07:55 PM »
Re: Cost of judge/trials.  To keep things relatively impartial and fair there are also rules about how close to 'home' a judge can judge.  So a local person really isn't an option for saving money for clubs. 
How unusual for this judging-distance limit to exist. Locally to me, there are a number of judges for various organizations who rotate around to all the local sites for trials. Wouldn't it help smaller groupings of people if they could become NADAC judges and work local trials?

Amy McGovern

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #92 on: December 08, 2017, 05:36:56 PM »
I have a fun idea that will share the VT stories.  For those of us who VT regularly, explain all the ways in which a VT is more challenging for your dog than going to a show. 

1) We used to have to VT in a park.  That meant we were VT'ing with lots of kids and other dogs running around us (other dogs sometimes off leash).  One time a preschooler carrying a nerf gun ran right through our course while we were running.  And the squirrels... Lots and lots of squirrels.  I think this training is great for trials but it sure is a lot harder than the controlled conditions you get at shows. 

2) We used to VT in a friend's yard.  Her neighbor (other side of the fence) had a very loud dog who would bark at us nearly all the time.  Another distraction in that yard?  The wildlife (pack rats, tarantula, hawks, etc).  My dogs are hunters so they literally found the wildlife and pointed it out.  The tarantula was a surprise.  I'm still glad she didn't try to catch that one (she was just staring it down).  Not going to find those at every trial!

3) We now are renting land to VT.  Distractions?  Loose neighborhood dogs who come by, gophers (my dogs are big hunters so the obvious gopher holes are distractions to them that they are learning to ignore), snakes, traffic only a few feet away (the land is right next to a country road so it doesn't have much traffic but the traffic is fast), and in between runs: drones. 

I could probably make a longer list but I am looking forward to hearing other people's stories too.  I know the conditions are not pristine and easy.  And if we made a list of how it is harder for *us* as handlers?  Well, start with having to set entire courses by ourselves... There is a reason I only run tunnelers when I have help building the courses!  One can only lug so many tunnels and bags around!
Amy and the schnauzers

Lorrie Stelz

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #93 on: December 08, 2017, 05:47:50 PM »
I agree with both Lin and Karissa.  That increased VTs hurt trial numbers in the long run and that earning VTs at training sites where dogs are comfortable, is not the same as earning them in trials.  One short example... my dog Kaiden's contacts are 100% where we train and he has perfect start line stays. Add in trial excitement...well... and that becomes a training issue.  However, I do train often and try to improve these issues so we can be successful in a trial atmosphere.  A Q in a VT on a course with contacts for me is pretty much a given,  In a trial...well, maybe 70% success.  There is a difference with trial stress vs. VT stress.
And, although I said I think VTs should not be done away with, I'm saddened that people don't see the value in trials as much as before because of VT access. I'm trying to keep interest/numbers up at trials in our area because I'm afraid over time, we will lose them.  So, I think VTs should be limited for various reasons.  They should remain for those that have no access to trials.
Amy-- those you mentioned are frequent issues we all face when we trial outdoors in parks.  I've been to many outdoor trials.
 Mostly in Colorado, Iowa, and Missouri.  Some had army helicopters flying overhead often, the army guys shooting at their practice range nearby, kids playing ball nearby, traffic, sprinklers, one had a race going through not far from the rings, volleyball areas, BBQ wafting our way, of course weather changes.  How about Bears roaming through the park at night.  Yeah, that was interesting!  I could list a million distractions.  This is not limited to VT areas. I have been to probably 25 outdoor trials over the years.  They all have new challenges especially when they are in public parks, and they never deter me.  Only the inconvenience of weather and hauling twice as much stuff in my tiny car.  But, I still attend them.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 04:38:20 PM by Lorrie Stelz »
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Chris Nelson

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #94 on: December 08, 2017, 06:44:37 PM »
Here is my take.

Yes VT's are different then a trial environment.   There is no argument there, no valid one anyway.

Where I do disagree is that setting up a VT course will give anyone an advantage, if they are following the rules.

I would gladly set up a course anywhere in the country.    Give 10 handlers two hours to analyze the course.   And then let them run.   After watching thousands of runs and watching a LOT of vt runs live in person, I do not believe the Q rate would be any different between the two.

Until someone creates a device that lets us communicate with dogs, I believe that will always be the case.     

Now if someone sets up the course, and then spends two hours in a separate area practicing a wrap because there is one on the course, well that's different, and NOT in the spirit of VT.

So a better question would be how do we stop people from doing that, and negating the possible negative effects of the people who do it.

I think limiting the number of Q's is a good one.   Limiting it to 10 submissions per month, per dog will slow down anyone abusing the system a LOT.

Currently the most Regular Q's anyone has ever earned in a single month is 6 from VT.    You can do way better then that attending trials.   So just slowly down the accumulation of titles and making it where going to trials is more enticing is a nice option.

And then for the cheating.   Well we have a few things that we look for when watching videos that make us suspicious.   I'm NOT going to list those things here.    Sort of like reverse engineering something, I would hate to give away our secrets as it would then be easier for people to sneak around them.


Also it's worth mentioning that just because we are going to implement everything in January and keep the program going, that does NOT remove the fact it's under review.   If things don't improve by June then the program is highly likely to either be cancelled, or points separated from those earned at trials.    I have high hopes that the changes will improve the program by a large factor

David Tharle

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #95 on: December 08, 2017, 08:35:30 PM »
This whole mountain became a mole hill for me when Chris posted the stats for 2016; +-4887 runs that year. The way the rumour mill was running rampant, there were places doing VTs before & after breakfast, lunch & supper and twice as many on Sundays. Obviously that's not the case. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I usually find if someone's a weasel and getting away with something,  they don't just stop at one, two, three, four,........so if we look at those centres submitting 10 or more runs (ourselves included), that's only +- 4282 runs. Chris says there maybe a "problem"with 10%, so now we're down to +-429Qs out of roughly 98,000 that year (VTs make up roughly 5% of the annual total). So the runs which may be in question, are not even "point"5%!!  There "might" be "a tainted" NATCH out there from these, but I never seen a handler at a trial inform the judge when they actually missed something on a supposed clean run either. 

On the subject of making us look bad to other venues, this is just another in a very long list of nit picking that has gone on since long before VTS. Our chute was too short, our wall not high enough, we didn't have a chute, we have hoops, we don't let your dogs run in red socks.  If it isn't this, they use something else until they adopt it themselves.

Some great suggestions have been made and a vote's being taken to tweak the program, so lets let the office move on to do those positive announcements Chris spoke about at the end of the VT video.

Dave Tharle
Ardmore, AB
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 08:38:07 PM by David Tharle »
Dave Tharle
Ardmore, AB

Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #96 on: December 09, 2017, 05:18:48 AM »
I tend to be of the opinion that being highly concerned about other people's opinion of the validity of your titles or  organization choices is a personal problem - not a problem with the organization or for the organization to solve.   

I can't think of a single agility organization that I do not hear derided and mocked by people who don't like it.   Including 'Agility in the USA as a whole is a joke'.   So be it.  I know where I run, how I run, under what conditions I run and feel absolutely no need to demand that other people do the same so I can convince other people to be 'appropriately' impressed by those titles.

I also think that, again, saying VT runs won't count for titles is going to alienate those people from coming to trials at all, accomplish nothing but soothing some wounded pride in a minority of trial competitors, and generally do nothing to address the issues that this reform is meant to address.   That's opinion.  what's going to happen is going to happen.  Some people are going to be unhappy no matter what.   It's just the nature of the beast.

Well said.  And whether the VT program exists or not, I don't think it will affect the way people think of Nadac. Anyone that has anything derogatory to say, let them try a Nadac course and see how they do.

And as for eliminating VT runs so that more people come to trials, there is no guarantee if you eliminate it, more people will go to trials. It could be that they never would have attended trials in the first place. There could be other reasons why they're not attending trials. And finally, looking at the numbers Chris posted, there was only 26 VT Qs submitted in an entire year in my area. I realize that that doesn't include other runs people may not have run in and gotten a q, but even if you multiply that by four times, it is not a figure that would make or break local trials over a year.
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Sharon Nelson

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #97 on: December 09, 2017, 03:50:45 PM »

If the reason to dispose of the VT program is because it is too much work and not cost effective for NADAC, then you either have to make that decision based on business reasons or solicit reasons that might assist with that problem.


If NADAC needs help, Becky and I would be more than willing to do the VTs.  We don't travel and are almost always available.  It could help us make the house payment here if NADAC needs help!  We have helped in the past, we have experience, and it could help all of us!

Sharon
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Lin Battaglia

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #98 on: December 10, 2017, 08:52:16 AM »
Sharon this sounds like a good solution and helps everyone. Freeing up time for both Amanda and Chris for their already big job of running NADAC while traveling too. Not only did you start NADAC but you started the VTs so you have the knowledge to judge those VTs. Changes need to be made and policing of VTs does have to be accurate and stepped up. I have no doubt you and Becky can do that.

dogrsqr

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #99 on: December 10, 2017, 01:28:38 PM »
Some people are assuming that VT runs are taking place at training centers where dogs are taking class and they are therefore comfortable there.  That may be true in some cases but not all.  Even if it is the case how is that any different than those that only trial at the same place at regular trials?

VT runs don't take any runs from our trials.  People here are using them to supplement the classes that are harder for them or that aren't offered much.

I really don't understand how someone getting a title thru VT runs makes anybody else's title a joke.  Even if you believe that, if you get yours at regular trials isn't that different than how the other got theirs?

Quite frankly I don't care what anyone else says anyway.  I really don't understand why people feel the need to judge what brings others happiness. 

I am glad that NADAC has time/distance restrictions on judges.  I would find it boring to show under the same judge all the time.

Gina
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Becky Woodruff

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #100 on: December 10, 2017, 03:38:45 PM »
Well said Gina.  There are many facilities where people trial weekend after weekend under the same conditions and on the same equipment.  One facility comes to mind because I have heard people say they only trial there because a.  it is fully enclosed and b.  there are so many trials there.   It seems some  who are outspoken on this topic have said, NADAC is not their primary venue & they have never done VT.  Why people have to judge or belittle someone who for whatever reason cannot or does not attend regular trials is beyond me.   
And for those who think you don't get the same performance (some may, some may not) on a VT run as you do in a "real" trial, because their dog does great in training but blows them off at a trial, try pointing a camera at yourself and getting that same "training behavior"....
Becky

Some people are assuming that VT runs are taking place at training centers where dogs are taking class and they are therefore comfortable there.  That may be true in some cases but not all.  Even if it is the case how is that any different than those that only trial at the same place at regular trials?

VT runs don't take any runs from our trials.  People here are using them to supplement the classes that are harder for them or that aren't offered much.

I really don't understand how someone getting a title thru VT runs makes anybody else's title a joke.  Even if you believe that, if you get yours at regular trials isn't that different than how the other got theirs?

Quite frankly I don't care what anyone else says anyway.  I really don't understand why people feel the need to judge what brings others happiness. 

I am glad that NADAC has time/distance restrictions on judges.  I would find it boring to show under the same judge all the time.

Gina
Becky Woodruff

Chris on Mushtown Road

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #101 on: December 10, 2017, 06:07:36 PM »
Some people are assuming that VT runs are taking place at training centers where dogs are taking class and they are therefore comfortable there.  That may be true in some cases but not all.  Even if it is the case how is that any different than those that only trial at the same place at regular trials?

VT runs don't take any runs from our trials.  People here are using them to supplement the classes that are harder for them or that aren't offered much.

I really don't understand how someone getting a title thru VT runs makes anybody else's title a joke.  Even if you believe that, if you get yours at regular trials isn't that different than how the other got theirs?

Quite frankly I don't care what anyone else says anyway.  I really don't understand why people feel the need to judge what brings others happiness. 

I am glad that NADAC has time/distance restrictions on judges.  I would find it boring to show under the same judge all the time.

Gina

As a local host, I can vouch for the fact that EVERYONE who has EVER done VT on Mushtown Road has been at the local, and not so local trials. We don't do the VT days  often enough that a person could possibly replace trial runs. We do them for the opportunity to train after a VT attempt (NOT BEFORE) and get feedback on handling for the future. A Q is a nice touch and sure, it  means people will show up here. My own VT-Q rate is likely worse because I have been building courses (although my crew is wonderful at helping change courses!) and because my dog is so amped up to have company on "his field" that I sometimes don't even run. in 2017 I think we had a whopping 43 runs here. Not going to affect attendance at our trials. And if I thought it would, I'd cancel in a heartbeat.


« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 06:29:23 AM by Chris on Mushtown Road »
Chris in MN
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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #102 on: December 12, 2017, 09:20:41 AM »
Quote
I tend to be of the opinion that being highly concerned about other people's opinion of the validity of your titles or  organization choices is a personal problem - not a problem with the organization or for the organization to solve.

When an organization is trying to solve the problem of dwindling trial numbers and can't figure out why people are leaving NADAC, then this does become a problem for the organization to solve. If people won't do NADAC because they think the titles are a joke then that IS a problem for the organization. This is not about my feelings, it's about one of the reasons why NADAC numbers have dropped since the inception of the VT program.

Also, as a person operating a business and deriving at least a portion of my income from training others to do agility, it does matter if people think my titles are a joke because I am less likely to obtain their business. So this sort of thing directly affects me.

Karissa

Trainers around here have always said NADAC was a joke.  This was going on LOOOOONG before VT trials.  When I first started in 2009, I went to a run through at a local place that trained for AKC.  The person running it told me that she won't do the "crazy distance" that is needed for NADAC.  Another trainer, who happens to be a friend of mine, said that she won't do NADAC because she does USDAA and she doesn't want her dog to work that far away from her.  Another VERY well known trainer, kicked my friends out of her class because they used "go on" and she thought of that as a NADAC phrase and knew they were doing NADAC.
So, it isn't the VT program that people don't like, it is NADAC in general and the VT program gives them something to poke at.  They can point to the VT runs as a reason NOT to do NADAC, while the reality is, that they don't know how to TRAIN to be successful in NADAC.  They don't know how to train the dog for distance and they don't know how to train for independent obstacle performance.  And if they can't be successful in an organization, then they can't get students to train with them.  If they don't have students, they are out of business.  SOOOO, if they are successful in AKC or USDAA, then they can brag about their titles and get students. 

I am currently training with Calypso at an AKC place.  I go there because it is convenient, but is the trainer really able to train me?  Nope.  She can give me some pointers on wraps or backsides, but Calypso runs at a distance from me and she has no clue how to help me with that.   If I had another option would I go to her?  Nope because she can't possibly train me as I need to be trained.  If I didn't know about NADAC at the time that I started with her, would she encourage me to run it?  Nope, because she can't run it, so she doesn't train it, thus doesn't encourage others to run it.  Heck, she didn't even know what a NADAC course looked like until I gave her some course maps. 
Audri, Lily, Cee Cee and Toto, Calypso

Becky Woodruff

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #103 on: December 12, 2017, 03:11:40 PM »
Thank you Audri.

I believe therein lies one of the problems with declining entries (there are other reasons as have been brought up).  Many trainers don't know how to train for NADAC or have never stepped into a NADAC ring, yet they freely bash and bad mouth the organization, which does hurt the new people coming into the sport or those who are "kicked out of class" because they cross venue or want to try NADAC.   Face it, weekly classes are places where folks meet other dog people and develop friendships.  They don't want to be kicked out into the unknown...
I'm certainly NOT talking about trainers who are open to teaching cross venue skills and who have and do step into the NADAC arena.

Becky
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KarissaKS

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Re: Possible VT solutions
« Reply #104 on: December 12, 2017, 05:08:36 PM »
Frankly, the posts that say, "You don't even do VT so your opinion doesn't matter" don't do much to retain those of us who do currently support NADAC while competing in multiple organizations.

Also, as a trainer, I can't force my students to train for distance. I regularly share videos that show me working my dogs at a distance AND doing "international" skills. Quite honestly, the distance videos seem to get more interest and comments -- but I don't have one single person who has come to me and said, "Can you teach me to do that?" After my first batch of students went to their first NADAC trial, where they were exposed to Chances for the first time, I was asked to have a distance-specific class. I put it on the next schedule. Do you know how many people signed up? ONE. She admitted that she felt what she learned over those 6 weeks helped her in all of the courses we run, but after doing one NADAC trial and one AKC trial she said she thinks she'd rather do AKC. Why? Not sure, you'd have to ask her.

There are many reasons people don't do NADAC. Maybe you should ask them. Meanwhile maybe you should stop driving away the people who do include NADAC trials in their multi-venue pursuits.
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