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CARTING / FLYBALL / DOG JUMPING / COMPANION DOG / TRACKING

CARTING

The below information is for club training & assessments, and may differ slightly from competitive Carting at a KUSA level

Carting is a sport with many practical applications. A misconception is that Carting is limited to large dogs, but this is definitely not the case. If you think your big or small dog needs a job, check out this sport!

The load and cart are in proportion to the height, weight, and strength of the dog, therefore even small dogs can pull a cart. Carting training is best accomplished using positive reinforcement techniques.

If you would like to perform demonstrations for public audiences, this sport will delight them. Besides the fun of entering dog shows, there are other benefits to carting. Imagine having help while gardening by loading things into the cart or shopping (if you live near shops) and the excitement of demonstrations where young children love to be given cart rides and most bigger dogs can pull a small child.

Carting is good exercise and can improve the dog’s stamina and muscle tone – not to mention the handlers!

The history of Carting:

Many large breeds were once used as draft animals in history for example Rottweilers and St. Bernard’s used to pull loads; Bouvier’s were used as carting dogs to haul people and produce and during times of war, served the military as sentries and haulers of machine guns and wounded soldiers.

Dog Carting was introduced to South Africa in 1986 and is a recognised canine sporting event.

Minimum criteria:

  • Dogs must be at least 14 months old to participate in the Carting class
  • Dogs must actively participate in an obedience class; preferably Beginners or higher.

There are 4 Carting classes at club and competition level namely Mini Novice, Standard Novice, Mini Senior, and Standard Senior.

The specialist carting trainer will confirm if your dog is suitable for carting. If you are interested in this sport, get your dog used to wearing a harness in the interim as all carts are attached to the harness (very similar to horse carts).

The trainer will slowly introduce the cart by first walking alongside your dog to get it used to the sound and movement before attempting to hitch the cart to the dog. Having your dog able to know and respond to cues in a distracting environment is very important. An out-of-control dog with a cart can be dangerous to himself and others.

Before attempting the carting course, handlers walk the course and the judge will explain technicalities and what to do.

*Mini dogs are defined as measuring 40cm and less at the withers.

ExercisesNovice (Beginner) levelSeniors
On/off leadAll work except the recall is done on lead. The judge or steward will verbally direct the handler around the course.All work is done off lead. Verbal directions are at the judge’s discretion.
Harness and cartHandlers are judged on harnessing and hitchingInspection of harness and cart
Basic handingNormal-, fast- and slow pace; left, right, and about turns; halt (sit/stand) and back up. The basic handling is done before the carting course in an area free of obstacles.Normal-, fast- and slow pace; left, right, and about turns; halt (sit/stand) and back up and an extra element at the judge’s discretion. The basic handling is done before the carting course in an area free of obstacles
ManoeuvringFigure of eight; 90° turns; broad curve; narrow area (e.g. bridge); removable obstacle (e.g. a gate); load/unload (cognisance is taken of the size and breed of dog, type of cart and terrain); back up; distraction control; recallFigure of eight; 90° turns; broad curve; narrow area (e.g. bridge); removable obstacle (e.g. a gate); load/unload (cognisance is taken of the size and breed of dog, type of cart and terrain); back up; distraction control; recall
Stay exercise1 minute with the dog harnessed and hitched to the cart in the “sit” or “stand” position (at the handler’s discretion), with the handler in sight of the dogs.3 minutes with the dog harnessed and hitched to the cart in the “sit” or “stand” position with the handler in or out of sight of the dogs as directed by the judge.
CommandsThe handler may give a single command at each change of direction, pace change, or stay.     Repeated commands are penalised. The handlers may encourage and talk to their dogs whilst competing in the manoeuvring and handling exercises but may not repeat commands   Physical handling of a dog or cart during any exercise is not permitted.Commands – the handler may give a single command at each change of direction, pace change, or stay.   Repeated commands must be penalised.           Physical handling of a dog or cart during any exercise is not permitted.
Cart loadsMini Novice: should not be less than 1 kg and not more than 3 kgs   Standard Novice: should not be less than 2 kgs and not more than 9 kgsMini Senior: should not be less than 2 kgs and not more than 6 kgs   Standard Senior: should not be less than 5 kgs and not more than 12 kgs

FLYBALL

The below information is for club training and assessments and may differ slightly from competitive Flyball tournaments at a KUSA level

What is Flyball?

Flyball is a relay race between two teams each consisting of four dogs. The first dogs in each team is released upon a whistle and must negotiate four hurdles, trigger the flyball box that releases a tennis ball; catch the ball and return over the four hurdles through the start/finish poles. Once the first dog returns, the second dog is released but may not cross the first dog until that dog’s nose passes the start line. The same applies for dog three and dog four. The aim is to get the dogs to pass as close as possible over the start/finish line – ideally a nose-to-nose cross.

For any infringements such as a dropped ball, missing a hurdle or not triggering the box to release the ball, the dog causing the error must run again.

At club level, dogs are assessed based on individual times. The senior group also run pairs (2 dogs) against one another.

Class criteria:

  • Minimum age of the dog: At least 8 months old to start training.
  • Your dog must be able to retrieve a tennis ball reliably and return it to you.
  • Any breed can participate in flyball – hurdle heights are adjusted to the smallest dog in a team.
  • Dogs must be under control off lead and not be aggressive towards people or other dogs.
  • Your dog must preferably wear a harness to hold onto before being released. This also prevents pressure on the oesophagus.
  • Dogs prone to injury or joint problems should be assessed by a qualified veterinarian or rehabilitation therapist and given the all clear.
  • The specialist trainer may conduct a suitability assessment.

What we ask of you:

  • Be an enthusiastic handler who is a team player and who can have fun with his/her dog; and encourage your dog to be a happy, energetic working dog!
  • Teach a proper box turn (“swimmer’s turn”) as this will not only prevent muscle strains and other injuries, but will ensure a long, happy flyball career for your dog.
  • Handlers must be willing to carry out equipment and set up the lanes.
  • Handlers must be willing to learn how to box load (the person placing the balls in the box is called a box loader and has to know which dogs in the team turn left or right) and time keep / marshal and attend at least one competition either as an assistant or spectator.
  • Take as long as necessary to train your dog to be the best it can be. Getting the dog in the ring as soon as possible is not listed as one of the training goals. Stick to the lessons and do not bypass any of them. Forget obedience commands except “COME”!

Flyball classes:

BeginnersNew dogs   Dogs that have been in Beginners but not yet passed the assessment and/or qualified as assessed by the trainer. On successfully completing the Beginners Flyball class (dog must be able to do a full run over the 4 hurdles, turn and take the ball on the trainer box and return over the hurdles;   Handlers may run with their dogs on the outside of the lane;   Barriers are erected alongside the hurdles to prevent dogs popping out of the flyball lane;
IntermediateDogs that have successfully passed Beginners are promoted to the Intermediate class or recreational handlers/dogs who are not interested in running competitions;   Handlers have the choice to run their dogs on the trainer box or the actual flyball box (only if the dog can execute a proper swimmer’s turn)   Barriers are erected alongside the hurdles, but reliable dogs may run without these if they will not pop out the lane;
Seniors (Teams)Dogs that have successfully passed the Intermediate class;   Dogs must be able to run on the flyball box and in a lane without barriers (training aids may still be used);   Dogs must be able to pass another dog without reacting or chasing it;   Handlers are willing to compete with their dogs and run in a team

DOG JUMPING (AGILITY)

The below information is for club training and assessments and may differ slightly from competitive Agility- and Dog Jumping classes at a KUSA level

What is Dog Jumping and Agility?

Dog jumping and agility are dog sports in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, unless training in the Beginners class where a closed food container or toy may be used. The handler cannot touch the dog or obstacles, meaning a handler’s controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training and coordination.

In its simplest form, an agility or jumping course consists of a set of obstacles which are marked with numbers indicating the order in which they must be completed. The handler must assess the course, decide on handling strategies, and direct the dog through the course, with precision and speed.

Class criteria:

  • Minimum age of the dog: At least 12 months to start training.
  • All breeds can participate in Agility – from the smallest to the largest of dogs.
  • Dogs must be under control off lead and preferably have passed an obedience class.
  • The specialist trainer may conduct a suitability assessment.

If you think Agility and Dog jumping is the sport for you, ask yourself the following

  • Assess your dog’s temperament to be sure he’s right for the sport;
  • Is he highly energetic?
  • Does he enjoy running and responding to instruction?
  • Does he get along well with other dogs?
  • Training doesn’t only involve your dog. You are critical to the process.
  • You don’t need to be a world class athlete to train agility with your dog. Through progress and development of good communication skills, you and your dog can compete, whether recreationally or at a competitive level.
  • Dogs  prone  to  injury  or  joint  problems  should  be  assessed  by  a  qualified  veterinarian  or rehabilitation therapist and given the all clear.

What is the difference between Dog Jumping and Agility?

In South Africa, there is Agility which is divided into Contact and Non-contact, and Dog Jumping which is a separate discipline.

Dog jumping is based on horse jumping. Depending on which “table” is run, all dogs that ran clear (no faults and under the time limit), go through to a jump-off round where the fastest dog with the least mistakes is declared the winner.

In Agility, a dog is only given one round and the fastest dog with the least mistakes is declared the winner.

Dog jumping has similar equipment as Non-Contact. The height classification also differs slightly between Agility and Dog jumping and agility has an extra grade (“level”) which works backwards in dog jumping. Angles and distances between obstacles also differ in the 2 disciplines.

And the difference between Contact and Non-Contact agility?

Contact agility has 3 “contact” apparatus, with a different coloured zone which the dog must touch. If the dog misses the contact zone, a fault is indicated. The contact apparatus consists of a seesaw, A-frame, and dog walk. These are removed from Non-contact agility.

At club level we have a Beginners class for new dogs and handlers – the aim is to lay the foundation and equip everyone to eventually compete at KUSA competitions, should they wish to do so, once the dog has mastered commands and equipment.

At club level, we mostly train dog jumping (or non-contact agility) but the trainers will be more than willing to assist or refer any handler and dog wishing to further their dog jumping or agility career.

Grades at the club:

DescriptionClass / Grade
New dogs / inexperienced dogs:   Dogs may remain in this class for 3 terms after which they move to Grade 2 or at the discretion of the specialist trainer.Beginners Small Beginners Large
Intermediate (post Beginners class):   Dogs advance to Grade 1 with a clear round and no time faults or at the discretion of the specialist trainer.Grade 2 Small Grade 2 Medium Grade 2 Large
AdvancedGrade 1 Small Grade 1 Medium Grade 1 Large
Veteran dogs: Dogs older than 7 years may run in the veteran class.Handlers are encouraged to jump their dogs in a lower height class, on the recommendation of the specialist trainer/s.

COMPANION DOG (“CD”)

The below information is for club training and assessments and may differ slightly from competitive Working Trials (Companion Dog) at a KUSA level

Companion dog or “CD” has nothing to do with qualifying a dog to help people as a service dog or therapy dog; it is a combination of control, agility, and nose work and is the basis of Classic Working Trials (which later includes tracking).

At Club Level there are 3 Companion dog levels, starting with Beginner Companion Dog. When a dog qualifies out of Beginner CD, it enters in the Companion Dog class and has the option of entering Super Companion Dog when the dog qualifies 3 times. Agility equipment heights are adjusted to suite small, medium, and large dogs.

Minimum criteria: Dogs must be at least 14 months old to participate in the CD classes and must actively participate in a Novice or Rally Fun class or higher.

ExercisesBeginner CDCompanion DogSuper Companion Dog
Control (Obedience)Heel on lead (loose leash) – incl. turns, pace changes and walk around obstacles and people   Recall – 20m with sit and finish   Retrieve – dumbbell with presentation and finish   Send away 15m to an object and a closed food container; no recall     Down stay – 5 minutes insight facing the dogHeel on lead and heel free – incl. turns, pace changes and walk around obstacles and people   Recall – 20m with sit and finish   Retrieve – dumbbell with presentation and finish   Send away 20m to an object. The dog remains in any position and is recalled when instructed and finish   Down stay – 10 minutes out of sightHeel-free – incl. turns, pace changes and walk around obstacles and people     Recall – 20m with sit and finish   Retrieve – dumbbell with presentation and finish   Send away 50m to an object. The dog remains in any position and is redirected either left or right to another object.   Down stay – 10 minutes out of sight
Nose workArea search (15mx15m area) Handler’s article (not brightly coloured; +/-7cm x 7cm x 1cm) 2 minutes to find the articleArea search (15mx15m area) Judge’s article which handler will scent   2 minutes to find the articleArea search (25mx25m area) Judge’s articles; foreign scent.   5 minutes to find the articles
AgilityClear jump A-frame Long jump   A closed food container may be placed on the landing side of the obstaclesClear jump A-frame Long jumpClear jump A-frame Long jump
Next levelDogs that have passed three times in this grade must move up to Companion Dog grade. Pass mark 80%Dogs that have passed three times in this grade may move up to Super Companion Dog if the handler wishes. Pass mark 90%Pass mark 90%

TRACKING

The below information is for club tracking and differs from competitive tracking at a KUSA level

Tracking refers to a dog’s ability to detect, recognise and follow a specific scent or odour. Scent or odour is the combined permeations of trampled vegetation, bugs, mud, and soil disturbed by an individual’s footprints. The disturbed soil releases moisture and trampled plant life  release odours. Footprints release new odours different to undisturbed vegetation surrounding it.

The tracklayer is a person laying the track that a dog will follow. For Dogs in the Junior 1 and higher classes, this person will, as far as possible, be a stranger to the dog for which he lays the track. The tracklayer will drop articles on his track. Articles will not be hidden or buried. On all tracks the last (or only) article is to be dropped at the end of the track. The age of the track is to be calculated from the time that the tracklayer begins the laying of the track.

Handlers will stay away from the tracking area until the time approaches for each to begin his track.

Tracking requires a vast open area to train in and takes a few hours to complete. It is not for handlers who love to sleep in on a Saturday morning as tracking starts very early!

At Club Level, there are 7 tracking levels which becomes progressively more difficult as the dog masters each.

  • Puppies 1
  • Puppies 2
  • Beginners
  • Junior 1
  • Junior 2
  • Senior
  • Veteran

Tracking assessments contain the following:

  • Heel work (Not for Puppies 1 & 2)
  • Send away
  • Controlled search
  • Retrieve
  • Down stay
  • Track on lead

Class size: Maximum number of dogs are limited to 12

Handlers MUST be prepared to enter one KUSA Tracking Trial (“TT”) show once the dog is ready (trainer to determine this) and attempt a Working Trails Tracker Dog 1 (“TD1”) competition once the dog has passed Companion Dog (“CD”) at KUSA level.

Handlers MUST commit to training.