Q: Tipping the Teeter with my Tiny Teacup

10117628-teeter-totter-tdaaQ. I compete in AKC agility with my Poodle that weighs 2.5 pounds.  She sometimes can tip the teeter plank and sometimes not.  When trialing if she goes to the end of the teeter and the plank does not move, what would the judge do? What should I do?

A. An AKC representative offers this response: “An AKC teeter that is properly calibrated will go down when a 2.5 pound dog is at the end of it.  There are several dogs of that size currently competing.

“If the teeter for some reason wouldn’t go down and the dog is at the end of the board, the handler should pick the dog up and politely ask the judge if he or she calibrated the teeter yet on that day.  If the judge answers that it hasn’t been calibrated, they should ask that it be checked and if found in need of correcting, then the dog should be awarded a rerun, using the proper rules for reruns.”

The rules for reruns that apply to equipment malfunction can be found in the AKC Judges Guidelines, Chapter 7, Section 2.  In some cases of equipment malfunction, the dog and handler may continue the run and later perform the problematic obstacle (for example, when a weave pole breaks while the dog is weaving).  But in this case, the dog can’t continue; she is stuck on the teeter.  The Guidelines state: “Sometimes the malfunction affects the dog or handler greatly, and the run basically stops at that point.  In these cases, the equipment should be fixed, and the dog should be given and opportunity to perform it (one time) immediately, to reacclimate itself to the obstacle prior to completing the course or the rerun as described below.  If the dog had incurred faults that would keep it from qualifying at the time of the severe malfunction, the handler should be allowed to simply complete the course at that time.  If the dog was qualifying at the time of the severe malfunction, then the handler would be instructed that a rerun would be necessary.  All faults incurred in the first run (up to the point of the malfunction) would remain in effect, and judging would begin at the point where the severe equipment malfunction occurred.  Exhibitors must be briefed with rerun criteria as stated in stopwatch/e-timer malfunctions.”

© Clean Run, January 2009