Q. UKC Obstacles?

kalwindowukcQ. I’m thinking about trying United Kennel Club agility, but I’ve only done AKC trials in the past.  Are the obstacles different at the Novice level?

A. The UKC’s first level, Agility I, uses many of the same obstacles seen in AKC trials.  An Agility I course consists of 13 obstacles: six hurdles, six non-hurdles, and a pause table.  The six hurdle obstacles may be chosen from 10 types: bar, bush, high, log, long, picket fence, rail fence, spread, water, and window.  The non-hurdle obstacles for Agility I are the A-frame, dogwalk, teeter, open tunnel, closed tunnel (also known as the chute), and hoop tunnel.  All non-hurdle obstacles are required.

Of the non-hurdle obstacles, the only one that is unique to the UKC is the hoop tunnel.  This obstacles is a series of hoops held in place by a PVC or wood framework.  The hoops are set at alternating angles to form a zigzag pattern when seen from above.   The dog runs straights through the hoops like he would a tunnel.  But since the hoops are not enclosed, the dog can incorrectly exit the sides at any time.

Many allowed hurdles are quite different from AKC jumps.  While some UKC clubs may possess all the unique hurdles, many use the common ones- bar jumps, long jumps, and spreads.  All UKC hurdles must be in 42″ and 48″ wide.  The hurdle uprights of 36″ to 48″ heights may be separate, connected by a ground-level crosspiece, or supported by a separate base.

The bush fence hurdle is designed with a planter that holds live or plastic plants, or branches cut from leafy shrubs.  After the 8″ initial height, additional planter boxes are added to provide the 14″ and 20″ jump heights (called divisions in the UKC). The high hurdle is similar to the high jumps used in obedience competitions.  The log hurdle is made of 4″ PVC pipe that is 42″-48″ in length.  Pyramidal stacks of 3, 6, or 10 pipes are used for the separate divisions.  The picket fence hurdle looks like it sounds, but the ends of the pickets must be flat or round, not pointed.  The rail fence hurdle has several displaceable (preferred) or non-displaceable (allowed) cross rails held between two uprights.  The water hurdle has ramps and platforms that are positioned on either side of a water box or pool, which is about 48″-50″ x 28″, made from 2x2s and must hold at least 1.5″ of water.  The window hurdle has the same frame as the UKC tire jump but it is covered by a panel of wood or heavy fabric that is 42″-48″ wide with an opening 14″-18″ wide and 30″ high.  The panel is adjustable for each division.  Detailed descriptions and specifications of all UKC obstacles are available online at: www.ukcdogs.com/website.nsf/rules/DEAgiliAgilityObstaclesDescriptionsan.

© Clean Run, January 2009

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