Update on Proposed Changes to Measuring Plan
Since the last announcement about measuring, the ED asked all RDs to solicit feedback from competitors regarding the culture of measuring height dogs in each region, and competitors’ concerns about the mandatory measuring plan outlined earlier this summer.
Based on this feedback, and the excellent suggestions we’ve received from individual competitors, the board now has a revised plan for measuring after meeting in-person on September 7th, 2019
MANDATORY MEASURING ON HOLD
A big concern we heard was, if measuring is to be mandatory, it needs to be made easier on dogs and competitors. Although the whole board agrees that mandatory measuring is a positive step, NAFA doesn’t want to put up barriers for people wanting to participate in Multibreed and Regular. To that end, we are putting the requirement for mandatory measuring, which was to take effect on October 1, 2020, on hold indefinitely as we continue to evaluate other options and devices for measuring withers (see below).
MAKING MEASURING EASIER
First and foremost, we have been investigating a new type of measuring device for withers’ measurement. We are very excited about the results so far. Practice measurements using a small group of volunteers, some of whom had dogs that had never been measured before, resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback.
It’s an affordable laser device that is easy for the judge to use and set up. The dog is measured on a level table, no wall is needed. The only thing that contacts the dogs is a small handset which is gently placed on the withers of the dog. There is no arm that needs to swing over the dog’s head. Handlers are able to stand at either side and the readout is clearly visible from both sides. Its ease of use enables the judge to focus on clearly seeing whether the dog is standing in the stance required by the rule book (required stance was clarified as of October 1st, 2017).
The board saw the device in action at the September 7th meeting. We evaluated the device based on the following criteria:
1. Safety – is the laser device safe for competitors and dogs.
2. Modifications – will we be able to find an affordable solution to make the readout more user friendly and larger.
3. Ease of use – is it easy to set up properly for judges, and is measuring easier on the judge, handler and dog.
The next step is to have this device at an upcoming local event this October and get feedback from more volunteers. However, we are not putting all our eggs in one basket - we’re continuing to investigate other withers’ measuring devices (including pre-set wickets) and suggestions for making measuring easier and less stressful for everyone.
At the April meeting, the decision was made not to grandfather dogs, however, based on the feedback we’ve received, we are considering grandfathering dogs.
The intention of moving to mandatory measurement by Certified Measuring Judges (CMJs), in our original plan, was never to devalue tournament judges. Anyone who has hosted or even attended a tournament knows the judges are crucial to the sport. It was rather to back up and take the pressure off judges, and restore the NAFA Community’s overall trust when it comes to measuring.
However, the logistics of sending out-of-region CMJs out regularly to the regions is onerous and so we need a compromise. If mandatory measuring is implemented, we no longer plan to require mandatory measuring of height dogs every six months until a CMJ measurement is obtained.
If mandatory measuring moves ahead, these are some of the items under consideration:
1. A measuring training program available to all judges, to be launched before mandatory measuring is put into place. The program will focus on getting judges, across all regions, on the same page regarding the stance and skills needed for proper measuring moving forward.
2. Measurement by a CMJ will still be available, as outlined in the current rule book, and will continue to mean a dog’s jump height will no longer be challengeable, for life.
3. Official Measurement(s) by a tournament judge, and/or a CMJ Measurement will be displayed on a dog’s CRN page, so that everyone has easy access to this information.
LOWERING JUMP HEIGHTS
Based on feedback, the board decided to put the lowering of jump heights from 5” below the withers, to 6” below the withers and lowering the minimum jump height to 6” to a delegate vote in this upcoming election. The results will be announced at the AGM in January.