Thursday, April 23, 2009

technology wins out

This piece of news from the AKC was sent out this morning -- that assuming that the Club's Board follows the recommendation of its Performance Events Department and votes accordingly, the Garmin Astro and DC30 collar will be approved for field trial use effective August 1st, 2009. Mike, here at LWBD, had written an entry about this back in December.

While parent clubs voted overwhelmingly in support of GPS technology for locating dogs no longer under judgement, the minority opinions are nevertheless quite interesting:

"Based on the input received from clubs and individuals, an estimated 5% of participants are against the use of any tracking device. Further, an additional 10% of participants feel the potential for misuse of the GPS technology is so great that it outweighs the advantages of its use. An estimated 85% of participants feel all tracking devices should be allowed as long as the units are approved by the AKC and there are regulations which address potential issues regarding their use."

There are a number of new proposed regulations to go with this new technology, proposals which attempt to address the significantly different kinds of information that are now possible from a GPS-bsed unit rather than a radio-based unit. These proposed new regulations include:

"2.No Receivers Carried by the Handler and Scout – The handler and scout may not carry a receiver. If they choose to bring their receivers on course, they must be given to the judges or someone designated by the judges. 
3. Receivers in the Gallery Must Be Turned Off – No one in the gallery shall track the dogs while they are under judgment. 
4. No “Outside” Communications - No one shall communicate in any manner with the handler, scout, judges or gallery any information obtained through the use of a tracking device while the dogs are under judgment.
7. Judges May Not Consider Information Obtained Through Tracking Devices – Judges are not to consider any information obtained through the use of a tracking device. No one shall use information from a tracking device to attempt to influence a judge or to discredit the judge’s decision."

Interestingly, too, the Performance Events Department also explictly states that it plans to re-write its regulations regarding the role of the scout and that it will share any evidence of GPS-misuse directly with the American Field.


Mike Spies said...

Thanks for posting this, Andrew. I just returned from a trip to Arizona and found this decision posted here, and sent by a friend via e-mail.

We should always have the safety of our dogs as our first priority. This is a sensible ruling, and I am hoping that the AFTCA will follow suit. The American Field has already allowed the ASTRO DC30 on a provisional basis. I am hoping that AFTCA and AF will make a similar determination at the Summer meeting of trustees.

Jon Uhart said...


My friend will be happy to see his dog Sadie has made the "blogosphere." She's a snappy and athletic dog and I really like hunting behind her.

I, too, was happy to hear the news and hope the AFTCA and US Complete folks will change their minds. I'd like to try trialing sometime but probably won't if I have to buy a Tracker. Thanks for keeping us informed and let us know if those other folks reconsider the Astro.


Andrew Campbell said...

Mike & Jon:

I gather from Bill Dalton's TheBlacknTanBombshell blog (4/28) that the folks on the Field Trial Pointer message board on Yahoo are petitioning AAFTCA and American Field for reconsideration as well.

Arguably, you only have to buy a radio or GPS tracker for trialing if you doubt the handle on your dog!

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