COVID-19 UPDATE: DUE TO THE VIRUS, JUDGES OF RECORD ARE NOT STILL NOT MEASURING THROUGH THE END OF 2020. THIS MEANS IF THERE IS NOT A VMO AT THE EVENT, YOU WILL NOT BE MEASURED AND YOU ARE EXPECTED TO ENTER THE APPROPRIATE HEIGHT YOUR DOG WILL COMPETE IN FOR AKC. IF A VMO IS PRESENT, THEN ALL MEASURING IS ON. STAY SAFE AND HAVE FUN!!
I am an agility judge, measuring official and event secretary for AKC. If you would like to get in touch me you can do so through the website and I will get back to you right away!
What is a VMO? In AKC vocabulary this stands for Volunteer Measuring Official. A VMO is either an AKC rep or a judge; however, not all judges are VMOs. Sometimes there may be a VMO at a trial who is there as a competitor. This person has volunteered their time to measure dogs – please be respectful of his/her time. This person is not paid – volunteer, remember? – and has paid to be at the trial and compete with his/her own dogs. Please ask this person when he/she is available instead of demanding to be measured RIGHT NOW! Also, if you are about to ask for a measurement and you see that the person has his/her own dog, it is possible they are about to run, have just run, are going to warm up, etc., ask the VMO when it would be a good time to get your dog measured. If the VMO is not available to measure you before you run, and you have never gotten an official measurement, then you will need to ask the judge of record that you are about to run under to measure your dog before you run – this measurement would only be good for that day. If this is not done and you Q, you will lose that leg. You still need to be measured by the VMO at some point during the day.
AKC Measuring Information: Let me just explain a little bit about how this works. If your dog will be competing between the ages of 15 months and before it is two years old it needs to get measured before running at the trial no matter how tall, or short, it is. If there is not an official measurer there (not all judges are measuring officials, remember) you need to get measured before you run and that measurement is only good for that trial. If there is an official measurer there (which could be one of the judges at the trial, or a judge who is there as a competitor, or even an AKC rep) you will get measured, be given a yellow slip to keep, and that measurement is good until the dog turns two years old. This is called your temporary measurement (that is what would be checked at the top of the measurement form). If you get measured and do not get a yellow slip, then it was not an official measurement.
Once the dog turns two: Now your temporary measurement has expired. To get your permanent height card from AKC you need two official measurements that put you in the same jump height – they do not need to be the exact same height, only the same jump height. If you go to a trial and there is not an official measurer present then you need to get measured by the judge before you run. This measurement is only good for that trial. This will continue until you get your first official measurement – which you know is official because you are given a yellow slip similar to your temporary measurement, however, at the top this will have 1 circled after Permanent – this signifies it is your first official measurement. You are supposed to take this with you to trials as proof of your height. Once you get the second official measurement, then as long as both measurements put you in the same jump height you will receive an AKC height card within 4-6 weeks. If your measurements do not agree regarding your jump height, you now need a third “tie breaker”. Once you have two measurements that put you in the same jump height, you will receive your card. Keep your yellow slips with you until you receive the permanent card from AKC, then you need to take that with you to the trials. I recommend that you take pictures of your yellow slips and the permanent card once you get it, that way it’s always with you.
Challenge Measurements: If your dog’s measurements put it in a height which you think it should not be in, you are allowed to request a challenge. This works just like the permanent height card process, you have to get two judges who get your dog in the same jump height – once that is done your challenge is complete whether you agree with the measurements or not. Many people wait until a dog is older to do a challenge measurement since it can only be done once in a dog’s lifetime, and many dogs will get shorter as they age (just like us people). When doing challenge measurements be sure to circle the correct number on the form just as you did for your permanent measurement. If the dog receives two measurements that put it into a different height, it can be changed immediately at the trial.
For more information regarding Jump Height Cards, go to the AKC site and download the Agility Regulations.
Effective February 1, 2017 (change in bold at the bottom)
Chapter 1. Regulations for Agility Trials
Section 21. Change of Entry. In addition to Move-ups as described in Chapter 1, Section 20 entries may also be changed as noted in this section. A dog which has been entered in a Novice “A” class for which it is not eligible to be entered in due to class restrictions on the dog or handler may be moved to the Novice “B” class under the following conditions:
The request for the move must be in writing and presented to the superintendent or trial secretary at least 30 minutes prior to the start of each trial. The request must state the reason and justification for the move from a Novice “A” class to the Novice “B” class.
After the close of entries a dog may be moved down in their class level (i.e., Master to Excellent). The request for the move to the class for which the dog is eligible must be in writing and submitted to the superintendent or trial secretary at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the trial.
If a VMO or Field Representative at a trial measures a dog into a height other than what they entered, the entry may be changed from Regular to Preferred or from Preferred to Regular, as long as the dog has not run any classes that day. If the dog has already run, the change may be made for the next trial day(s). The exhibitor must provide the Trial Secretary the AKC Agility Measurement Form when requesting the class change.