My AKC Tire Safety Proposal

06 Aug 2012Steve Schwarz

Lately there have been many discussions on agility email lists and among competitors around the subject of tire safety; specifically with the last large organization not allowing break away tires: the AKC. I thought I’d share with you the proposal I’ve emailed to the AKC.

Dear Sir or Madam,

As you are aware there is great interest in improving dog safety in AKC agility competitions by adopting a break away tire design. I know there are many potential issues that need to be addressed including: equipment specifications, small dogs applying enough force to benefit from such a design, whether or not to fault tire breaks, and a time frame for adoption.

I have a proposal that can immediately benefit dog safety and allow those other issues to be addressed in due course. Using the appropriate communication channel I hope something like the following would be communicated to AKC agility clubs:

Effective immediately: Clubs may substitute break away tire designs that otherwise meet current AKC regulations with respect to dimensions in any trial. At this time “breaking” of the tire will not be faulted. Clubs using these tires must specify that they are in use in their premiums and must specify the manufacturer of the tire. Break away tires may not be substituted unless specified in the premium.

At this time the AKC does not authorize or endorse specific designs, manufacturers, or breaking forces of these tires. The AKC does not guarantee that any such tire design will ever be officially added to the AKC agility regulations. This temporary rule change is only in effect until the AKC makes a permanent ruling on improving tire safety. Furthermore, clubs deciding to purchase these tires do so at their own risk and the AKC may decide to not allow them at a future date.

That’s it. I have seen several tire crashes at recent AKC trials (two just two weekends ago) and one dog was very lucky to escape serious injury. I know the AKC is concerned with the health and welfare of dogs competing in agility. I hope this interim proposal can be adopted immediately to save dogs until a more comprehensive solution can be developed.

Best Regards,
Steve Schwarz

I just want to protect dogs at these trials as soon as possible. If there is a better solution, find it, propose it, and use it! For now I think the break away tire is the safest tire design and I think dogs competing in AKC should benefit from it.

7-Dec-2012 Update

Here is footage from a few weeks ago taken at an AKC trial of a dog hitting the lowered AKC tire at the start of a run. Just glad the dog didn’t have more speed and wasn’t seriously injured. He is reportedly cautious around tires now.

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