Agility trials in the time of Covid-19
Since the pandemic began, I have attended 3 agility trials. Once as a judge and twice as a competitor/committee member. I have learned a few lessons so far and I thought i would share them here.
First, it helps to make social distancing easy for the competitors. We all are eager to get back to a normal life, see our friends, and play with our dogs. To do so safely is the key to our return. Making it easy for competitors to remember to social distance is very important. Spread out your workers! Don't put the timer and scribe next to each other - use a long table and place one at each end. They can still talk but they have space. Stage the canopies/EZ-Ups for the handlers to use to line up as they head into the ring. If you put them up and ask people to use them, they will automatically be spaced out and you have provided shade for them and their dogs. Ask your judges to including briefing information on the course map so briefings are short or not necessary. Break up walk throughs into small groups or try the conveyor belt method.
Second, don't shame people. Gentle, polite reminders about masks, social distancing, or sanitation should be enough. We are all human and it is easy to forget this stuff since we are all new to it. Yelling at someone immediately puts them on the defensive, but kindness will work wonders. Remember, you may not know another person's challenges so be respectful to each other.
Finally, remember this is supposed to be fun. Very few competitors make a living out of agility and most of us are out there for some fun, friendship, and fitness. During these stressful times try to put a little fun into your trial. Encourage each other and celebrate the small successes right now.
These are my thoughts on the matter. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. I am always looking new and creative ways to make trials run more smoothly.