Hasta La Vista Chute
The chute is a classic piece of agility repertoire. The original reason for this obstacle was to test the competitive dog’s ability to confidently run into and through a dark, claustrophobic and snaggy tunnel. (Therefore it has unquestionably been the “terrier’s choice” obstacle!)
As the sport of agility has grown, so has the accuracy and speed for competitive dogs– and consequently, the considerations for handlers and governing organizations. This summer, organizations around the world responded to ongoing concerns about the safety of the chute. Consequently, almost every board voted to remove it from their obstacle list. While the removals were announced as “suspensions,” I think it was a nice way of saying “it’s not you, it’s me…”
Most competitors rejoiced the news, and remaining ones shrugged, or played devil’s advocate online. There are countless clearly documented accidents due to the chute — just google “agility chute accidents” and a wealth of examples will appear. While this is not the first obstacle to be retired, it is definitely the most notable.
Furthermore, this obstacle was just a downright pain! As an dedicated volunteer at trials and fun matches, I spent many a weekend hour in the heat, cold or rain getting up every 20-60 seconds to straighten out the ends of a chute — concerned that a dog might get tangled in it.
When I saw the sudden removal of the chute by nearly every major organization, it felt like a domino effect in perfect action. The chute was bump bump bump being “suspended” (removed!), forever. My immediate response was my typical sarcastic reaction…
bleeping TUNNEL TRAP FOR THE TERRIERS!!!”
While I send out my condolences to terriers around the world who will surely miss this deliciously naughty joyride, I am glad to see this unnecessary and dangerous obstacle go.