A message from our Executive Director, Girard Bradshaw: Why Choose PSA? In the last few years a number of protection sports have popped up in the US. You will see that folks are trying to once again bring a KNPV variant to the US, a new European Ring sport was just announced, and any number of personal protection tournaments and â€œsportsâ€ are out there that have come and gone and are attempting resurrection. Of course the established European sports of IPO, French Ring and Mondio Ring have been around for quite some time. There is a lot to choose from, and competition is healthy! PSA is growing both nationally and internationally. New clubs are forming across the US and internationally. We have clubs in Canada, India, Australia, South Africa and are in discussions with a number of other forming clubs in other parts of the world and across the United States and Canada. It is an exciting time for PSA. Why do trainers choose PSA? Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your venue, and why we believe PSA is the sport of choice! 1. PSA is an American born sport. We are not beholden to European ownership, rules, and practices which has been the norm with the older sports for the last 40 â€“ 50 years, nor at the mercy of how their political winds blow year in and year out. Our sport is run by a board of directors of American and Canadian competitors, and as international clubs are added, they too will have a voice on the board. Decisions about the sport are made by people you as the competitor can talk to, not some group of people overseas who you will probably never meet. Our directors both here and abroad are responsive to competitors who have questions and also ideas that could improve the experience of trialing in PSA. 2. PSA is challenging. PSA is the only sport with decoys on the field in obedience to make for very challenging obedience routines. The combination of precision and complexity in obedience meshed with the requirement to display your obedience under the toughest kind of distraction for a protection dog (decoy distraction) shows off the quality of training to a degree not seen in other sports. Additionally we are the only civilian sport with a civil bite on a hidden sleeve in protection and it is in our level 1! Muzzle attacks, hidden suit scenarios, and difficult environmental pressure along with powerful decoy pressure is only found in PSA. Other sports may have one or the other, but PSA expects you to prepare for both hard decoy pressure and environmental pressure. The scenarios are well thought out and designed to test important elements in your training preparation, as well as the genetic power and nerve of the dog. 3. PSA is exciting. As a surprise scenario sport, as you work up from the basic entry level, the PDC into the PSA 1, you have 3 scripted protection scenarios and 5 possible surprise scenarios to train for! This alone adds a level of complexity and excitement to the training for a PSA1. In PSA 2 multiple decoy scenarios, recall exercises, surprise scenarios that encompass directional work, hold and bark, commanded bites from guards, and many more exciting scenarios unknown to the handler are possible. The PSA 3 is a title only 16 dog and handler teams have achieved in the 15 years of the sportâ€™s existence. It tests the best in you as a trainer and the best in your dog. Surprise scenario obedience with multiple agitating decoys sets a standard that is hard to achieve. PSA 3 protection puts the hardest tests of decoy pressure and environmental stressors on the team, along with requiring handlers to use strategy in a risk-reward calculus to maximize points. 4. PSA is not easy. PSA titles require teams to pass obedience with a 75% score minimum, and each individual protection scenario must be passed with a minimum 75% score. Failing obedience or any one protection scenario means the team does not title. One cannot gloss over weaknesses in the team with high scores in other areas to compensate and make a passing overall score. If you go to a PSA trial you will see competitors genuinely rooting for other competitors. PSA forces you to compete against the sport, and all of us love to see a great team beat the sport in any level! 5. PSA helps you grow. PSA hosts many low cost events to help new trainers learn how to prepare for the sport, as well as train decoys for both club training and trial work. Many people new to any sport donâ€™t know how to get started, and PSA understands this and helps all new clubs with welcome seminars, and low-cost or free workshops on training and handling, with top decoys and trainers donating their time to help you improve! 6. PSA is a growing family. If you go to a PSA trial you will experience a welcoming atmosphere. People will engage you and talk to you, and happily explain the sport. We treat one another with respect and you will find a great atmosphere at a PSA event. Sportsmanship is our hallmark, and we donâ€™t tolerate those who do not share that value. Fortunately most do and we celebrate that value at every trial, win or lose. Spectators at trials are welcome to come on the field and walk through the handler meetings to learn more about the sport. You canâ€™t buy a PSA 3 dogs and jump out on the field and compete. Everyone starts at the bottom, and earns their way up. Dogs titled in other sports are often more difficult to cross over than starting with a puppy or green dog. If you like a challenge, love to train hard, and want to develop your skills to the highest level as a trainer, PSA may be the sport for you. In a short 15 years we have become the largest bite suit based sport in the US. We are established with 15 years of continuous operation as a sport. We are unique, often imitated but never duplicated. Come join us on this journey as we continue to grow! In explaining PSA to someone I recently used this analogyâ€¦ â€œIf IPO and the ring sports are your rich preppy boyfriend, PSA is the bearded and tattooed bad boy on the Harley, ready to scoop you up in front of the country club and ride into the wind!â€ Membership and event information is available online at www.psak9.orgas well as a downloadable rulebook and how to videos of our entry level and PSA 1.