The Agility Underground – C-Wags CCAP

We are working to establish an inexpensive community-based approach to the game of agility. C-Wags CCAP makes provisions for reporting scores and awarding titles for play. So the enthusiast/player has a track for measurable progress.

The idea is to bring agility back into the community in a way that contains the host club’s costs. The host has the flexibility to use its own training facility (it doesn’t actually have to be a training facility) and use local affiliate judges.

Under CCAP rules… the host club (and, it doesn’t actually have to be a club) can conduct competition (league play, tournament play, whatever) under the rules of any agility organization. And so if the idea is to strengthen players for the performance standard of a venue predominate in the area, this can be accomplished easily.

The club or informal group of enthusiasts will have to get local affiliate judges sanctioned by C-WAGS. That means studying up on our rules, and passing the judges test. http://c-wags.org/Forms.html

You can look up other information at: http://c-wags.org/Agility.html

Champions

We discovered in the TDAA a long time ago that in today’s agility world any new venue will require championship at the grass roots level. Everywhere the TDAA exists there are people who worked very hard to get the venue going in the community. C-Wags will require championship.

Over the next year or so I will be communicating with agility clubs and training centers all over the country to introduce them to CCAP and the concept of agility as an inexpensive recreational sport. I know… this is a tough mission. Profit and ambition are powerful forces in the agility world. We are actually proposing a venue that probably won’t be a cash cow and isn’t terribly ambitious.

C-Wags has been careful to define a suite of rules of conduct for competition that allows the host club to contain their expenses. You can use your own facility, and you can use local affiliate judges. This is unique in the agility world. And what we are really hoping is that the modest expense for the conduct of an agility trial or  tournament will be passed along to the competitor.

Ambitious Projects

League Play – I’m working to establish a league play network in which we all play the same game or run the same course each week so that we can compare results from around the country. The really fun and simple thing about league play is that it can be scheduled in around existing agility classes. So there is no added expense for the exhibitor who is already traveling as a student to get to class. We ran league at Dogwood for about 8 years… and it was really a lot of fun. More on this later.

Agility Games Camp Road Show – I’d like to get on the road to get people going on the concept of playing agility games. Most agility venues (aside from the TDAA) have a tiny suite of well-defined games. C-Wags agility however will allow nearly any conceivable game to be played as bonafide competition… eligible for qualifying scores and titling. Clubs, judges, exhibitors all need to be educated on games. Of course I have to do this considerably below my usual seminar rate (and I don’t have a terribly high seminar rate as it stands.) While I’m out there I can qualify and test judges for CCAP, and get host groups understanding what is required in facilitating recreational agility competition.

Thread the Needle

This game turned out to be considerably tougher than it looked like on paper. I made a command decision to include the collapsed tunnel in the mix… pretty much pointing at the time-stopper table.

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Just so you know… the rules for this game are posted at: http://wp.me/pmSZZ-my

Strategy

Of course the handler wants to reserve the chute for the last tunnel performance. It will be a measure of both skill and composure to recover from an inadvertent performance of the collapsed tunnel.

This game is reminiscent of The Impossible Tunnel Game (which you’ll find documented in the Clean Run Book of Agility Games). Keeping the performance of tunnels straight—order and direction—is really the difficulty. While the Impossible Tunnel Game is a numbered sequence, this game is dog’s choice which makes it fun and spectacular.

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Key for the handler is to approach the puzzle with an organized kind of strategy. It might be a good idea to work the puzzle backwards. In this case the handler picks the last tunnel performance in the sequence that creates a straight shot to the collapsed tunnel.

In order to create good flow the dog should be directed across the box as much as possible. So to begin, the handler seeks to solve two of the tunnels. And, to add to the sense of “organization” and keep order and direction straight, the first two tunnels are solved Left-Left-Right-Right. To finish, the second two tunnels are also solved Left-Left-Right-Right.

A Training Game?

Okay, let’s face it, all games are training games. This one is mostly about discrimination… or, precisely directing the dog when there are multiple options. There’s a lot to be said for teaching the dog the difference between obstacle focus and handler focus. But then, that’s also an objective for handler training. Many dog and handler teams will have a superb obstacle focus work ethic… but will fail in handler focus. And handler focus is the key element to solving tricky technical bits on course (like obstacle discrimination).

Refinement of Rules

I stipulated that if a dog begins the performance of a tunnel, then that tunnel and entry have been selected. We used JFF/TDAA/C-Wags/USDAA Starters rules for definition of commitment: four paws.

Also, there’s no clear definition for what happens if a dog repeats a tire performance before committing to another tunnel performance. This is complicated too by a dog who might do the tire after taking a wrong course pipe tunnel (one that has already been performed). For the purpose of getting through the game without having to sit down and ponder the issue thoroughly I adopted a “no harm no foul” POV for the tire. “The tire is required to be performed between correct tunnel performances.” Note that the tunnel doesn’t have to be performed after a wrong-course tunnel.

Remember… when you can play any game under the sun the judge/game designer is faced with a comprehensive puzzle of analysis: Anything that can happen will happen.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at www.dogagility.org/store.

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