Long Lines

On the Friday before the Petit Prix we run a regular trial. This allows people to put their dogs on equipment and work through nerve issues they might have with performance and equipment before the national competition begins. I reckon that within a very few years the Friday trial will be subsumed by the Petit Prix as the entry increases to the extent that the two weekend days can’t provide enough hours to run the tournament classes.

Festival hall in Racine turns out to be a nice showcase arena with two rings running simultaneously in the center. It’s an octagonal building, so the rings are surrounded by spectator seating and all of that surrounded by tightly packed dog crating. Dogs are running on carpet. And while some people find objection to this, it tends to be fine for small dogs, given that they’ll spend only a very few minutes in the ring each day.

The conduct of the rings hasn’t been terribly smooth on this first morning. We’re hoping to get everything smoothed out before the Petit Prix begins in the morning, as we’ll be more pressed for time.

I’m impressed by the keener performances of dogs this year. Following the historic trends of all agility venues, each year we are faster and keener and more competitive. This promises to be the finest Petit Prix ever.

Standard Course

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The first thing I heard this morning was an exhibitor complaining that the standard course was too simple, and wasn’t really of “championship” caliber. I had to bite my tongue on that one. Long straight lines are no kindness to any handler with a fast dog.

As it turns out, this course had a surprisingly low Q rate.

Straight away we had quite a large number of on & off the table faults as the opening line accelerated the dog forward. And of course the handler racing the dog down the line only adds fuel to the accelerating quality of the line.

The turn from jump #9 to #10 probably represented the most obvious technical moment in the course. Funny how it works… but fewer dogs faulted this corner than elsewhere on course.

I think the spot on the course that gave more trouble than might have anticipated was picking the dog up out of the collapsed tunnel at #12 for an approach to the jump straight ahead. Once again, because of the long straight line dogs were beating their handlers through the chute and so naturally curled back after the exit making a clean approach to jump #13 a problem.

The Tournament Begins Tomorrow

Friday is simple preamble to the Petit Prix Tournament. It gives everybody an opportunity to get their dogs used to the site and familiar with the equipment. And, it allows handlers a chance to work their nerves out; and the host club to get a little rhythm in the logistics of the trial. I’ll report back tomorrow with early results.

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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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