Casa de Canine

I’m back finally from Kansas City where I spent the long weekend judging Casa de Canine, a USDAA assignment. And I only get to be home a couple of days before taking off for a long combination trip that will keep me away well into December.

I’ve always been fascinated by the players in the Kansas City area (Missouri and Kansas, don’t you know). They are a warm and generous people, though I note, with a little bit of a hard edge with their own dogs.

Having opportunity for agility competition requires the championship and a lot of hard work from a few people. In KC Paula Froog has taken it on herself to assume the financial risk and a considerable heap of the labor to make play in the USDAA possible in the area. The trial this past weekend was a small one (relatively) probably due to the calendar shift of the Cynosport championship in Scottsdale. USDAA players who might have supported this venue from moderate travel distances were probably weary from the demands of travel and play at the national championship.

Don’t get me wrong. This trial had great ring help. The local players weren’t shy about chipping in to help the trial move along smoothly.

Because of Paula Froog the USDAA is making a healthy comeback in the region. This is good. But it’s worth noting that a very few people do a huge amount of work.

Dogs in the Heartland

There are some remarkable dogs in that part of the world. And while there are more Border Collies than ever, there is also ample representation from more common breeds. There are a handful of superb handlers.

In general I found my courses overly technical for the region. Over the next few days I’ll likely share several of these with you. So you can be the judge. Next weekend I’ll be judging in northern Florida, also a USDAA gig. I expect that in Florida, given that it’s Stuart & Patti Mah’s back yard, I won’t be much regretting any technical twist in any course.

The problem with the very fast dog is that it creates a persistent illusion that the handler should assume a lazy diminutive path while constantly staying behind the dog pushing, pushing, and pushing. I sincerely believe that fast dog handling (behind and pushing) is rather like throwing cards into a hat on a windy day. Precision comes from a position forward of the dog whenever possible. So the riddle of the fast dog that the handler must solve is how to gain that forward position in the technical challenge to show the dog precisely the direction of the course.

Tell me I’m wrong.

League Play Tonight!

This is a standard course to be judged under C-WAGs rules. We will allow the position of choice on the table.

Training Sequences

White – The three-jump serpentine might have several elegant solutions. I’ll be watching closely to see if the handler approaches jump #4 with dog on right or dog on left. The transition from the #6 pipe tunnel to the #7 pipe tunnel should provide an interesting moment in the sequence. I expect the handler to be more successful with dog on right on the exit of the #6 pipe tunnel.

Black – This is not a terribly technical sequence. Early on the handler can demonstrate a solution to the threadle-like transition from the weave poles to jump #3. The handler will probably want dog-on-left for the performance of the dogwalk given the hard turn to the right on the dismount. Note that the table looms after jump #6 as a wrong-course  possibility.

White – The handler is likely stuck with a Post Turn from the dogwalk at #2. The question will be whether this soft movement will keep the dog out of the wrong-course pipe tunnel option. Otherwise, this sequence is rather straightforward.

Black – This sequence might be tougher than it looks. The dog’s path certainly favors the wrong course entry to the #4 pipe tunnel. The challenge for the handler is likely to be how to get into position for a good solution. With the fast dog the handler might want to make the approach to jump #3 for a Rear Cross. With the slow dog the handler might use a Front Cross on the landing side. Again, the transition between tunnels is a bit uncomfortable. The handler should be keen to avoid colliding with his dog on the exit from the #4 pipe tunnel. A final twist in this sequence will be the pull-through after jump #7 to the table at #8.

BLOG517

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available on the Country Dream Web Store.

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