Grand Prix – Lawrence, KS

This week I’m in Calera, OK for a week of NADAC judges training with Sharon Nelson and will be tested under practical conditions on a weekend Fun Raiser. It’s going to be a small trial.

You must know that the mind-set for judging NADAC is a radical departure from my work in other venues. And yet I am completely conscious that the judge is a stodgy arbiter of rules. I don’t mean to make that sound unkind to judges. But practically speaking the judge’s role is to accurately and completely reflect the rules, philosophy, and every other little nuance of the parent organization. I make the point early in the Clean Run book of agility games that all games are at their core irrational. And so, this week I am immersing myself in the philosophy and granularity of the NADAC world.

It’s kind of fun actually. NADAC bases its fundamental premise on a small thing that should be rule #1 for training a dog in agility… it’s a full speed, wide open, running game. I’ll most likely make my pup Kory’s debut at agility competition in NADAC. I want him to know right from the onset that it’s all about attacking the course.

Anyhow, it’s going to be a long week in an uncomfortable hotel… and a bit of a busman’s holiday, to be sure. I hope to come out of this an approved NADAC judge and have the opportunity to go into the world setting up courses for an audience of competitors that have a grand sense of fun.

Okay… On to the Grand Prix

I need to go a couple weeks back in time here to the small USDAA trial we did in Lawrence, Kansas. I want to look at the Grand Prix course I set up there.

The obvious tunnel under the A-frame discrimination in the early going wasn’t really such a tricky part of the course. The dog’s path truly favored the wrong course pipe tunnel. But in general the players were prepared for the moment. Dog’s were more likely to miss the down contact of the A-frame in a sequence that nearly demanded that the handler have dog-on right, while a pipe tunnel made the handler work at an uncomfortable and un-proofed distance.

If I made a mistake in this course design it’s the hard aback turn coming out of the collapsed tunnel. I saw too many Back Crosses at the tunnel. If the dog didn’t feel the pressure of the handler’s change of sides the dog would turn to the left on the exit; then the handler would be required to sacrifice any advantage in real estate to draw the dog back across the fabric and introduce the awkward serpentine sequence of three jumps that followed.

Did I say that this was the most challenging part of the course? Well, it was. The handler simply did not want to arrive at jump #7 with dog on left. While some handlers got away with it, having the dog on the wrong side more likely presented the #14 hurdle as a wrong course option. So either the dog’s path wobbled badly there, or the dog actually took the option.

Dog and handler face the tunnel under the A-frame discrimination again in the transition from jump #15 to the #16 pipe tunnel. We actually saw more wrong courses here than in the initial approach to the discrimination (at #4). Mostly this was due to the handler stepping in to block, but with drawing before consummating the block. You know, the very few handlers who determined to approach the #16 pipe tunnel with dog on left were far more successful in solving this discrimination and the course that followed.

You’ll note that the #19 jump is presented at such an angle that it was easy to earn a refusal there if the handler drew too aggressive an approach to jump #18. So this represented on last cruel trick in the overall course.

I liked the way the course ran generally. Tho I certainly had the sense that players geared their dogs down more than the flow of the course warranted. Playing for the kill is a developed instinct I suppose.

Quoth

All love is unrequited – Commander Susun Ivanova of Babylon 5

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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 on the Country Dream Web Store.

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2 Responses to “Grand Prix – Lawrence, KS”

  1. Barbara and The Symphony of Hounds Says:

    With all the course designs you have been doing lately, thought you might enjoy seeing this “course.”

    I actually was getting caught up on your blog and reading Casa De Canine, and your paragraph at the end about handlers endeavoring to get ahead of the dog.

    Made me think of this trainer, and the effort to make best use of real estate at the tunnel by getting AHEAD even though the animal can easily outrun us!

    You might also notice a near-miss of the contact on the “dogwalk,” though the second time around, very carefully was in the contact zone and no judge would have to ‘guess’ !

  2. Barbara and The Symphony of Hounds Says:

    Here’s a couple more from Hevos:

    Some training, send to table and weave work (that is not working so they go on)

    Some photos…a minute or so into this, is a little pinto pony, sheltie-colored, going through the hoop with his belly rubbing on the way through…this reminds me a LOT of Birdie doing his hoops!

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