Twist and Twine ~ Superior Course Challenge

The weather has taken a balmy turn and so I’ve invited myself outside for a chore or two and the simple pleasure of feeling the sun on my back. It’s been a cold winter and I like that Spring seems to be wanting an early start. I actually saw the first Robin of Spring this morning.

So yesterday I did not submit a TDAA course design posting on my blog. But I thought I’d make up for it today. I’ve been reviewing TDAA courses for a couple back-to-back days and I think I’d like to say a word about how to create appropriate challenge for the Superior (Masters/Excellent) level course.

The blank sheet is sometimes daunting to the course designer.

This is typical of what some judges will send to me for review. It actually meets our standards for the number of obstacles and the obstacles that are required to be on the course. But beyond that it does not meet our standards for a level of challenge appropriate to the class. If you really look at this course there are no options, and there are no crossing patterns. This course might demand, at most, two changes of sides.

This is the dog’s path demanded by the course. This is, frankly, something that we might design for the Beginner class in which we are only really concerned with whether the dog knows how to do the equipment.

Twist and twine… is the secret. I’ve taken the loop de loop de loop of the previous course and I’ve twisted the loops and twined them to cross over. What I’m going to do next… is copy this new path to superimpose it over the set of equipment from the original course.

Clearly the equipment doesn’t fit neatly into the twists and twines that I got from the warped dog’s path. But you can see that I’ve started to move equipment around to get the basic essence of the crossing patterns.

I couldn’t finish following the twists and twines because I was running out of obstacles. Actually, I removed two obstacles from the original course… and still got the obstacle count up to the maximum of 20. That’s what happens when you repeat obstacles… and every time you put a twist in a loop, it suggests that you will reuse an obstacle. So in this course… the final line through the tire & teeter  and on to the chute… was just to get the dog back up to the front of the ring.

I went in background again and ran the dog’s path. While this isn’t a perfect rendition of the whimsical twist and twine drawing that I did… you will note that it is a more interesting line than the big “M” I got from the original course.

If we look at the course I created with a critical eye for a moment, you’ll note that it’s now become very interesting from a challenge point of view. It now demands at least four changes of sides; it has four crossing patterns; and it has three or four pretty good options (inviting wrong-courses) to challenge the handler. I like it! I especially like the bit from #7 to #11. There are a couple of elegant solutions for that transition.

This course actually needs a bit of adjustment… the interval distances between obstacles can be improved a bit. And of course, it needs start and finish lines. But these are things I do to tidy up after I’ve already got the course conceptually designed.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Punctuate this sentence:

“that that is is that that is not is not that that is is not that it it is”

Earliest correct (acceptable) answer posted as a reply to this blog post in the next ten days wins a free copy of the March Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – March 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special03” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


10 Responses to “Twist and Twine ~ Superior Course Challenge”

  1. candice Says:

    “That, that is, is that that is not.
    Is not that, that is?
    Is not, that it? It is.”

  2. Peggy R. Says:

    “That that is, is that that is not, is not that that is, is not that it, it is.”

  3. Adrienne Says:

    That that is, is that *that* is not; is not that *that* is, is not that it — it is.

    I like Candice’s better. But this keeps it to one sentence. 😉

  4. Kim Says:

    That that is, is that that is not. Is not that that is? Is not that it? It is.

  5. Adrienne Says:

    This is really interesting, to see how these courses are come up with. I know that I love some judges courses and there is one judge in particular that I will skip any trial she is running.

    The idea of laying out the dogs path *first* is awesome!

  6. Erica Says:

    That that is, is. That that is not, is not. That that is, is not that it? It is.

  7. Kim Says:

    You gave us, “that that is is that that is not is not that that is is not that it it is”.

    Of course there are 2 more “that”s than what *should* be for…That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that not it? It is.

    So my final answer is…

    That that is, is. That that is not, is not. That, that is. Is not that it? It is.

    • budhouston Says:

      lol… it’s not that I gave you more than was “supposed” to be there; you didn’t know what to do with it, and so talked yourself out of the correct answer.

      So far away, yet so close.


  8. Peggy R. Says:

    OK, I will try again.

    That that is, is; that that is not, is not; that that is, is not that it? it is.

  9. budhouston Says:

    I’m going to call this contest officially closed. I don’t believe anybody quite got it. Here’s my answer:

    That that “is”, is. That that “is not” is not that that is. Is not that it? It is.

Comments are closed.

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