Named after the old television game of the 50s and 60s, “What’s My Line?” presents the obstacle course in the form of a puzzle. The game provides all handlers the opportunity to come up with a strategy for running the most efficient course possible. In the U.K., this game is known as Take Your Own Line.
The handlers objective is to direct his dog to perform all of the obstacles on the course without repeating any. Time starts of the Start line and ends on either of the tables on the field.
What’s My Line is scored time plus faults. Faults include:
- 5 faults: dropped bar, missed (down) contact, missing a weave pole.
- 10 faults for repeating an obstacle (4-paw commitment), or failing to perform an obstacle.
The numbers on the course are placed for the benefit of the judge. The numbers do not indicate order or direction. The judge will use one of two methods for keeping track of the handler’s strategy and the dog’s performance:
- Sort-the-bodies method: The judge calls out the numbers. The score-keeper will determine if the dog has repeated or omitted obstacles.
- Mind like a steel trap method: The judge will keep track of the dog’s performance by visualization of the flow, and will report faults to the scribe at the end of the dog’s run.
On the Sunday mini-clinic yesterday I was proud and pleased to see the distance skills of my students. Because of the distance curriculum (reflected in the pages of the Jokers Notebook) I’ve managed to inflict on my students a nearly relentless program of independent obstacle performance and work at a distance. It’s proof to the pudding of the essential truth of dog training. A good training protocol isn’t something you “try on the weekend”… it’s something that is a part of your life and your relationship with the dog.
And now, after three-months of routine distance exercise we’re seeing fruition of the plan. Dogs that might have been called Velcro at the beginning of the winter are now happily working at impressive distances from their handlers. Of course I must make the observation that Velcro is a two-part fabric and it takes both parts to get a good stick.
The reason for the game this week is to build in my students an analytical keenness for the “dog’s choice” game; that is, a set of obstacles that may be performed in the order and direction of the handler’s choosing (or the dog’s, depending on who is in charge of the team.) This is a useful skill in games like Gamblers. It’s an up-hill battle to be sure. The idea of doing your own thinking… not having numbers to follow will make one’s brain explode. And I’m not too sure that’s accommodated by my insurance.
Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest
What is the winning strategy for this game? We will presume an effective execution of the plan.
The best answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the March Jokers Notebook.
Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – March 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.