The Ripsaw Effect

I wrote in my blog something over a year ago (Actualizing the Psychotic Vision ~ that the Ripsaw Effect is a structure in a course design in which “the pipe tunnel is firing the dog a direction that crosses the handler’s probable path”.

The remarkable thing about this configuration is how many handlers will cross into the exit path and risk collision with their dogs. When I’m reviewing courses (for the TDAA) and I note the ripsaw I’ll gently suggest to the designer that the riddle should not be whether the handler can do a thing without injuring his dog. However, I don’t review courses for all agility organizations; and so I will approach this problem as a matter of teaching. It may be I should teach my students how to do this… without injuring their dogs.

The handler should move near the exit of the pipe tunnel, taking care not to let the dog see him come to a stop while involved in the performance of the tunnel. As the dog makes his exit the handler will usher him past (or allow him to pass) and then step behind.

This movement, by the way, is a technical Tandem; a cross behind the dog on the dismount of an obstacle rather than a hurdle. When crossing behind a dog on the dismount of any hurdle the handler can neatly step into the dog’s jumping arc. But coming off a contact obstacle, out of the weave poles, or out of a tunnel all four of the dogs paws are on the ground. And those paws need to move forward of the handler before the handler can actually step behind.

With my own students I teach an on the flat foundation exercise for crossing behind the dog. When transferring the performance to agility in motion I might have to remind them that the mechanics of the handler conducting the dog through the turn are essentially the same mechanics of the on the flat foundation work.

On the Home Front

We lost our old girl Banner (Imagineer’s Patriot Red) a couple days ago. She had been in steep decline through the winter, almost completely blind, having great trouble breathing, and losing muscle and control in her back end. And so we made the very difficult decision to let her go.

In my heart I will always remember a dog young and strong, happy and fearless, ruler of the pack.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

This sequence began a “nationals” course. What was the venue and year?

The first correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the April Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – April 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special04” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


5 Responses to “The Ripsaw Effect”

  1. Bev Thorsteinson Says:

    This past weekend I sought out a TDAA trial in Omaha, Ne, had heard about them, but this one was right in my back yard.

    I was delighted first to see the whole course was fenced.

    I have an eight inch dog, that is just dynamite. He is not able to perform the poles at 24″ the way I want him to. He hits the entry like he’s going to eat them up, but he is 5lbs, and really short strided, so he canters one pole, will drop a hind lead, and trot. This is not acceptable to me, so I went over to this trial thinking all the tiny equipment, small dogs, 21″ poles. The people told me this venue is also going to go to 24″ poles, I just need to know if that is the case please.

    • budhouston Says:

      I personally prefer the weave poles set at 18″ for the TDAA. While it’s true that the world is going to 24″ poles; that’s just not rational for small dogs.

      The world is going to 24″ that’s for sure. But we won’t do so in the TDAA so long as I have anything to say about it. That being said, the TDAA is a member-run organization. If they all go crazy there’s not a lot I can do about it.

      Thanks for your note. And welcome to the TDAA!

      Bud Houston

  2. Kim Says:

    Bud I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Letting go is so hard, but in the end it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give our beloved pets. Enjoy the wonderful memories she left you with.

  3. Carole Says:

    2006 – USDAA – Performance National Standard

    I also send best thoughts regarding Banner. She can always be a young dog in your heart.

  4. Nancy Hoffman Says:

    My sympathies on your loss of Banner. Hold close to your wonderful memories.

    I had this happen to me in a NADAC tunnelers run, I ran right into Stewie, thinking he would have turned already. I am more careful now!

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