Serpentines in Course Design

The real beauty of a serpentine in dog agility is the efficiency with which the dog might negotiate jumps presented in a flat line insinuating a nearly weaving movement from jump to jump.

However, the beauty of the performance can be lost when the approach is set at such an angle that a “wobble” is introduced. The physics of the dog’s movement demand adequate room in the turning radius for the dog to make a nearly 180° turning transition.

Mind you I am discounting for the moment the capacity of the handler to make a presentation of jump #2 (in this illustration) that pre-cues the turn from jump #2 to #3. It might very well be possible for the handler to draw the dog into a much more efficient turn. But you’ll just have to trust me that this is the exception, rather than the rule.

You can see in this drawing that the dog’s movement begins to flatten out. But it would take a serpentine of five jumps before the efficiency of the dog’s movement between jumps is as neat as can be. Not only is the dog’s path bigger and wider; but there will be a degradation in the dog’s speed in the hard-aback turn.

The course designer might be a bit more thoughtful in the presentation of the serpentine. If the dog’s angle of approach is more at 30° then the consequential degree of turn will be more at 30° as well. And there is no need to degrade the speed of the dog as there will be in a pre-cued turn or a hard-aback turn.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What do the authors of Brave New World, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the presidential Inaugural Address 1961 have in common?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the August Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special00” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


One Response to “Serpentines in Course Design”

  1. Jeff Whitsitt Says:

    John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley all died on Nov 22, 1963

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