Archive for October, 2010

Shark Bait

October 26, 2010

The seminar curriculum in Pocatello was unique. On day one we did Handler Movement as the topic; on day two Distance; on day three Strategies. While I think I could spend two weeks on any one of the three topics without being terribly repetitive, it was a fun format for a homogenous group giving more variety of presentation than you can get out of any fixed topic.

On Distance day I made the usual observation that all distance training begins with teaching the dog the obstacles. While this might sound obvious ~ it’s not as simple a task as you’d think. For example many dogs don’t really own an independent performance of certain obstacles… like the weave poles or the contacts.

I was reminded of a lesson plan I wrote about ten years ago (a week in February of 2000 to be precise.) We ran an exercise called “Shark Bait”. The main goal of this suite of exercises is to test weave pole performance. Notice that the end of the weave poles is only 9′ from either tunnel entrance.

Can your dog ignore the allure of the tunnel and complete his job in the poles?

If your dog just can’t help himself and cuts out of the poles or actually takes the tunnel, don’t get mad. Just bring him back and give it another try. If he’s still sucked out of the poles by the tunnel, simplify the challenge so that he’s successful. For example, do the poles in the opposite direction with a lot of reward and praise for a successful completion.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Brain Fart ~ In the Google-proof Trivia Contest yesterday… I wrote “Godunov”; but I really meant to say “Badunov”.

When I got the answer ~ Lyudmila Vlasova ~ (which I’ll call a draw between “gscindy” and Mary Thompson), I had to go Google it myself and so got a delightful history lesson… and even now appreciate who that bad guy was in the original Diehard movie: http://www.alexandergodunov.com/

And on to today’s question:

He was Badenof. Who was she?

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

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

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Pocatello Illusion

October 25, 2010

I delight in prospecting illusions in agility course design. I put up the following working set for our final exercise on Sunday in Pocatello.

This short course might be considered to be two distinct parts: the flow to the table and the flow after the table. Certainly the second part is more technical. But it is the first part that illustrates the illusion that I was going after.

This is a part that runs tougher than it walks. The most common error was a simple refusal on the inside of a jump. Though there was too the occasional dropped bar.

After running I asked everybody “how many corners are in this sequence, from the start, to the table?” The most common answer was “six”. And only one person answered correctly: “two”.

Handling should always begin with an analysis of the dog’s path. The opening series of jumps were deliberately set to suggest an arc with six discrete points. So the handler is tempted to run the “arc” showing the constant acceleration of change of direction and frankly complicates the opening to have six timing events rather than only two.

One of the basic laws of a dog in motion is that a dog tends to move in a path parallel to the handler’s path. This is the guiding principle of the parallel path lead-out. The handler of the very fast and well focused dog could use this to minimize the length of the handler’s path; ensuring the best speed from the dog; and removing much of the risk associated with getting behind; (because, as we all know, dog forward of the handler tends to curl back to the handler’s position).

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

He was Godunov. She was?

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

BLOG667

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

666

October 20, 2010

This is web-log entry #666, the number of the devil; or so I’ve been told. Back when I lived up in Ostrander my phone number exchange was 666. My mother wouldn’t even call me.

Anyhow, tonight I’m very busy. I’m going to make a bid to take back ownership and control of the TDAA. More information on that can be found here: The Coup: http://wp.me/p18bml-1. It’s probably of interest only to TDAA people. And mostly it’s a matter of somebody stepping up to assume a position of responsibility so that our systems and programs actually work. That’s just too much to call on a “committee” to get done.

It’s not that I’ve lost faith in the concept of a member-run organization. The real problem is how to go about putting into place a body of representative volunteers that can do the job. Invariably politics raises its ugly head. So what I’m seeking to do is run the organization as a benevolent dictatorship while continuing the broad participation and input of the members of the association.

Just what I needed… another full-time job.

It’s Been A Tough Day

I’ve reviewed something like 60 TDAA courses for upcoming competition. I’ve been tidying up for a tricky TDAA board meeting this evening. Plus from about 6:00 I have a class and a couple private lessons. Right now I gotta go feed dogs and go out to set something interesting in the building. In the meantime I’ve had to pack for Pocatello. I’m leaving at O’dark:30 in the morning.

I’ll try to share with you what we do in Pocatello.

Evening Class

I set up this game of In & Out in class this evening. It’s wickedly fun… and very tough for the fast dog handler. I won’t belabor the rules. Just think of it as a numbered sequence.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

Sticky Wicket

October 19, 2010

This is a training game aimed at teaching a special skill that most dogs in agility need to learn… getting measured.

Sticky Wicket is based on a numbered course. Near the middle is a table upon which sits a measuring device. When the dog gets up on the table the required performance will be a stand. The measuring judge will swing the bar of the measuring device and drop it down at the dog’s withers. When the measurement is done the judge will give the handler the measured number and say “Okay”. When the measuring judge says “Okay” the dog may leave the table and continue the sequence.

Please note that the measuring judge may say other things to the handler while the dog is on the table; things like “your dog needs to stand!” or “he needs to be close enough to the pole that the arm will reach his back!” or “make him look up, not down!” The measuring judge will patiently wait to get a correct measurement. But the dog’s time continues to run no matter how long it takes.

On and off the table faults will not be assessed in this game.

Sticky Wicket is scored Time, Plus Faults, Plus Inches; (I like this scoring basis because my dog jumps 8″). The dog with the smallest score wins.

Just So You Know

The course used for this game is a combination of two training sequences that are bridged together with the table. The game can be played either before or after the practice of the two sequences. It’s more interesting if you play it before.

Note: Wickets can be used for measuring dogs. Some agility venues don’t require a true measurement and use wickets.

Join Me Tomorrow

Do come  back  to read my blog tomorrow. I have a special surprise planned. I’ll be publishing it quite late… I reckon about 9:00 pm EST.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

Lessons in Leading Out

October 18, 2010

Because I have a continuing interest in distance training for agility dogs I’m always looking for ways that distance skills help solve routine handling riddles. I’ve taken the following from the set of Van Deusen’s “Toughest Six Jumps” to pose the riddle.

What we have in this sequence is the old counter-side tunnel trick following jump #3. Clearly the flow favors the right side of the tunnel; but the tricky judge has put the number on the left side.

The handler will see the challenge down field; will likely take a lead-out to be in position to solve.

The real problem in our too one-dimensional handling world is that the problem isn’t forward and straight down the line at all. The down-the-line lead out comes close to putting the handler in a control position, but doesn’t actually accomplish that feat at all.

The challenge is a lateral challenge… and not forward at all.

This sequence provides a great opportunity for either a parallel path lead-out… or for a sling-shot start (as pictured here). With the handler working at a robust lateral distance he’ll be able to easily gain the control position forward of the dog to solve the riddle.

Of course there are some skills and mechanics that bear discussion. The handler has a job to do from that “control position”. I’ll likely discuss these details in the next Jokers Notebook… if I can get my butt in gear enough to go write the thing.

Busy Busy

Okay, I’m in my busy season to be sure. I have a lot of TDAA business I must attend to; I have the TOP DOG project ongoing (more on that later); I’m involved in starting up a local AKC club; I have classes and private lessons to conduct at home; and I have a heap of chores to do (it’s time to start winterizing the property). Oh… and this weekend next I’ll be in Pocatello, ID leading a handling seminar. I’m really looking forward to that.

You’ll note that I’ve temporarily stopped writing “Bud’s Google-Proof Trivia Contest”. I’m going to put it back in my blog when I’ve finished Jokers Notebook #6. Right now that “book” is a shambles of notes and scraps that have to be drawn together into a cohesive product. As soon as I have room to breath I’ll turn my attention to that.

You know… when I send out the notebook to a trivia contest winner I always include a note that says if they have won multiple copies that they should send that duplicate to some agility training buddy with my compliments. Do you know I’ve never seen a single note from anybody that says they got a free copy from a friend? Strange, that.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

The Toughest Six Jumps

October 16, 2010

The toughest six jumps in the Petit Prix were the core feature of Wayne Van Deusen’s standard course in the Quarter Finals, at the end of day on Saturday. You can follow them on this course map:  #6 through #11.

My girl Hazard actually won the 8″ division on this course. That’s astounding to me. She certainly wasn’t the fastest dog in the class. I knew when walking the course that the thing I had to do with the six jumps is to attack them, rather than try to survive them. No guts no glory. Right?

The key to the jumping sequence is #7. I knew that I had to beat her to the #7 jump in order to conduct an efficient turn (pre-cue the turn even). The biggest fault rate in the class happened after this jump as too many dogs took the wrong course over #9 because the handler was OOP and couldn’t handle the transition.

I closed the sequence after the wrap at #8 with a couple Blind Crosses, a racing movement mind you; from #9 to #10 and from #10 to #11.

Back at the Ranch

I couldn’t wait to set up this jumping sequence back home where I had a series of private lessons (for boot camp students) and classes. Of course I had to adjust the spacing for big dogs.

The use of the dogwalk was mostly to fairly approximate the approach to the jumping sequence. You’ll note that the closing, after jump #9, is significantly different. My little building (62′ by 100′) won’t accommodate the full course with big-dog spacing.

Still jump #5 is the key to the puzzle. The requisite strategic skill is understanding that the handler should be at a broad lateral distance from the dog on the dismount of the dogwalk… actually close enough to jump #4 to touch it as the dog dismounts the ramp. This give the handler an ample advantage in real estate to get to jump #5 forward of the dog to manage the tricky turn back to jump #6.

A Small Variation

It was easy enough to add a jump in the transition from #6 to #7 (now #8). While this might seem to simplify, it actually adds quite a layer of complication. As previously set the handler could use a rear cross at jump #6 to effect the wrap around the jump… and then he could hot-foot it to be forward of the dog for the closing. Now the handler is obligate to support the dog out over the new jump #7 and may lose his position forward of the dog… if the dog has any speed whatsoever.

Join Me!

Join me again tomorrow and for the next few days as I play a bit of “What do you make of this?” and find other interesting training/sequencing puzzles in this set of equipment.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

Only a Game?

October 12, 2010

I had a long sleepless night to muddle through the difficulties with the Petit Prix. And lest you think that it was pangs of conscious that kept me awake, never you mind. I took the red-eye home.

Here’s the deal… we advanced many of the wrong dogs into the Final Round and failed to advance many who deserved it under our tournament rules. Around the first of November, 2009, I published the Tournament Rules clearly stating that a dog’s scores would be cumulative through both the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final rounds.

However, our automated scoring system dumped all of background points from the Quarter-Finals when it advanced dogs in to the Semi-Finals. I actually found out about this as I waited in line to walk the first of the two Semi-Final courses. I was telling somebody that they need not fret because they had enough points from the first six contests to breeze into the finals no matter what they did in the Quarter-Final Round… and I was corrected on the point by somebody nearby.

An electric jolt went through me. I hunted down our developer to see if this was true. He confirmed this scoring and told me that it was based on a conversation he and I had at last year’s Petit Prix. Well you know, I had at least 400 conversations at last year’s event… and I’ll be darned if I remember this one. And I clearly did not because I published the Tournament Rules not a month later with contrary advice.

A Perfect Storm

I know what I should have done. I should have brought the matter to the trial committee and insisted that they hand score the results from the Semi-Final rounds; carrying the background points forward. It would likely have added two or three hours to our day.

I immediately saw this as a huge conflict of interest. I’m at the Petit Prix as an exhibitor and have no association with the trial committee at all. My girl Hazard had enough Semi-Final points that I could have sat out the Quarter Finals altogether; an idea I had truly considered following the model of Mark Wittig from the 2009 Petit Prix. It just would not have looked very good for me to approach the trial committee and demand that they change the scoring to benefit my dog.

I actually knew—to explain the electric jolt that went through me—that suddenly it didn’t matter that Hazard had done well in the first six contests. Now everything was riding on the two games of the Semi-Finals. Hazard and I would have to prove ourselves again.

Several hours later something else occurred to me… what I should have done is make sure that everyone had the same electric jolt as me. We should have stopped the world and told everyone what dumping the Quarter-Final background points would mean to them. It would mean that they had to focus and prove themselves yet again. They might or might not have done so… but at least they wouldn’t be blind-sided. And frankly, had we had the conversation it might very well have come to pass that everyone would insist on hand scoring the Quarter-Finals even if it did cost us an extra two hours or three.

At the End of the Day

This was my fault. To be fair to the players in the 2010 Petit Prix somebody needed to step up and do the right thing. I clearly failed to do so.

What this means is that I should not show my own dogs in the TDAA. While I think my motives were correct; in the final analysis my actions were not. At this late date I’m sorry that I ever turned the TDAA over to membership. It makes me just another “club” functionary who can step aside when the hard decisions need to be made and claim “it’s not my job man!” I should have taken ownership when called upon to do so.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

Speed Trap

October 6, 2010

It’s not true that everything in agility favors the fast dog. Here is a riddle that is deliciously difficult. If a handler can run with his dog then most puzzles can be solved simply by running forward to show the dog which way to go. The fast dog handler has no such luxury.

The obvious question in this simple sequence is whether the handler can draw the dog between the two pipe tunnels. That’s really a two-part question: 1) can the handler be in position to draw the dog between the two pipe tunnels and 2) does the handler and dog have the skill or tool to accomplish that feat.

The Answer

I have all of these hundreds of exercises that I’ve done at least a dozen times with other dogs, dogs that are gone now, and certainly not my motivated young boy Kory. I’m fairly determined to drag out all of these old cool exercises over the next couple of years to test my skill and develop teamwork with Kory.

Of course there really is no one correct answer. I’ve already said that if you can run with your dog that is probably the most correct answer for you; and yet you will still need the skill or handling tool to slip the dog between the two pipe tunnels.

I actually had to practice this several times to get the elements right; but I’ll tell you how I solved.

I started by layering to the opposite side of the first pipe tunnel; taking some care to cover the entry of the tunnel with a blocking step. Even in this I relied on Kory’s 2o2o on the teeter for me to get settled in the control position between the two pipe tunnels.

Saying I “relied” is a bit of a fib. We practiced this several times as he found the notion that I’d be layering the tunnel and staying in motion to be a bit over-stimulating. This will be in my practice notes for the next few months.

The next bit is basically just a call to hand. Note that I present the hand just past the outside plane of the two pipe tunnels. My command to Kory is “Close”; and what I’ve trained him to do is run up and bump my hand with his nose. Sometimes he bumps it with his teeth which I might find unsettling except that he manages to do so with considerable restraint.

I really have to show both of the next two elements as they hinge on what I called the control position. The point at which I did the call to hand was carefully chosen. I need to make a one-step send out to jump #2 (black lines) and then immediately apply pressure out to the tire at #3 (red lines) on the other side of the tunnel.

Finally I will again call to hand in the gap between the tunnels. The real difficulty here is if I had to put too much pressure out to the tire then I have to hurry scurry to get back to this position. Remind me to add to my training notes a “call to hand” while I’m in full motion. Usually this is a static exercise.

I don’t really need to draw the final send to jump #4. Once the dog has passed between the two pipe tunnels there’s not too much that can go wrong.

The Cedars Inn: Review by a Cheap Scot Traveler

I am a cheap Scot. I admit to that. You can ask my brother. Over the years I’ve learned to look for the bargains but admit to being far less persnickety when somebody else is paying the bill. Okay, I’m paying for this week of travel. As a consequence I have the red-eye experience both going and coming; and I’ve booked the bargain basement lodging… the Cedars Inn, in Auburn, Washington.

It turns out Cedars Inn is very much like you’d expect in a Motel 6 or Econolodge that has been taken over by the prodigal son of an Indian family who’ve shipped the kid off to exploit a family business. It’s a business in some disrepair, I’m afraid.

While my room has a microwave, a fridge, a toilet, and a television (with HBO mind you)… it’s still a bit of a “roughing it” experience. I actually packed my house slippers on this trip. Because I was traveling with an under-seat dog I knew I’d have to allow Delta airlines to rip me off for a “bag fare” and so I brought along a big bag… which had room for some frivolous items. It is fortunate (now I get to my point) that I brought along the house slippers because my room has one of those carpets that should have been thrown away two years ago and you’re afraid to put your bare feet down on it.

The electric in the room is over-encumbered by the demands of all the “stuff”. Like I said it has a microwave and a fridge. Alongside the television console/chest of drawers is a worktable with a light that isn’t actually plugged in because there is no unused socket available. I had to stretch the cord to my computer across the room to get it plugged in. On the up side (??) my computer cable actually does stretch all the way across the room because the room is that tiny.

The room has an old retro heater/cooler wall unit that is unassociated with any thermostat. So when you put it on low cool it blasts out cold air until the room is frigid; and when you put it on low heat it blasts out hot air until the room is uncomfortably hot.

I should have packed a pillow don’t you know. My queen-sized bed has two terribly deflated pillows that weren’t that damn big before they gave up the ghost and settled into hard little lumpy pallets. And my girl Hazard spoiled queen bee that she is assumed her “I own this one” nest on one of the two (and I suspect, the better of the two).

There’s no coffee service in the room and in the lobby they don’t put out coffee until 7:00 a.m. in the morning. And, since I got up at 4:00 a.m. this morning (that would be 7:00 a.m. EST) I wound up walking about a half a mile to an all night diner/casino to buy a cup of java. They have casinos in Washington? Who’d have known that? Anyhow, I didn’t gamble. I just bought a humongous cup of coffee for the road. On the way down I was pretty sure I was going to be mugged (at 4:00 in the morning mind you) as two young lads trailed me for about a half a block. There was a time in my life where I looked more like and moved more like a predator than a mark and I walked dark streets with some disdain. But I’m feeling pretty damn mortal these days. Lolz

And speaking of security, there’s a stairway that leads up to the door of the second floor, about two doors down from my room. There’s a big sign that proclaims that it’s an emergency exit only and an alarm will sound when it opens. All night long though it was jammed open where somebody had left a washcloth to keep it from actually clicking shut. I admit that I moved in and out of this door and I’m thankful for the handy washcloth.

Though this hotel accepts dogs it has no grassy area to walk a dog. Fortunately across the street is the back-end of a Lowes that has a grassy lush and well-manicured island between the sidewalk and its blank side. And it is the perfect opportunity and venue for a long walk with a dog. And yes, I pick up after my dog on all such outings.

My final complaint about this place—if this can really be called complaining—is that the toilet paper has been put on back-wards. You know that toilet paper should drop over the top and forward… right? I don’t know why this detail bugs me. To tell you the truth it always strikes me as a display of how well trained is the house-keeping staff.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

How do you say “Idaho” in Spanish?

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

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

Boot Camp Puzzle

October 5, 2010

Following is a bit that came from a training session with my “boot camp” students. It evolved from a progressive exercise for teaching the dog a serpentine as though it is a single obstacle with multiple elements.

Ideally the serpentine is introduced to the dog with an aggressive angled approach to the first hurdle. This allows the dog’s path to flatten out through the line of jumps making the overall length of the dog’s path shorter; and allowing the dog to work at a brisk pace.

Too often the course designer will include the serpentine but force a terrible angle which makes the dogs’ initial turn hard aback.  If the dog is moving with any speed at all this will introduce a wobble from which the dog is unlikely to recover before the serpentine is spent. It’s just a matter of physics.

I’ve always considered this an error in course design. But I’m quickly coming to believe that this is actually an opportunity for the clever handler to differentiate himself from the pack.

In this sequence the first jump in the serpentine is introduced at a terrible angle that forces an acute turn from #2 to #3. One of the skills we’ve been working on in the “boot camp” format is a pre-cue at the turning jump. Certainly this has a couple of dependencies. First of all the handler has to be able to arrive at the jump forward of the dog to signal the impending turn. And, of course, the mechanics of the pre-cue itself should be well tested with the dog.

The point of the pre-cue is to get the dog wrapping tightly into the turn while committing over the jump. This will bring the dog into a flat and efficient path as neatly as if the jump had been approached from the aggressive and correct angle in the first place. The dog might not be moving quite as fast initially… but the gently turning serpentine will allow him to get up to a brisk working speed.

Another option would be to draw the dog off the A-frame and shape or wrap around the handler’s body for the flat path trajectory. I believe most would call this a V-set. To tell you the truth this is probably riskier handling and not likely to give better results than the pre-cue turn at the jump.

In any case, it is better to look at the serpentine presented badly as an opportunity to steal a few seconds from the competition rather than a course design flaw.

The Early Bird?

My flight out of Columbus left at 6:40 a.m. this morning. I’m on the plane as I write this. I had to get up at 3:00 a.m. to make the two-hour drive to the airport. Hazard is under the seat and appears content to be with me. I hope to get my internal clock right over the next day or two.

I begin the week with two days of mini-clinics. My objective will be to teach the strategies of the games that we’ll be playing in the Petit Prix; using the rules exactly as they will be presented. And of course I’ll have my usual bit to say—and demonstrate—about handler movement in courses of TDAA dimension. And if I have to talk about dog training I’ll do that too. But on the eve of the Petit Prix the hour is late for training ambition.

Through the week I’ll try to apprize my blog of goings on at Argus Ranch, in Auburn, Washington. So do check back.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

You make the call using TDAA rules for performance: A dog starts the performance of the weave poles and then stops mid-way, clearly and significantly hesitating before continuing. What is the fault (if any)? What is the judge’s hand signal for the fault?

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

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

Safe Harbor

October 2, 2010

Safe Harbor is a training game. It is a game suitable for competition so long as the competition is relaxed and unhurried, if such a thing exists.

Time begins when the dog crosses the start line. The course begins with two jumps… to the table. The table is the Safe Harbor. Time will stop (not end) when the dog is on the table and every time the dog is on the table. No obedience position is required.

After the start, the course will consist of four elements and are run in this order:

  1. Yellow cones #1 to #3;
  2. Yellow cones #11 to #15;
  3. Pink cones #1 to #7;
  4. Pink cones #11 to #16.

After each element the dog returns to the table to stop time. Time ends when the dog returns to the table after the fourth element.

Call Training!

The handler may call for as many as two training runs for each element. The handler must declare “Training!” before the dog leaves the table (so the time-keeper will know not to restart the clock).

After a training run the handler may reward the dog. If using a toy to reward the dog gets a to leave the table without penalty (or time starting).

Scoring and Qualification

Safe Harbor is scored faults, then time. Fewest faults wins; time is a tie-breaker only.

A clean round (zero faults) is required to qualify. A Standard Course Time will be established using the rates of travel from the respective level and jump height of the dog.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

One of the greatest murder mystery novels ever written, in the first half of the 20th Century, featured a famous detective. The narrator of the story was the detective’s assistant and as it turns out, in a curious plot twist, also the murderer.

What was the name of the book?

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

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.