Speed Trap

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.


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.

6 Responses to “Speed Trap”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    Could be simply “Idaho”.

    Or “gema de las montañas” “gem of the mountains”.

    Or “salida del sol” “sunrise”.

  2. Michelle Says:

    And Bud, I thought you were at the Peppertree!!!!
    I’ll try and bring you breakfast…………….

  3. Linda Says:

    Bud, Love your hotel experience! I (and other agility competitors)stopped going to a Red Roof in a certain Southern town when the place became so filthy that you wanted to put booties on your dogs. The last time I stayed, there was blood on the carpet and wall near the sink. Unfortunately, this place is still operating as a Ref Roof.

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