Wasted Space in TDAA Course Design

As the TDAA course reviewer I see a number of courses in which large pieces of real estate on the available course map are not used. Designing courses for the TDAA is already a difficult task given the small spaces in which we often work. If the course design neglects unused real estate… then the task actually becomes more difficult and leads to a compression of the obstacles into narrow confines.

Here’s a very typical example. This was probably caused by my general observation: the approach to the first and last hurdles require a minimum of 10’ between the ring barrier and the placement of that hurdle. What the course designer in this case has done is treated the 10’ as a general admonition against placing the “course” against the front of the ring.

Unfortunately failing to use the front of the ring has created a terrible compression against the sequence shown here. The pinwheel, for example, is far too tight and becomes a bit of a “toybox” sequence that fast working dogs will find more than challenging.

What I’ve done here, as a fix… is to move the table down towards the front of the ring. I’ve given about 3’ from the table to the ring barrier. And now I’ve gone back through the designed sequence and provided ample and adequate room between obstacles in the jumping sequence appropriate to TDAA standards.

And, please note, even after spreading things out nicely, the extra space afforded me on the course map gave me room to put a dogwalk up at the top of the ring without encroaching or creating compression back against the field.

We can take this another step… by using a bit of horizontal real estate at the front of the ring. I’ve draw both the table and the pipe tunnel towards the front of the ring. Now I’ve opened up as much as another 300 ft2 at the top of the ring in which I managed to put yet another “line” of obstacles to occupy that space.

So from our original sequence we can see that a very simple and straightforward use of wasted space gives us a huge bit of free area that makes the course easier to design and less of a “toybox” feel.

Note too in this drawing that I’ve drawn the start and finish obstacles down to a literal 10’ from the front of the ring. This represents  the minimum adequate approach to first hurdle and dismount from the last. The table next to the starting jump poses no real problem for the dog being set up to begin the course.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

He said ~ “I didn’t bring my bathing suit.”.

She said ~ ???

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.

9 Responses to “Wasted Space in TDAA Course Design”

  1. Deb Watson Says:

    What’s a bathing suit?

  2. LBD Says:

    What’s a bathing suit?

  3. Pugahontas Says:

    OK my husband perked up when he saw this one! We watch all these old movies ALL the time — usually the MST3K versions!
    He says it is something along the lines of Altair?? stupidly saying
    What’s a Bathing Suit?

  4. Pugahontas Says:

    PS I agree about the wasted space — esp running with a 16″ dog! Great suggestions for course design!

  5. Coleene Says:

    We talked about how much open space was available on several courses at our last trial. I know I often feel the course is cramped until it is actually built I marvel at the space available. Perhaps it is part of the translation from paper to the actual three dimentional course or maybe just me!

  6. Holly Says:

    What’s a bathing suit?

  7. Peggy Rodinak Says:

    I would like to put in a plug for my Tabletop sets. (Agility Tabletop Course Designer) I think this is a good example where one might be helpful. You can see the actual pieces all to scale. I was amazed when I saw for the first time, a real set of Teacup obstacles.

  8. Deb Auer Says:

    Altaira: [swiming in a pool] Come on in.
    Commander John J. Adams: I didn’t bring my bathing suit.
    Altaira: What’s a bathing suit?
    Commander John J. Adams: [quickly turning his back] Oh, murder!

    Thanks for the salute to Leslie Nielsen. Did you know he was legally deaf?

    • budhouston Says:

      I didn’t know that he was legally deaf.

      Forbidden Planet was one of those important movies of my youth that made me a die-hard sci-fi fan. People tend to think of Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling comic in movies like “Airplane”… but there was a time that he played dashing young heroic roles.

      Movies in the 50’s weren’t really so riske’. Anne Francis was actually wearing a flesh-tone bathing suit.


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