Peggy’s Puzzle

I will collect course maps while I’m out in the world, or my students will bring them to me, so that we can practice challenges that appear in course design which mightn’t actually occur to me. As an instructor if the design of the challenge were always left to my invention they would almost always fit neatly within the confines of my own logic for design; and then my students wouldn’t be adequately prepared for what they’ll see in the real world.

Here’s a thing that was sent to me as a question of directional discrimination. I suppose that means that Peggy has a fast dog and would like to be able to solve by verbal direction or from some station behind the dog or with the handler otherwise out of the picture. In her note to me she wrote “I was at an AKC trial last week and saw this sequence in every course, whether jumpers or standard.”

Note that if the handler can actually outrun his dog… there are few challenges that cannot be solved if the handler has any skill whatsoever. I will not show the slow dog handling options in the discussion below. And even in the first numbered sequence which might be easily solved with a lead-out I will assume a running approach with the handler behind the dog.

For people with fast dogs every wobbly option in the course becomes an ample opportunity to miscue and to NQ. I cannot speak to the logic of the course reviewer that would allow the course designer/judge to inflict this challenge on the field in repetitive fashion. But ours is not to reason why.

The real difficulty here is that the handler must ask the dog to forgo a perfectly good entry to the pipe tunnel to avoid the wrong course. With dog on right the handler is probably disposing the dog to tuck into the wrong course end of the pipe tunnel; so dog-on-left is probably a better option for the approach.

Handling should always begin with a visualization of the dog’s path. The bit we don’t want is clearly the red line. So instead the handler will draw the dog into the blue line which is the converse and will hopefully pull the dog past any approach to the wrong course end of the tunnel. As the dog moves far enough to be out of reasonable danger of the approach the handler turn the dog back and away into the correct entry to the tunnel. This is a Post & Tandem approach to solve.

Sometimes the judge/course designer can be ingeniously evil. You can see here that he’s used the teeter on the approach to the puzzle in an effort to trap the handler with dog-on-right which is precisely what the handler did not want. Note too that the trajectory of the approach to jump #2 changes the dog’s approach to jump #3 so that it favors the wrong course entry to the pipe tunnel to a greater extent.

Nevertheless the description of the dog’s path is pretty much the same as it was with dog-on-left. The question is… what the handler will have to do to create that path. What I’ve drawn here is the handler using a Rear Cross to entice the dog into a right turn after jump #3; whereupon the handler will again use the Tandem on the flat to turn the dog back into the correct entry to the pipe tunnel.

Before we leave this discussion completely I should note that I’d be very interested in whether I could solve with verbal directive only. You’ll note in this drawing that I even begin with the handler on the wrong side to proof the verbal commands. I’m putting the “commands” on the course map approximately where the dog might be when I utter each word.

Registering a Dog with the TDAA On-line!

Effective immediately it will be possible to register a dog with the TDAA online. It’s a slightly imperfect process, but far more efficient that using the USPS to send forms and checks. It will work like this:

  1. On your browser go to:
  2. When the store opens at the top of the screen click on the category TDAA Webstore.
  3. Follow the link to: TDAA Forms and Applications.
  4. Purchase the registration (at the top of the list) as you would in any online web store. This store is very secure.
  5. You will be sent an option to download a form-fill PDF which you’ll send back to the TDAA ( And with any luck you’ll have your dog’s new TDAA number the same day.

This is a great option which will solve some of our registration problems by getting dogs into the system in a timely manner. This will also change the way the trial secretary deals with unregistered dogs. Rather than carrying dogs as “Pending”… the owner/handlers will be directed to the online registration.

We also have in the same area on-line options for:

Each works in the same manner as the dog registration. You pay for it online, get a form-fill PDF, and email it back to the TDAA.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

In the context of contact training in agility what does the acronym AL1RTO mean?


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: OMG! My web store is up and running. I still have a lot of work to do there. I’ll be closing down the eJunkie store; and we’ll be doing business again with the CFWebstore.

2 Responses to “Peggy’s Puzzle”

  1. Ronni Says:

    At least one rear toe on (according to Bud Houston’s glossary)!

  2. marshanix Says:

    In your 2nd example with the teeter, why couldn’t you do your rear cross after the teeter? With the rear cross at jump #2 I don’t think I could make it compelling enough to get the dog in the correct end of the tunnel.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: