Euro Puzzle

A lady named Jean from (presumably) Europe sent me the course map below. The course is designed in metric units.

Jean sent along this note:

This is a course I did at the weekend..  I stayed at the bottom of the course because of No 3 and 10.
 
After 11, I sent her on while I attempted to run up the side of the A-Frame.  By the time I was half way up she was already over 16 and heading for 6.  I’m not good at directing her while I am running.
 
My question is:  Is there any way I can teach my dog to do a push in as in No16 to 17 from a distance?
 
Incidentally I now realise I could have made my way up the side of the Dog Walk to get to the top of the course and directed her from the top which would have put me in a prime position for 16-17

Control Position Analysis

I think Jean’s analysis is spot on. She’s looking for a control position strategy for a fast well trained dog.

You can see what the judge has done here. The lower-left corner of the course features a depressed angle approach to jump #3 on the dismount of the weave poles, with an option on the approach and an option on the dismount. This is one of those moments that requires the handler to a) be lucky or b) be close enough to direct the dog through the technical moment.

This bit is followed by a fast run with the dog covering two very long sides of the ring; going into an incredibly technical bit: A 270˚ threadle with an inviting option in the dog’s turning radius. So the real question is whether the handler can get a position up in the crook of the turn to manage the very technical moment.

After jump #15 there’s a real possibility that the dog will turn left to a wrong course at jump #17 if the handler is OOP. But it sounds like Jean’s problem was losing her dog more towards jump #6, because she didn’t get into position in time.

I’m guessing that Jean’s dog doesn’t do a 2o2o on the teeter (we can be envious here). So it’s just a minor speed bump as the dog makes his way up the right side of the ring. So the riddle is… can the handler make it to the second control position?

Jean’s asks if there’s a way to do the 270˚ threadle (with option) at a distance. That would be a fine circus trick indeed. I can tell the dog to turn left; but that immediately exposes the option. With distance trained dogs we invest a lot of training effort in teaching good obstacle focus a distance. I (personally) have no protocol for teaching a dog to avoid an obstacle, at a distance.

Royal Units

I had to make a switch to metric just to lay out the course properly. The tool that was used to design the course was not the Clean Run Course Designer. To be honest I don’t even know if the jumps are winged.

We don’t see course design much like this in the U.S. It’s like a mad blend of NADAC with incredibly long speed building lines; interspersed with moments of horrific AKC technical whimsy.

I’m a little concerned with jump #20 being against the front of the ring. I’m guessing that they judge gave a bit more room on the dismount of the last jump when he tweaked the course.

You’ll never see the long transitions (#10 to #11; #11 to #12; #19 to #20) in American course design; at least, so far.

BLOG730

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston BudHouston@hughes.net. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore.

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2 Responses to “Euro Puzzle”

  1. Rose Says:

    Assuming this course is not up against the back wall of the ring, I would hustle toward the back between the DW and AF as you diagrammed and ask Belle to wrap right over 16 and call her over 17. That should give her a very nice line to the AF. Several things could go wrong with my plan. However, I know I could never get into position to wrap Belle for a threadle at 16.

    If the course is up against the back wall, then my only option would be to remain on the back end of the course after Belle has finished the DW and handle everything from 5 through 13 from the back of the course so I could get into position for the threadle at 16/17. This would be an iffy proposition at best. I’d have to take my sweet time moving along the 5-8 arc so that hopefully Belle would clear the weaves by the time I had to make my left turn to avoid running into the DW. Here’s a link to my proposed path: http://flic.kr/p/9UPFen

  2. Rose Says:

    I was finally able to set this course up and run it. This course was HUGE! The hardest bit was not biting on the off-course jump after #10. The next hardest thing was supporting Belle’s line to the tunnel until she passed the #5 jump. Layering the A-frame gave even this slow handler more than enough time to do a threadle at #17. However, I also tried my other two options. Here’s a link to the video: http://youtu.be/hvtGWODoC5k

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