Stand in the Middle

Okay, my boy Kory is now officially a legend in Cincinnati. It came down something like this: On Saturday Kory earned his last Exc A Jumpers Q, and so I moved him up for Exc B Jumpers on Sunday. On Sunday the judge, David Hirsch said in briefing that a handler should be able to stand in the middle of the course; and he had to say, in the briefing, “Maybe Bud could do it with Kory.” OMG… it was kind of like a challenge, just hanging out there.

Here’s the course, by the way:

I marked an “X” in the middle of the course so you could see the box where I basically hung out to handle my dog.

By some great lark, we pulled it off. Kory ran clean and won his class and, obtw, earned 19 MACh points; and all of this with me hot-dogging my first time out in Excellent B. It was fun and entertaining. Sometimes that’s more important than another grind for the Q. Don’t you think?

I’ll share my analysis below.

I have a video here:

Handling Plan for the Distance Challenge

Think of this course as three Masters gambles, each a heartbeat apart. The smallest thing could make the whole thing go awry.

#1 thru #5

I worried over jump #4. After the modest bend to jump #3, I had to give just enough pre-cue to make the subtle turn to a jump with very low visual acuity. So with me on his left side, to influence the direction of turn, I gave a modest across the body lead-hand pre-cue. Note too that I “framed the tunnel” by calling out the command at the moment he had his nose in line with the jump and tunnel.

#6 thru # 15

With Kory coming out of the tunnel I pushed to the far side of the box to give support to the #6 jump. And from my position inside the box I gave some counter-rotation so that he wouldn’t push hard out to a wrong course at jump #12. I gave a timely “Right” command on the approach to jump #9. And it was a good thing. I’m fairly sure he was ready to turn left at the jump, and I talked him out of it. You’ll note in the weave poles I give excited verbalization and movement at a distance. I just like to jazz him when he’s weaving.

The turn from jump #12 to #13 is more of a problem than it looks like. The tunnel option had to be in his imagination and I needed the turn to be neat. If we overshoot the turning corner then the dummy jump with the wings opens up to the dog in the too-wide turning radius.

#15 thru #19

Having Kory on my left was a bit problematic as he came through jumps #13 and #14, but I wanted to block and bend away from the #8 wrong course option. This left me on the wrong side of the turn at jump #16; but I trust in his directionals. I had to really work the “Left” command at jump #13 because the wrong side of the pipe tunnel is a powerful attraction to a dog in the turn, and it’s the first thing he sees. After jump #17 I used “Right” and Tunnel” commands. We finished with a “Go On” to jump #19. You can see me running out of the box. But I wanted to get control of my dog in a timely manner which is highly desirable in AKC competition.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. Be sure to check out my distance training series: The Jokers Notebook; an (inexpensive) elaboration and improvement on the work I did in Go the Distance.

6 Responses to “Stand in the Middle”

  1. Ronni Says:

    Sounds like a thrilling run! Too bad I couldn’t get your video link to work. : (


  2. Rose Says:

    Thanks for posting the video. You and Kory made that look so easy.


  3. Erica Says:

    It was even prettier in person. An amazing run for an amazing boy and his dog.

  4. Bernadette Says:

    Very nice!

  5. deborahauer Says:

    Somebody needs to wear a brighter colored shirt….(lol)

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