OMW Knife River

I’m on my way early in the A.M, bound for Duluth, MN and five days of agility. I’ll be at Knife River… which conjures some interesting images…

Tomorrow is just a travel day. These can be a bit of a grind. I take my laptop along and try to get work done. Unrelenting.

The Letter C

Just a quick note on the letter “C” from Gyes’ Alphabet Drills:

I had taken note in the earlier drills that the spacing between obstacles is in the range of 17′ to about 18′. This is the kind of spacing you’re likely to find in the USDAA these days. NADAC calls for an evenly spaced 22’ between obstacles; the AKC and CPE require a minimum of 20′ between obstacles. The only venue that actually allows (demands) spacing tighter than this, is the TDAA where the big dogs are 12″ and 16″.

I’m not one to engage in histrionics, waving my arms around about “unsafe conditions” and so forth. Fact of the matter is, when the spacing is tighter you need to be keener in your timing and own skills like pre-cuing your intention to turn. The USDAA is not a venue for lollygaggers. That’s for sure.

Most of the alphabet drills are on a blank canvas so you don’t see the gridlines in background to understand the correct spacing. You could use the CRCD path tool to calculate a funky dog’s path (never believe the CRCD dog’s path).


This first simple sequence (of a couple dozen) is a variation of an exercise I’ve done for years. Wouldn’t you know it… it’s a distance exercise!

This illustration shows a simple Tandem Turn… the handler crossing behind the dog on the landing side of jump #2. Note that the dog and handler turn “in tandem” in the new direction of the course.

A dog turns most naturally in the direction of the handler. So in this practice we’re teaching the dog to turn away from the handler’s position. This is a very important foundation skill.

This is an example of a layered Tandem. When a dog really understands the Tandem it becomes an important tool in distance work. The Tandem creates acceleration and separation. Note that the timing events are all the same… but the handler has begun at a lateral distance from the dog so that dog’s path and handler’s path do not overlap. Still… the dog and handler turn “in tandem” in the new direction of the course.

Don’t let your eyes beguile you. Nancy not only made the spacing tight… she wasn’t entirely symmetrical, at all.

The turn from jump #2 to #3 is quite a soft turn, probably in the range of 30ish˚. If the handler shows the turning instruction with too much force at jump #2 the dog may turn hard-aback, giving the #3 jump a refusal miss to the inside. This is especially a problem with smaller dogs; but even a fast and long-striding dog can be quick in his interpretation of the turning movement.

The fix for the subtle soft turn is either to show a soft Tandem instruction (inside arm and loopy rotation); or to draw the corner and timing of the movement out on the flat after jump #2 a bit; or both.

Bud’s Google Proof Trivia Contest

In the movie Master and Commander after the first attack of the French privateer Acheron on the HMS Surprise, the Surprise was badly damaged and taking on water. In the depths of the ship a fellow ran a crew repairing the hull and pumping out water. What was likely the title of the position he served upon the Surprise? And what was the likely title of the position of the fellows that worked for him?


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.


7 Responses to “OMW Knife River”

  1. Erica Says:

    Midshipman? Ordinary Seaman?

    Very good movie!

  2. Christine Stephansen Says:


  3. Debbie Brewster Says:

    how about carpenter and mate

  4. Debbie Brewster Says:

    So I asked my mom that very question what would you call the carpenter on a ship her answer with (no hesitation, I hate playing trival prusit with her ) is shipwright

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