Forbidden Fruit

The AKC has these funny guidelines about what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in an agility course. I remember when the 270° was forbidden, back in the day. But then you’d show up at the AKC nationals (or more realistically at competition in Europe)… there would be that forbidden thing built into the course. Fortunately the agility handlers have other venues to hone their skills to prepare them for competition with the FCI in Europe.

Among the forbidden fruit today is the threadle, at least that’s the rumor I subscribe to. The threadle is an arrangement of obstacles having two placed in close proximity and intended to be taken in the same direction. Here’s an obvious and blunt example:

What I’ve been thinking is that the AKC course designer with the repressed artistic desire to put threadles in his course work could craftily disguise them. The trick is to not be overly obvious and blunt.

The threadle challenge is jump #4 to the pipe tunnel at #5. It’s really more than a counter-side tunnel challenge because the solution requires a zig-zagging dogs path; more than just a choice of left and right.

Return to Witch Mountain

From the discussion of Bicket’s IHC Standard that I posted several days ago, I suggested that the numbering of jump #10 must have been an error.

Carole writes a comment to the course: I watched a video of this course (2nd place dog) and the #10 jump was the backside as noted on the map.  Oh, the zaniness of International courses!

Remember that the release to the collapsed tunnel was from the end of the dogwalk, suggesting that in order to have position forward the handler would have to be working the dogwalk at an aggressive lateral distance (or the handler is a long legged kid with a quick step). But even being forward of the dog the handler must have the skill to draw the dog into sharp handler focus to position “X” (not shown in the drawing here, btw)… to open up the approach to jump #10 from the backside; and without losing the dog over the looming wrong course option.

I’d recommend teaching a call to hand for any dog in agility for moments of precision such as this. Zany indeed!

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston BudHouston@hughes.net. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. You know… I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an embarrassingly inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

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2 Responses to “Forbidden Fruit”

  1. Melissa Wallace Says:

    I have been lectured to read all of your posts, and I really should do this anyway because you present some good handling tips. This one is very instructive for me. I actually now have a dog who runs and is incredibly sensitive to my motion; I am often challenged in how to give the right combo of cues and know where I should be to give them.

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