Cinci Poodle Club Day 1

I had a fun and interesting day at the Poodle Club AKC trial in Cincinnati.

I have this great relationship with the Cincinnati club. I lead a seminar on Friday in exchange for entries and expenses for the weekend (travel, accommodations and entries). So they get this inexpensive and hard hitting warm-up for the weekend… and I get to show my boy on a great surface in a top notch facility. Not a bad trade at all. Tho next time I think I’m going to upgrade my hotel. The Motel 6 is rather more Spartan that a Red Roof… if that’s saying anything.

In the analyses that follow I want to remind you that I’m cultivating the Old Man’s Handling System. Fundamentally that means the I look for the control positions on course and then use my dog’s terrific distance working skills to allow me  to work from control position to control position while he works away on the more mundane and obvious sequences.

This is a unique system in our culture. And since no-one else has taken the effort to document the beast, I will endeavor to do so with my own exploits.


I was slow to rouse in my hotel room even with a timely wake-up call this morning so I missed the walk-thru for T2B. But don’t you know T2B is about as complicated as a Novice course so I scammed it on the course map and it all went just hunky dory.

Watching most of the class before I went into the ring  the problematic part of the course was on the dismount of the weave poles as many dogs had such focus on the pipe tunnel ahead that the turn to jump #13 was a rocky moment in the course.

I took a nice long parallel path lead-out before releasing my boy and then sent him down through jumps #5 and #6, calling him back up through jump #5 to the teeter at #8. My control position was near the dismount of the teeter. I gave him a “Left” at jump #10 and layered to the opposite side of jumps #9 and 10 as he did the weave poles away. My answer to the problem bit in the course was to have the distance to easily sell the turn to jump #13 and then flip him away to the pipe tunnel.

This was a fun start to the day as Kory had a nice clean run and the fastest time of all dogs. It was THE Time to Beat. He’s been in T2B four times now and has 40 points going forward.


Straight away I need to identify my control positions on this course. This was easy for me to figure. Note the hard dismounts from both the teeter and the dogwalk. Kory is a leggy enough dog that he can have a 2o2o on a contact… and not actually have his back feet in yellow paint. So my control positions had to be at the tippy end of both obstacles so I could keep his body straight. I suppose I should teach a straight dismount; but it’s counter-intuitive that he should face straight away when I’m behind him. The answer is to not be behind him.

So I started with him up around jump #3 and send him down to do the 180 turn. This allowed me to do a nice front cross and draw him through the double at #3 and had me right there with him on the dismount of the teeter. So I pulled him around right and sent him down through #6 and on to #8 while I layered to the opposite side of the table.

Yeah it was an impressive bit of distance work. Get over it. That’s Kory through and through. He doesn’t need me in any proximity at all… he’ll just keep working.

I worried a little over the dummy jump beyond jump #8. But you know, I told him “Left! Lie down! Walk up!” (yes, I really did say all that) and it wasn’t anything but the dogwalk for him.

Before I go on I should say that Kory won the class as was fastest time in the building… I mention it here because it was the neat turn from the dogwalk to the table that made the difference in his time and just about every other fast dog time. With most every other handler racing their dogs the length of the dogwalk, no other dog but Kory had the perfect 90° turn off the dogwalk to the table. And that was the consequence of my control position.

From the table it was simple to turn him left at jump #11, through the tire, on to the tunnel and into the weaves, the turn to the collapsed chute, the turn away into the pipe tunnel at #16. Now we arrive at the place in the course that NQ’d most everyone who NQ’d on this course… and that is the turn from #17 to #18. You’ll have to recognize that the dog has a very foreshortened turning radius between these two jumps and with the compelling collapsed tunnel in the transitional turn more than a few dogs got the refusal at jump #18. So savvy handlers would step up to the corner of jump #8 to show a squaring Front Cross… but this left them hopelessly OOP to manage the approach to the tunnel under the A-frame discrimination.

For me it was a magic moment. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching Kory the name of the obstacles in the discrimination; and he has about a 90% success rate with the discrimination by name only. 90% was good enough for us today. I didn’t have any kind of control on the downside of the A-frame. But Mr. Etzel determined that it was good to go… so I released him on to the final jump while I was considerably behind.


By the time the dust settled on the standard class I was feeling pretty invincible. Can you say “Cocky”?

What I was most worried about on this course was selling the turn from jump #9 to #10 without losing my boy into the pipe tunnel. I was prepared to show a pre-cued Flip that would absolutely thrill the natives. But I lost Kory to the wrong-course single-bar jump along side the triple in the turn from jump #6 to #7. I had the good grace (I’m thinking) to depart the course with my failed plan.

So, I won’t bother to share the rest of my handling plan.

Pride goeth before the fall, don’t you know.

The Joker’s Notebook Issue #0

Issue #0 is the training manual for distance work intended as the foundation for the continuing series. The Jokers Notebook is the natural progression and evolutions of Bud Houston’s distance training originally published as Go the Distance.

These lesson plans and exercises are suitable for classroom instruction or back yard training by the intrepid enthusiast of dog agility.

Jokers Notebook #0 is an electronic book for download only: Our Price: $10.00.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. 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.

3 Responses to “Cinci Poodle Club Day 1”

  1. katie Says:

    Way to go Bud and Kory!!

  2. Bernadette Says:

    We need to get you to post videos as well! 🙂

  3. beth murray Says:

    Ditto Bernadette…
    We all learn by observing as well!

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