TDAA Course Review

I’ve created a YouTube video in which I hope to demonstrate how I approach course review in the TDAA. It’s certainly not comprehensive; but it sheds a bit of light on issues like compression, and handling interest. The judge’s name has been removed to protect the innocent.

It would be a lot of fun if I could do all of my course reviews by video. There’s something that’s lost in the written word. It’s harder to explain what you mean in text, than it is to show what you mean in the illustrated and moving picture.

Here’s a link to the short video that I created:

You’ll note that I’m unaccustomed to my editing tools. I hope to get better at it over time.


The second day of the AKC trial at the Queen City Dog Training Club didn’t go all that well for Kory and me. Both of my runs were fail. I’m quite glad that I had a couple runs that were quite superb on the first day. Otherwise I’d have looked the shambles.

There are several things that occurred to me on the drive home. I’ll take them in no particular order:

  • I strikes me that the courses at which we excelled were a good match to my handling system. That means we are most likely to succeed on a type of course. I have to take my training over the winter to solve a much broader range of challenges in agility. The courses at which we failed were bloody minded things in which I had to make a choice between control positions because there was no way I could attend each.
  • Even with my years of experience in agility I find both success and failure in competition begging the question of validation. In one moment I feel invincible; and in the next both out of control and unkempt. While I’m perfectly capable of losing with grace; it’s hard to have grace after a train wreck.
  • I found that Kory got more and more wired through the weekend. Initially he was quite settled and working at a reasonable pace for me to attend. But as the weekend drew on he was wilder, faster and less biddable each time we entered the ring. I will have to study a calming and control warm-up. I’m thinking maybe some down on recall exercises. Something else? I’ll have to study it.

In 2011 Kory exceeded my expectations in competition. This was year #2. This winter I will train for 2012 with a checklist of goals and objectives for performance. All things being equal I think my boy is right on track.

The Joker’s Notebook Issue #1

Jokers Notebook is a periodically published dog agility training resource. This issue includes five weeks of lesson planning based on a distance training theme. Each week also features a game of the week, instructors’ notes, and a handout for students.

122 pages.

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 #1 is an electronic book for download only.


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 “TDAA Course Review”

  1. Peggy Johnson Says:

    As I have a similar issue with my 3 y.o. BC getting “wilder, faster and less biddable” I will be very interested in what you come up with for a calming and control warmup — hope you’ll write about it.

    • budhouston Says:

      Peggy, I have for some time used a “control” word for contacts. As Kory approaches a contact obstacle I will tell him “Lie Down!” (then closely following) “Walk Up!” The purpose is to get through to his overly rambunctious brain that we’re getting ready to do something thoughtful, and under control. In general it works very well, to the extent that if he’s on the approach to a pipe tunnel/contact discrimination he’ll differentiate between the two based on the verbal directive.

      At this point I’m thinking… I need more. lolz


  2. Michelle Says:

    This is the most useful course review tool ever. I think you should put it on the judges list and do at least one of these a week. Fabulous learning tool. You are right, it is so much easier to explain the points regarding design with a video. Wish I had the ability to do this when I was reviewing; would have saved me a lot of phone calls to judges that just didn’t get what I was trying to say via email.
    At some point you could make a DVD with a lot of these videos on them and distribute them to the TDAA judges.

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