Crossing Patterns

I often get in courses for review in the TDAA in which the challenge is not suitable to the level of play. I want to show you a simple example (a bit of an exaggeration):

What we see in this illustration is a simple down and back, without so much as a crossing pattern or a change-of-sides. Often enough the course designer feels trapped by the long lines of the course and doesn’t really know how to get out of it. What I’ll say in my review is that they should “twist” the loop. This is a relatively easy matter.

In the two parallel lines I’ve changed sides at a midway point, creating the “twist”. Note that the single crossing pattern necessitates (probably) two changes of sides.

If we involve the A-frame or any contact obstacle in a lane change, the A-frame deserves a bit of a rotation to ensure that the dog has a square or safe approach. This sequence has three crossing patterns and as many as three or four implicit changes of side.

From the beginning in this exercise the course designer has been trapped by his own design. To tell the truth I’m already bored with the simple pretzel twists to fix the problem. There are playful things we can do with the sequence that make it an exciting bit of dog agility.

Okay, I know. I’ve impinged on the unseen bit in the course (the bit that trapped these lines of obstacles against the wall)… and I’ve raised the obstacle count.

But look how much more fun everyone is having?


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.


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