Putting It All Together

I’ve spent several days now designing training sequences and skill sets. What I need to do is put them together as a lesson plan for my students. In addition to that, I must find a game for league play, or two, in the set of the equipment.

I started the design with a discussion of a “discrimination” working set. It fulfills a basic obligation to approach sequencing with a training objective. That is, I want my students to understand how to solve for two obstacles placed in close proximity… and have a well-rehearsed handling answer to the riddle.

I moved on to another and very different set of obstacles, somewhat varied sequencing, and yet another skill objective; the Tandem Turn to solve a distance challenge. In this set of the floor we will also have an opportunity to work on a variety of specialty hurdles.

So the question becomes, how do we put them together?

This works for me. When I write a lesson plan I have to consider conflict between the two sides. The area of greatest conflict will be when the dog in the lower sequence is moving between the two winged hurdles (above the broad jump); while the dog at the top is making a transition between the U-shaped pipe tunnel and the A-frame. We’ll put dog fencing in that area to separate the possible conflict between dogs.

Now… on to the design of our league play games.

Standard Course

I have several choices to work with. If we do a standard course I should like to do something for my novice students, and something for my advanced/masters students.

This is an acceptable novice course, I think. Unfortunately it avoids the teeter (we already didn’t have a dogwalk on the field this week; darned shame, because I own four of them). However, it has some fairly tricky technical stuff for the novice handler. We get to approach the A-frame/pipe tunnel discrimination twice; and we have the nearly blind approach to jump #7 out of the weave poles.

This is acceptable as an advanced/masters course. It certainly has a higher obstacle count; and the challenges from the novice course are slightly compounded. I will probably go with this one… though I had something slightly more bloody-minded in my sights.Here’s my bloody-minded vision. The only real difference between this design and the previous is that we’ve swapped the #2 and #15 approaches to the A-frame/pipe tunnel discrimination to the considerably more difficult of the two choices; and I’m asking for a counter-side approach to the #11 pipe tunnel.

Setting the Floor

A bit I don’t always share in my lesson plan is the map I make for setting the building.

My training building is actually 120’ long by 62’ wide. I don’t sweat the extra 2’ wide, and use it for a general fudge factor. It is the length of the building that always complicates.

About the back 10′ is used for equipment storage. Those four dogwalks I mentioned earlier need a place to be stored securely out of the way, rather than putting them in the weather outside. Also I need plenty of room at the front of the building for my students to sit, for dog crating, and so forth. And that area needs to provide plenty of room for the approach to and dismount from obstacles at the front of the floor without conflicting with dogs and handlers waiting their turn.

I always have to make this map for myself… otherwise the numbers on my walls drive me crazy as I have to figure out how many feet to add or take away from each of the 10′ markers.

* * *

For our next league play I would like a game, in addition to the standard sequence. So tomorrow I’ll deal with the game we’ll play.

Editing the BLOG

Hmm… you may have noticed that today I’m participating in the internet blackout to protest and oppose the proposed U.S. legislation (SOPA/PIPA).

Unfortunately when I try to preview my draft I get the blackout window. It used to be when I would just publish my blog… and then edit it in the next few minutes. The downside of this tactic was that all the people who “subscribe” to the blog got immediately by email the messy, unedited bit (complete with code for CRCD graphics and hidden text for things like the answer to the Google-Proof trivia contest). So I took to editing the draft completely before I published it.

Because of the black-out I won’t get to see what this blog post actually looks like published. So I’ll content myself with editing on the coding page.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. 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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