CRCD Dog Path Tool ~ Measuring the Course

This is a short tutorial on how to use the CRCD Dog Path Tool for course design purposes. The Dog Path Tool is a button icon: The first in the second row on the left side of your screen. This tool has several distinct applications for course design: Freehand drawing (of the dog’s path); Measuring the distance between obstacles; and, Measuring the overall length of a course.

Freehand Drawing

This is a set of equipment laid out on the field. I would like to use the CRCD Dogs Path tool to draw a possible path for the dog. As a course designer, if I’m happy about it in terms of flow and challenge, I will number it and call it a design.

To use the CRCD Dogs Path Tool for freehand drawing, I’ll click on the tool and then:

  1. Make sure that in the drop-down Connection to obstacles list, I’ve selected “Do not connect to obstacles.”
  2. Then click the OK button.

Here I’ve drawn a path for the dog. Note that as you draw you must hold down the left mouse button until the line is completely drawn.

Measuring the Distance Between Obstacles

I’ve gone through and numbered the dog’s path that I had sketched on the course.

The next thing I might want to do is measure the interval distance between obstacles. To do this I could either:

  • Delete the old path, and create a new one, or
  • Right click on the existing path to change it’s properties

To measure interval distances between obstacles the Dog Properties dialog box should be set to:

  • In the Connect to obstacles drop down list, select “Connect to numbers”;
  • In the Jump height widget select a representative jump height. You’ll note that the higher the jump height is set the longer the dog’s turning radius will be measured;
  • In the Number of arrow heads / lengths drop down list select “One per obstacle”;
  • Make sure that the Show path lengths on path checkbox is selected;
  • In the Units list select the measurement you are most comfortable with. When measuring interval distances I like to see either “Decimal Feet”, or “Feet and Inches”;
  • Click the OK button.

This view provides the opportunity to analyze transitional distances between obstacles.  You can move an obstacle (and it’s associated numbers); the interval distance will change even as you move it.

Measuring the overall length of a course

Once all of your equipment is where you want it and you are happy with the interval distances, you can use the CRCD Dogs Path Tool to measure the overall length of your course. You should draw the Start and Finish lines first because the measurement should include the distance between the lines and the start and finish obstacles.

To create the single measuring line you could either:

  • Delete the old path, and create a new one, or
  • Right click on the existing path to change it’s properties

  • In the Connect to obstacles drop down list, make sure “Connect to numbers” is selected;
  • In the Jump height widget select a representative jump height;
  • In the Number of arrow heads / lengths drop down list select “One for whole path”;
  • Make sure that the Show path lengths on path checkbox is selected;
  • In the Units list select the most meaningful measurement. When measuring the length of a course I’ll use “Yards”;
  • Click the OK button.

The measurement can sometimes be hard to find. You may have to move around obstacle numbers in case the measurement number is hiding under it. In this drawing you’ll find the notation of “149” yards in the space between the #10 and #19 jumps.

Note, by the way, that the Start and Finish lines have been drawn with some contemplation as to where the timekeeper should sit to get a clear view of both lines.

Breakdown Training Model

I had intended to write today about a training/teaching model that I call “Breakdown”. This course is based on specific challenges from a USDAA Grand Prix course that someone sent to me.

However, one of my TDAA judges sent a request that I explain how to use the Clean Run Course Designer Dogs Path tool to measure a course. I could take the hour or so it would take to tutor her on this… or I could share the tutorial with the entire TDAA Judges corps. I opt for the latter. This blog then is dedicated to the TDAA Course Design College.

Blog838

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

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