CPE Jackpot Challenge

The CPE Nationals sounded like quite a party… a six ring circus with 670 dogs, give or take. A colleague of mine sent on to me the Jackpot distance challenge, which I’ll share with you below:

Off the Cuff Analysis

I can only offer a description of what I would do to solve this distance challenge. Here’s my step-by-step.

  • Arrive cool and collected. This is a thing I always remind myself in a gambler class. The whistle announcing the end of point accumulation and the count-down of the gambler clock should not inspire hurry or panic or dread.
  • I’m thinking that the distance work begins with the presentation of the pipe tunnel. I want to send my dog the length of the tunnel to get it. The reason for this is straight-forward… I want a close proximity to my dog as he comes out of the tunnel. If the handler is racing the dog the length of the tunnel there’s too much that can go wrong with the pressure of movement, particularly if the dog is ahead of the handler.
  • Out of the tunnel I want to draw my dog as though we were going on to the tire. What I’m hoping to convey in the drawing above is the handler doing a Tandem Turn (crossing behind the dog on the flat) to turn away to the #2 jump.
  • Out of the Tandem I have a small bit of real estate to keep pressure out to the teeter. I’ll want to show zero inclination to turn here… just keep my pressure flat and out. Note that I show the handler stepping up to the line that parallels the #1 pipe tunnel. The other line, that parallels jump #2 is a gotchaline, put there to fool the tourists and invites them to step in too far. If you step in, then you have to step out, and that “stepping out” stands a good chance of spoiling the gamble.
  • Well heck, if you’ve made it this far don’t spoil it with a fly-off or a missed contact on the teeter. If you have a running contact stay smooth and parallel out to the side; If you have a 2o2o say your magic word and insist upon it.
  • The course designer relents a bit with the containment line on the dismount of the teeter. The line encroaches on the table and allows the handler to give pressure of movement to give the dog good focus to the last obstacle.

Note that I’ve banked my whole success in the distance challenge on the Tandem Turn from the pipe tunnel to jump #2. I’m thinking that a lot of people will run forward to try to make this send with a Front Cross which will have the handler all flat footed and easily committed over the gotcha/tourist line.

I’m completely aware that the #2 jump is a blind/managed approach which seems to be the god-awful fad and plague of our day. This is a handling challenge that demands micro-management. I’d be completely happy in life if both numbered courses and the routine distance challenge were sequences in which one could release the dog to work. But, we have to play in the real world.

Electricity and Storm Chores

Yes, the power is still out at my place. And we are living a grim existence. I dragged the Homelite 4400 Watt generator out of the tractor shed and by some freak of luck the thing actually works. I didn’t even have to replace the spark plug. Two gallons of gas make it roar (very loudly) for about 12 hours. It hasn’t been doing any grand duty. We run a fan, a small refrigerator, phone & internet, a television and a dvd player. I expect it could run a lot more. I’d be reluctant to try to run the house with it; even if I knew how to feed the electricity from the generator to it.

We have two poles down on our property (between the road and the meter… an important distinction). Yesterday the electric crews were here cutting down trees in the right-of-way. They didn’t show up today. I reckon it could be another week. I can hear the generators running down in Watertown. The coop guys will probably attend to me after getting electric back into town.

I spent today clearing the roadway down by the lower cabin. I have a little 16″ Poulan chain saw. In the roadway is a very big oak tree and a pretty big white pine which toppled over together only just avoiding smashing through the roof of the cabin. I worked like eight hours on the project today and after stacking several tons of bramble and stacking new firewood… I reckon I’m only about half done just opening the roadway enough for a vehicle to have passage. Chain-sawing a downed tree is a science to which I had crash-course schooling today. At one point my chain-saw was pinched and held by a 6″ branch. I had to go fetch an axe to cut through the branch and relieve the pressure and have my chainsaw back.

In case you were wondering, the 2-cycle oil mix for the Poulan is 40:1. Also the blade lubricant gets used up at nearly the same rate as a full tank of gas. Always wear gloves. Don’t stack the pine with the oak.

Needles to say, I’m behind on a bunch of my other obligations.

Tomorrow I’ll be on the road about noon to take off for Indianapolis and a USDAA trial there. I’m really looking forward to an air-conditioned room at the La Quinta. Marsha, I believe, will be heading in to stay a few days with her mother. She doesn’t trust herself to be at the mercy of the temperamental generator.

I’m sitting outside as I write this. We’ve turned off the generator for the day. I’m getting a relatively cool breeze. But I can’t sleep out here and will go back in soon to sweat through another night in the basement (where it is cooler than up stairs). I’m on battery… so I’ll have to hurry to get this posted.


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.


One Response to “CPE Jackpot Challenge”

  1. goldmedalagility Says:

    I can relate to no a/c. Was without about 6-7 days here in Texas. Glad none of your houses were damaged. Have fun in Indianapolis.

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