This is a time set aside when we might reflect on our good fortune and give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us. I have been blessed with my wife, my friends and family, good neighbors, and my pack of unruly dogs. I have the fortune of my health and my home. I’m keenly aware that not everyone has been blessed with these simple gifts.

For me the celebration is punctuated by the company of family, a feast of turkey and pie, and a bit of entertaining football on the television.

All Work and No Play …

At the risk of becoming a “dull boy” I put my nose down to sending out invitations to agility players across Ohio and Pennsylvania the past several days to join in weekly shared competitions with Top Dog Agility Players. The research was amazing and grueling. You can’t much trust the static lists of “agility clubs”. So I used several intuitive Bing searches to find just about everyone who hosts an agility training community.

This “new venue” isn’t really going to grow very fast. I understand that. Just the idea that there’s a new venue at all makes the brain hurt. Plus it’s the holiday season.

I’ve been waiting a very long time for this. The venue, as a creature of concept, has a colorful history that I may share with you some day. In some ways I’m still waiting for pieces to fall into place. But if they don’t, they don’t. I’ve got it covered. You can’t say I didn’t give it aplenty of chance.

* * *

Yesterday I put aside the work and went out into my training building to put up a new course. I’ve had a couple pretty good workouts with Kory; and even spent a bit of time with our one-year old, Phoenix (I’m teaching him “Left”, since he already has a pretty good understanding of “Right”).  We’ll be attending an AKC trial this weekend up in Zanesville. So it would be nice to look sharp.

I’ve been rebuilding Kory’s contacts. This weekend will be a good test of the protocol.


Thinking again of Top Dog, one of the real complications in terms of a “world wide” league play is that many people train in small or funny-shaped spaces. I’m committed to the idea that everyone should get to play! That means there’s going to be a bit of a matchmaking puzzle.

Certainly there are plenty of big training centers around the country who have full-sized regulation fields. The full-sized course (100′ by 120′ give or take) will be a regular feature for the League Secretary Picks. But we would also like to accommodate the needs of many smaller fields.

Another complication is the question of equipment. I’m thinking of course of Teacup clubs who may want to engage in TDAP League Play.

I’m pretty sure that it will be good to have course designers out in the world submit interesting courses to put up in the weekly events list. This is the first humble mention. I’ll be proselytizing more fervently before too long.

The Kuliga Puzzle

Just to give you an idea of the complexity of the puzzle… consider the shape of the Kuliga floor (in Cincinnati, Ohio):

The field measures, it appears, 88′ by 53′, with a couple prominent “unusable” areas, and three columns. Now I have a theory, so bear with me on this one. I think it’s possible to use this space for design; and then use that design in fields of comparable size, with none of the obstructions. I’ll demonstrate.

I’ve drawn here a course using regulation sized equipment and reasonably generous spacing.  It’s really not an easy matter. But, if we’re comfortable with the challenge itself… why shouldn’t it work in any field measuring 53′ by 88′, or larger?

Here’s the same course with no trace of Kuliga, except for the field size itself. I could put this up in my own training center.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. 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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One Response to “Thanksgiving”

  1. Adrienne Finstrom Says:

    One thing that could be interesting would be to put the various building/field layouts up somewhere, where persons could download them to CRCD and play around with course designs. Then somewhere they could be uploaded for course review and possible use in the league.

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