Archive for November, 2013

Variations on Dare to Double

November 29, 2013

For a prospective TDAA judge I assembled a document containing three distinctly different variations of the game Dare to Double in order for her to understand how the game might be played. My original objective was to find on my computer an example of the game with a “robust” briefing. And of course I stumbled across two interesting variations.

To summarize:

Example #1 is a course design and briefing from a trial I judged in August of 2009. This is the most common version of Dare to Double. What makes it distinctive is a rule declaring that “A warning whistle is blown 15 seconds prior to the expiration of time.” Of course the table isn’t live until that whistle blows. This is a favorite game in the TDAA. The most canny competitors have a doubling strategy for the opening; and a rule-of-thumb strategy for the last 15 seconds. If this variation has a down-side, it is that fast dogs with excellent A-frame skills (and a handler who gets the math) will always rule the game.

Example #2 features a variation of Dare to Double designed by TDAA judge Victor Garcia. This game was played in competition at the Petit Prix Warm-up Workshop held in conjunction with the 2013 Petit Prix in Latrobe, PA, and using the rules of the Petit Prix. What makes this different from the “common” version is that there is no warning whistle. And so the competitor is left with trusting to an internal clock as to when to go to the table. But to tell the truth this version exposes and encourages the popular “Double ’til the end of time” strategy. The essence of the strategy is to work on doubling ’til the bitter end, and don’t go to the table, accepting the loss of half the points as a push.

Example #3 and last example is the “Flanigan” variation of Dare to Double. In this variation the dog is limited to two performances of the doubling obstacle; introducing an amazing challenge of timing strategy. Doubling ’til the end of time isn’t a good option. This variation offers the possibility that good timing and performance might very well prevail over speed.

Dare to Double example #1 ~ common

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Briefing

Dare to Double is a simple dog’s choice game, which means that he will earn points for taking obstacles in the order and direction of his own choosing. The team has 50 seconds to accumulate as many points as possible. The game begins at a start line designated by the judge and ends at the table. If the dog gets to the table before time expires, he keeps all points, if he fails to do so half the points are lost.

The value of scoring obstacles is based on a simple 1-3-5-7 system:

  • 1 point for jumps
  • 3 points for tunnels and tire
  • 5 points for teeter, dogwalk and weave poles

Scoring obstacles can be taken only twice for points. Back-to-back performances are allowed. Jumps that are knocked down will not be reset.

The A-frame has a special value (Note that the A-frame was not included in this list above). It is the doubling obstacle. During the run, a handler may double his current points by performing the doubling obstacle. A successful performance doubles all points earned up to that time. If, however, the dog faults the A-frame, then the dog loses half of his existing points.The dog may double points any time, as many times as time allows. The only restriction on doubling is that the A-frame cannot be performed back-to-back. The dog must do another obstacle, for points, before attempting to double point values again.

A warning whistle is blown 15 seconds prior to the expiration of time.

Scoring and Qualifying

Dare to Double is scored points then time. The winner is the dog finishing with the most points. In case of a tie, time is the tiebreaker. The table is live during the entire run. If the dog gets on the table at any time, scoring ends. To qualify:

Games I – 40 points
Games II – 80 points
Games III – 160 points

 

Dare to Double example #2 ~ sans warning whistle

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Briefing

The objective is to score as many points as possible in the given time: 12″16dogs 50 seconds; 4″8 dogs 55 seconds. The table stops time and is live at all times.  A dog arriving at the table after time expires is “Faulted” half of all points. Jumps are 1 point; Tire and Tunnels 3 points; Dog Walk, Teeter and Weaves 5 points. Obstacles can only be taken twice for points.  Back to back performance is permitted.

The A Frame is the Doubling obstacle: During the run a dog will earn “Double” all points by successfully performing the A Frame. On a missed down contact on the A Frame, the dog is “Faulted” losing half of all points. Points can be doubled at any time and as often as the handler wishes. The A Frame is eligible for doubling only after any other point has been earned. When the A-frame is not eligible for doubling the dog may still Fault half of points in the performance.

Scoring

Dare to Double is scored Points, then Time. GI dogs need 50 points to qualify; GII dogs need 100 points to qualify; GIII dogs need 150 points to qualify

 

Dare to Double example #3 ~ Flanigan Variation

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Briefing

The game begins at the designated start-line, and ends at the table. Big dogs have 50 seconds to accumulate as many points as possible; Small dogs have 55. The dog must get to the table before course time elapses. If the dog gets to the table before time expires, he keeps all points accumulated on course. If the dog fails to do so, half of the points are lost. There will be no warning whistle. If the dog hits the table at any time during the run, scoring and time will cease.

Obstacles can be taken only twice during point accumulation. Back-to-back is permitted. Jumps that are knocked down will not be reset. Jumps = 1 point; tunnels and tire = 3 points; contact obstacles and the weave poles = 5 points.

During the run, all current points can be doubled by performing the A-frame. A successful performance doubles all points. If, however, the dog faults the A-frame, half of the existing points are lost. In the Flanigan Variation the A-frame can be performed only twice during the dog’s run, and an obstacle must be completed for points between each performance of the doubling obstacle.

Scoring and Qualifying

Dare to Double is scored Points, Then Time.

  • Games I => 40 points
  • Games II => 70 points
  • Games III => 100 points

Strategy

In the traditional Dare to Double you can double as often as you want, so long as you score points in between performances of the A-frame. The savvy player will quickly get the fundamental underlying math. Basically you get a handful of points on your dog and then start doubling until the end of time.

But the Flanigan variation is something else entirely; you only get to do the A-frame twice for double points. Now, if you double too early it lowers your capacity to score the most points. If you double too late time may expire and you’ll lose half your points. It is certainly a canny game of timing.

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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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Weaving

November 15, 2013

From notes on an airline napkin:

I’ve taken a long journey on a short road.

The person in agility is inextricably bound by two import roles. He is both dog trainer and handler. One is not more important than the other. While handling is fundamental to directing an agility dog, training is the coup de grace.

Meanwhile…

I’m preparing for a healthy weekend workshop. The theme of the workshop is “weaving” in these parts: teaching the entry without shaping or management; the dismount; and fantastic footwork (using Susan Garrett’s thinly split poles method). I think I have the right mix of exercises. More often than not, when the lesson plan contemplates a specific skill to be taught the dog, the outcome of the training is a pointer to homework.

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You may recognize this as the “Shark Bait” exercise. It’s a beginning point for the weekend workshop.

Another TDAA Course Review YouTube

 http://youtu.be/HmoEOKMPS7Y

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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.

Awkward

November 12, 2013

I’m deep in course review duties for the TDAA, trying to catch up. I’d like to share a part of a review from this morning, which I have captured in a YouTube video:

http://youtu.be/NRLSUk8ctiA

I apologize for the background noise. I was watching Morning Joe while working.

Tools

I’ve been busy trying to upgrade my writing / blogging tools for me new Windows 8 computer. It’s been an adventure. One tool I’ve needed is a new screen/video capture. Frankly, I’m most interested in Freeware; though if I find something that really works well, I wouldn’t mind upgrading to a commercial package.

Doing a web-search is always a crapshoot. A lot of stuff that purports to be “free” is just a crippled version of the software that makes you buy before you can even test how it works. The only thing that was free… was the download. Other packages are like Trojan Horses that will drag a bunch of painful utilities that constantly pop-up and replace default software; change your home page; put worthless menu bars on your internet browser, and so forth. So, you gotta be careful.

The screen/video capture software that I found is something called Active Presenter. It’s a fully functional editor with an option to upgrade to a more robust commercial system.

Weekend Workshop

We have a weekend workshop scheduled for this Sunday. Our topic is weave poles, with an intention to build speed, and faultless performance; while looking at common challenges that we see in competition.

I need to get on with the design of the lesson plan. And, of course, I need to clean up the building, set the floor, and test elements of the lesson plan. I’d better get moving.

If you are interested in getting your dog in this workshop (2 or 3 hours Sunday afternoon) you should get in touch with Marsha: Houston.Marsha@gmail.com. We’ll cut off registration with the workshop fills.

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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.

Show Me Pretty

November 6, 2013

Just now I am returning from Dallas where I spent four days conducting a TDAA Judges clinic. Following directly on about five days of Petit Prix activities I’m a bit sleep deprived, but otherwise unscathed… in case you were wondering.

I left the group in Dallas pleased and pleasantly surprised by their testing scores. And, I left them with a bit of advice in course design. I appreciate that a judge and course designer might want to show me how they can conjure an interesting course with technical challenges that curl the hair on the back of your neck. But what I’d like for them all to do early on is dismiss all such thought and show me that they can design something pretty, with flow and logic. When that challenge is met the designer might, with some subtle tweak, introduce to the design a riddle or two appropriate to the skill level of the intended class.

At Country Dream we have discontinued week-day evening classes for the next few months; though we expect to schedule a few weekend workshops so that our few students don’t languish through the winter months. I’m anxious to get back to a regular schedule of play and a focused training plan with my own dogs. And since I’m not terribly busy over the winter months it’s really going to be a matter of me getting off my arse and putting up the playground.

I’ll share with you a course that I borrowed from a design by TDAA judge Debbie Vogel over the weekend. I’m going to put this one up in the building as soon as I have the time and energy to do so:

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I’m completely aware that the course doesn’t include much in the way of a “Masters level” challenge. But without much imagination, we could do so. I’ll share with you in the next few days.

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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.