Archive for February, 2015

Winter Chat

February 27, 2015

I had a long conversation with Stephen Lewis yesterday. Old timers may remember he’s the guy who produced the USDAA Grand Prix videos early in this century. We chatted about collaborating on a publication that makes use of text and pictures with links to external video/digital recording. Okay, it’s not smashing new technology. The idea is to support courses we use in League Play with training publication.

It’s more than likely that many of the clubs that participate in the National Dog Agility League will do so alongside their training classes. That’s practical. So, wouldn’t it be fun to have a training pub that anticipates training objectives on the set of equipment?

Right now I’m busy planning for an upcoming series of classes here. The series is called “Intensity Agility”. It should be a lot of fun for me. We set high standards, make homework for everyone; and we do a lot of drill and practice.

We’ll begin with the NDAL/Top Dog March course. I’ll share my preparation for that class here… if you’ll wait just a few days.

Kinda Blue

 

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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. The Book of Agility Games is a perfect reference for the conduct of agility league play.

The Dog Agility Course as Artifact

February 26, 2015

A key element for competition with the National Dog Agility League is the open challenge of a game or course. What this means is that the agility course is an artifact that is forever open to competition observing the same placement of equipment, scoring basis and rules for performance.

We ran an agility league at Dogwood Training Center for eight years. This was a training center with more or less 150 students a week, who for the most part participated in league play. While I have saved all of the old courses (documented forever in the pages of The Just For Fun Agility Notebook), I did not save the scores or even the rosters of participants.

Today I’m absolutely intrigued by how I might do with the generation of dogs that I now own… competing against a younger version of me, and another generation of dogs.

We are going to maintain a Catalog of Games and Courses which will forever be open for competition. The top dog in each competition will have a score that sits atop the marquee like the high score on a video game. New scores will be combined and aggregated with existing scores! (forever)

In 20 years somebody might want to compete on that same course and have a go at the high score set by some World Team superstar (long time passing).

Another utility of the course or game as historical artifact is as a teaching tool. The intrepid agility teacher might put up the same course to students every year; and track their progress by the improvement of scores in that game.

Seriously, think of the possibilities.

The Catalog of Games and Courses can be found here:

http://www.dogagility.org/documents/FilesForms/CATALOGOFCOURSESANDGAMES.pdf

The Recording Secretary

I have a guy working on a reporting system interface for the internet. It’s not done yet. Until it is done I’m the recording secretary and will do everything by hand. I’m hoping my guy gets something in place fairly soon. Recording scores is a boatload of work.

The Assignment

We’re starting a series of classes here at Country Dream that we’re calling: Intensity Agility! To be honest the intention of these classes is to require the best effort from our students. That means that we’ll set a demanding pace, establish firm objectives, assign homework, and test the efficacy of both practice and homework.

Marsha has challenged me to design the full suite of course-work in advance. This will include a “Game of the Week”, lesson plans, and homework.

The “Game of the Week” will be designed for a 90′ x 60′ working space and will automatically go into the Catalog of Games and Courses that I mentioned above. I will no doubt share those courses with you here in my blog.

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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.

Proverbs 11:29

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

A National Dog Agility League

February 25, 2015

Invitations are going out today to join play in an agility league that spans the United States, with the possibility that we’ll be joined by players in other countries. Our objective is to create an organization that will oversee the business of that league, the National Dog Agility League (NDAL). It is a big project than will take a community of smart and hard-working people to realize.

The invitation will include a single course or sequence that fits a space approximately 48′ by 90′. Everyone who sets up the course and reports scores in the month of March will become de facto founding members of the NDAL.

Initially this is intended as a foundation for the reality show for which we are producing a “sizzle reel” that hopefully will inspire some network to bring to life. The theory is that having a team on the television running a course will be a powerful motivation to agility fans everywhere to put up that same course.

If you would like to be included in this first invitation, send me an email. I’ll be sure that you get it.

Winston Churchill

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

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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.

Short Sequencing (in the basement)

February 18, 2015

Our space in the basement isn’t really all that big. I’m antsy to get out in the training building and put together some of the skills we’ve been working on. But don’t you know we’re living through the Blizzard of 2015; so I’m content to continue in the basement until the world thaws out a bit.

Here’s a very short YouTube: http://youtu.be/dD-pDyxoBB0

I’m about ready to bring in another set of 2x weave poles. Cedar’s intro to weaves is about six months earlier than I did with Kory. But she’s like a learning machine and I thought… what the hell, why not?!

This has a bit of a Teacup flavor to it. And indeed we intend to show her in the TDAA. But I would like her to excel in other flavors of agility as well. The TDAA sharpens the handler’s timing and awareness in a way that none of the big dog venues can accomplish with a small dog.  An important mission of the TDAA is to give the small dog handler a taste of timing skills that handlers of big & fast dogs have to master for day-to-day survival in the big-dog flavors of agility.

I ran across this old video of me running a loaner dog in a jumpers course (out at Zona’s place in Arvada, Colorado!) http://youtu.be/WljrZe_sf9U

Play in the TDAA is not for the faint of heart.

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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.

Table “Down”

February 16, 2015

We continue to record Cedar’s ongoing foundation training. She has just turned 6 months old. I’m happy to report that she weighs 18 lbs and measures 15-1/2″. That’s a perfect small-dog size for play with any agility organization (including the TDAA).

Cedar is a dog who has never had a meal in this house without “working” for it. I’m sorry that we haven’t captured every grueling moment of the training. It’s hard for any person with novice dog training skills to understand the meticulous detail of training; which is a matter of vision, objective, and patience.

We’ve dragged the agility table into the basement and this morning began the foundation for Table Down. The objective is to be able to send her to a table where she will promptly assume a down position.

Here’s the YouTube: http://youtu.be/1jrWU1T9s0s

This is a method I documented some 15 years ago in the pages of The Just For Fun Agility Notebook (also in the book I co-authored with Ruth Van Keuren, The Jr. Handler’s Training Guide).

When working with a dog I rely quite a bit on free-shaping. This means I am not much of a fan of luring or targeting. And yet this exercise has a bit of a lure in it. Once the dog is on the table I’ll give the verbal command “Lie Down!” and drop my fist to the table. My fist will have a bit of kibble in it. And as all dogs have x-ray vision, she’ll be studying my hand, trying to figure out what it takes for me to open it, and give her the treat. Ultimately the dog will belly down to study the problem… whereupon she has met my criterion and will get the treat.

You’ll note in the recording that in several reps she figures out faster and faster what she needs to do to get me to open my hand and give up the reward.

I’ll share the progression of this training method as we go along.

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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.

Getting Real

February 10, 2015

On February 7th and 8th 2015 a relatively small field of agility enthusiasts gathered to create the beginnings of a “reality show” for television based on the sport of dog agility. The basic premise of the show … we will follow the coaching and preparation of the “Top Dog Team” who will compete on a regular basis on courses that are published as a challenge to the entire agility world. This means, for example, that an agility club in Australia, or South Africa, or Pennsylvania can host one or more teams who will run that same course and report their scores for the express purpose of competing against the team on the Top Dog show.

It’s really an interesting concept, if you think about it. We can use social networking tools and modern technologies to bring the world together to play our favorite game and roll all of the scores up into a single event record.

Talent

Our coach and the chief talent for the show will be Nancy Gyes. Nancy attended the competition with a team of world class players. “World class” is my word choice, thoughtful and accurate, IMHO. Nancy’s team were all very nice people, and delightful to work with over the weekend.

When I was doing my green-screen interview, Lane (the director) asked me what I thought of Nancy. I told her that Nancy is in our world what Quentin Tarantino might be in her world.

Bishop-Lyons Entertainment LLC

The production company was really quite professional and amazing on the Top Dog shoot in Murrieta California. They were focused and diligent and appeared to stay faithful to the original vision of Top Dog. We are so looking forward to the product of their efforts.

The National Dog Agility League (NDAL)

This is a new organization that will serve as the foundation for the “Reality Show.” The express mission of the organization will be to define and develop the activities of competitive agility league play.

At this point in time there is no franchise fee. And frankly the By Laws of the League will be focused on keeping the league recreational and inexpensive. We are faced with gathering talented and enthusiastic people who will assume management of this new organization. Right now you’ll have to get in touch with me. Once we have elected a Board and Director of Communications… I can get the hell out of the way.

The NDAL by no means is intended to replace or compete with any existing agility organization. All of those organizations are intrinsic to our culture and are important in the training and development of the agility community. NDAL is what you’ve been training for!

We are very interested in the model used by the league or affiliation of clubs in Florida. They run a state championship tournament that sounds like a lot of fun. Somebody get in touch!

Noisiest Passenger

Aldous Huxley once wrote that experience isn’t what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.

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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.

Top Dog in Murrieta, CA

February 7, 2015

I’d like to share the results with you from our competition in Murrieta California on February 7, 2015. I’m really tickled that these are the same courses we ran at Queen City (Cincinnati,OH) back in August of last year. So in every real sense, this is a single competition that is undertaken by players in different geographically areas.

That being said, I’m going to summarize only the results by players in California. As soon as I’m up to the task, I’ll combine results from the two different venues.

Game #1 ~ The Steeplechase

Fname Lname DogsCName Breed Jheight Score
Nancy Gyes Pie Border Collie 20 30.03
Dave Hill Flo Border Collie 20 31.72
Channan Fosty Rampage Border Collie 20 34.38
Dave Hill Viper Border Collie 26 35.78
Rachel Evers Happy Mac Border Collie 26 36.34
Barbara Hill Jagger Border Collie 20 38.22
Liz Phineas 20 38.22
Rachel Evers Chloe Border Collie 16 40.31
Michael Fitch Bing Toy Fox Terrier 8 43.06
Laura Jones Brew Border Collie 26 46.97
Channan Fosty Icon Border Collie 16 47.78
Gabriella Ravani Scarlett Dalmation 16 58.47
Joe Punzalan Meg Wire Fox Terrier 12 70.09
Christina Terbeek Rocket Italian Greyhound 12 79.53
Meghan Jordan Jaxie Jack Russell Terrier 8 80.53
Suzanne Roady Karma Border Collie 20 90.06
Morgan Orsolini Tyme Border Collie 20 110.62
Susan Paulson Butter-fly papillon 12 138.28
McKenzie Minto Breeze Border Collie 16 154.25

 

Game #2 ~ Time Warp

Fname Lname DogsCName Breed Jheight Score
Nancy Gyes Pie Border Collie 20 -13.03
Liz Phineas 20 -9.09
Barbara Hill Jagger Border Collie 20 -6.62
Channan Fosty Icon Border Collie 16 -6.19
Laura Jones Brew Border Collie 26 -3.91
Channan Fosty Rampage Border Collie 20 -0.34
Gabriella Ravani Scarlett Dalmation 16 9.12
Rachel Evers Chloe Border Collie 16 41.91
Michael Fitch Bing Toy Fox Terrier 8 47.22
Joe Punzalan Meg Wire Fox Terrier 12 50.54
Rachel Evers Happy Mac Border Collie 26 53.57
Christina Terbeek Rocket Italian Greyhound 12 56.47
Morgan Orsolini Tyme Border Collie 20 68.4
Dave Hill Viper Border Collie 26 70.13
Susan Paulson Butter-fly papillon 12 75.69
McKenzie Minto Breeze Border Collie 16 79.41
Meghan Jordan Jaxie Jack Russell Terrier 8 88.4
Dave Hill Flo Border Collie 20 96.5
Suzanne Roady Karma Border Collie 20 111.6
Jean Rowe Chaos Labrador 20 130.31
Dylan Machal Marley Standard Poodle 20 153.63

 

Game #3 ~ Standard Course

Fname Lname DogsCName Breed Faults Time
Nancy Gyes Pie Border Collie 0 32.5
Dave Hill Flo Border Collie 0 35.34
Michael Fitch Bing Toy Fox Terrier 0 36.13
Channan Fosty Icon Border Collie 0 36.38
Channan Fosty Rampage Border Collie 0 36.44
Rachel Evers Happy Mac Border Collie 0 44.62
Meghan Jordan Jaxie Jack Russell Terrier 0 58
Gabriella Ravani Scarlett Dalmation 0 60
Suzanne Roady Karma Border Collie 0 62
Dave Hill Viper Border Collie 5 35.06
Laura Jones Brew Border Collie 5 37.16
McKenzie Minto Breeze Border Collie 5 42.88
Susan Paulson Butter-fly papillon 5 61.34
Rachel Evers Chloe Border Collie 10 40.57
Christina Terbeek Rocket Italian Greyhound 10 53.22
Liz Phineas 15 42.66
Jean Rowe Chaos Labrador 15 57.19
Dylan Machal Zippy Standard Poodle 20 145.18
Barbara Hill Jagger Border Collie 25 45.16
Joe Punzalan Meg Wire Fox Terrier 35 69.22
Dylan Machal Marley Standard Poodle 45 111

 

Team Results

The team results were based on accumulated Lifetime Performance Points (LPP) scored by dogs over the three rounds. These were the final results:

209      Team B ~ Pie; Rampage; Brew

175      Team E ~ Bing; Jagger; Viper

164      Team F ~ Phineas; Flo; Jagger

154      Team A ~ Happy Mac; Chloe; Buttter-Fly

128      Team “Gotcha” ~ Icon; Breeze; Tyme

117      Team D ~ Chaos; Meg; Scarlett

Our team “F”, by the way, followed what we called the “Queen City” formula. The scores of every dog who was not on a team were aggregated into a single team based on the highest scores in the first two rounds. In the Murrieta California competition, they were the third place team.

Oogachaka ~ Hooked on a Feeling

For Nancy Gyes, who was seeking true inspirational Rock & Roll for her teams, take it from an old timer from the day, this is rock & roll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=w5jkAkm4JmM

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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.

The Event

February 6, 2015

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Steeplechase Briefing

This is a simple numbered course. The scoring basis is Time, Plus Faults.  Follow the numbers, keep the bars up, hit the paint. And have fun.

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Time Warp Briefing

This is a simple game, run like a standard course. The Scoring Basis is Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus.

There is an opportunity on this course to earn a 50 point bonus which is subtracted from the Time, Plus Faults part of the dog’s score: if the handler can stay on the opposite side of the containment line through your dog’s performance of obstacles #12 through #15, then the dog will earn a 50 point bonus. Note that the bonus is lost for any performance faults in the distance challenge.

Otherwise, it’s follow the numbers, keep the bars up, and hit the paint.

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Standard Briefing

This is a standard course. The scoring basis is Faults, Then Time. Follow the numbers, keep the bars up, and hit the paint. And have fun.

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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.