Running in the Rain

The shape and angulation of the pipe tunnel tends to regulate the speed of a dog’s movement. An elongated pipe tunnel is an accelerator that will have both dog and handler on a dead run; while a u‑shaped pipe tunnel slows the dog down modestly and allows the handler who was firmly behind the dog as the dog goes into the tunnel to be magically forward as the dog comes out.

Team Jumpers

This was a ripping fun course that ran very very fast.


On the 4th of July we played in the rain at Sugarbush Farm. The twisty and technical opening of the Team / PVP Jumpers had a handler or two losing their footing.

On this course the opening was like drawing back the hammer on a pinball machine. As the dog turns around at jump #6 the ball is released and the handler had better have on his track shoes. In the turn off of the spread hurdle at #11 The #14 pipe tunnel mercifully allows the handler to gather up his dog, and finish with a flourish.

It’s a bit ironic that the gathering bit in this course probably caused more faults than the technical opening. Prematurely cuing the turn at #11 set up opportunity for dropped bars and refusals (especially if the handler is well behind and not encouraging the go on). Then, coming out of the #14 pipe tunnel, both of the next two jumps were candidates for refusal. The handler needs to see the change of directions on the dismount of the tunnel, giving a clear path to the #15 jump.

Oh, and an interesting note, the turning radius of fast long-striding dogs tends to create a unique consequential path for the dog. Make of this picture what you will.


A Word Aside

The threadle opening of this course was a deliberate attempt to limit the grind of the lead-out. Many handlers will take as long to do a lead out as they take to run a course. And most of it is just plain flawed science. The opening should be step… step… release. The ploy was more of a suggestion than a demand. It’s amazing how many handlers will lead out and then mindlessly come to a stop. Really? You want to get caught flat-footed on a threadle?

What Did You Learn Today?

Judging a trial on courses of your own design demands that you are a student of the game. There are lessons to be learned in the conduct of every turn and sequence. The night of every trial I am scribbling notes and attempting to balance what I’ve observed with my conceptual universe of the game we play.

One of the notes I wrote on Sunday night… that trick at the start line, where the handler has the dog come up from behind and between her legs; the handler should be wearing slacks, and not a skirt.

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3 Responses to “Running in the Rain”

  1. Chuck Pilny Says:

    No mention of that weave entry Bud? Seems that lately, at least in AKC trials, we are seeing more and more rather difficult weave entries. Thank goodness I learned long ago to send around a clock face to the weaves!

    • budhouston Says:

      Team courses demand some higher level challenges. And frankly, this weave entry isn’t nearly as challenging as it might have been a few years ago. People are actually training their dogs.

  2. Melissa Wallace Says:

    I love the double tunnel idea. You will likely be seeing that in some course reviews! Love your Sunday night thoughts!

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