Posts Tagged ‘AKC Agility’

Premier Premier

March 19, 2015

A person named Cheryl Matthews left a nice comment on the Glossary of Agility Terms that I keep as a page on this blog. In her comment she mentions a thing called an “Inverted Pinwheel”. Apparently this is something they’re teaching AKC judges in preparation for the up and coming Premier class. Like the USDAA’s Masters Challenge class, the Premier will put up wickedly difficult European-style challenges.

At any rate, the blog comment spurred me to email for clarification; what the heck is an “Inverted Pinwheel”? Cheryl kindly drew pictures which I’m happy to share with you:



This probably isn’t a rigid definition of the inverted pinwheel, but a demonstration of the design concept. #7 is a backside; followed by a pull/push through to #8. The transition to jump #9 is complicated by a choice of turning direction. And the approach to jump #10 is another pull-through. Pretty wicked eh?

I think we’re looking at a whole new generation of training science, both for the dog and for the handler.


Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again. ~ Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Inner Light”


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

When One Teaches, Two Learn

September 18, 2012

I had a good time reading the Dog Agility Bloggers Action Day posts on the question: What Makes a Good (agility) Coash/Instructor? You can find the various posts here: Reading over some of them I realized that it could have been a brilliant opportunity for self-promotion. Lolz… I’ve never been very good at that.

You’ll find my post in there in which I gave homage to Pati Mah for unselfishly giving her time to give me a bit of coaching. This past weekend, after about a week of implementing her advice, I got a chance to test Kory’s progress in competition.

Well, it wasn’t a terribly successful weekend in terms of raw Qs (1 of 4). Of the six contact obstacles Kory got to visit, he gave me a perfect 2o2o on four. Of the two he did not assume/or hold position… both of those moments cost us the Q on courses we otherwise owned. So I measure my success as fairly glorious on the weekend. It is a validation of what Pati told me. Imagine how we’ll be doing with a couple months of the protocol under our belts.

I haven’t shared yet what she told me? If not, I’ll revisit in a few days.

Notes on AKC judge Greg Beck

There was a lot of grumbling about Greg’s courses at this trial. Personally I loved his courses and found considerable genius in his presentation of options. Just to define terms, and “option” is a course that makes more sense to the dog than the one the course actually numbered. Greg’s courses would be routine to USDAA players, but quite challenging in venues like CPE and the AKC. But every course flowed beautifully and everything was doable.

I’d love to see Greg judging for the USDAA and TDAA. He has a sense of humor even in the presence of tremendous carnage. You gotta like that.

Greg is way quick on the trigger on refusal calls. He has no preoccupation with anything like the “rule of thirds”; so if a dog spins, it will be a refusal, with no objectivity about “beginning the approach”. I’m not going to argue. I reckon that must be a definition of performance specific to the AKC.

Back Yard… More for Kory

This is what I’m setting up this week for Kory. I suppose I should have a teeter out there too. Maybe next week.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

I spent an afternoon giving a good scrubbing to several of pairs of shoes. I try to rank my shoes by usage. If I’m working waste-deep in muck I use a pair on one end of the rank; If I’m out leading a seminar I wear my newest & shiniest.

Occasionally giving your shoes a soak and scrub will make them all look fresher and extend their practical lives. I’m not an Amelda Marcos-class shoe hound or anything like that. If I have to pay more than about $80 on a pair I start to get sticker-shock.

I’ve discovered, by the way, that the local John Deere dealer keeps a display of New Balance shoes and regularly will feature their discontinuing lines which can be had in the range $28 to $38. That’s much more to my liking.


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.

Real Dogs Don’t Wear Tags!

March 24, 2012

After a seminar day at QCDTC I stayed over for the weekend AKC trial hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Poodle Club. The morning started with a very fun romp of a jumpers course designed by AKC judge Karen Wlodarski. I got to run both Hazard and Kory on this. Hazard ran clean tho not terribly fast. Kory is a different matter altogether in terms of both speed and challenge. I must say that the course went exactly as planned; we escaped all the subtle options (I’ll describe below). He gave me a stunning run, according to plan.

The judge NQ’d us anyhow, because I failed to take his tags off before the run. The judge was very nice about it and didn’t blow the whistle until after our run. I was nonetheless very pleased with Kory and don’t care that much about the Q anyhow, as it turns out. Just to make myself feel better about it I phoned home and blamed Marsha for not reminding me as I walked out the door, as she usually does.

Those of you who run more than one dog are familiar with the idea that you can take very different views of course strategies based on the individual needs and quirks off your dogs. In my whole agility career I’ve never run two dogs who were so dramatically different than Hazard, who I drag laboriously through the course, and Kory who I push great distance with little effort, and a lot of conversational handling.

The first half of the course is dog-on-left which might seem unimaginative. It is, in fact, a speed building rip that has a couple subtle wrong-course options for the unwary. While these options weren’t so compelling for the smaller dogs a number of the big dogs demonstrated the possibilities. After jump #3 is the triple in a nice straight line. And after jump #4 is the gratuitous and flatly presented dummy jump.

The technical part of the program begins on the dismount of the weave poles with, again, a couple wrong-course options when entering the pinwheel.

As it turns out the real challenge in this course was the awkward approach to the #18 jump. A simple analysis of the dog’s path in this course will show a line that slices by the #18 jump for a refusal. We saw that plenty today, even with the small dogs. What I did with Kory at this point was turn him to the right as though we were going back to the weave poles, then flip him left as the approach to the jump opened up. Funny thing, I had also agonized about the final wrong course  option, presented by jump #1.

The Standard Course

I Q’d both Hazard and Kory in the standard course, so, not a bad day. With any luck my pups will have the same edge tomorrow!


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. You know… I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an embarrassingly inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.