Posts Tagged ‘Games and Courses’

Games of the 2012 Petit Prix ~ Part 3

September 21, 2012

This is a continuing series that provides a careful analysis of the games to be played at the 2012 Petit Prix. The 2012 Petit Prix will be run in two regions. All winners from either venue will be recognized as our national champions for 2012. A dog may compete in either tournament; or both.

Oct 26 – 27 – 28, 2012  PENNSYLVANIA PETIT PRIX
B & D
Creekside Activity Center
Latrobe, PA
Judge:  Deb Auer (IL), John Finley (OH)
Contact:  Janice Reynolds  (e-mail: arcmasterjanice@comcast.net)
Premium

Nov 2 – 3 – 4, 2012  TEXAS PETIT PRIX
Wichita Falls
/Wichita Co. Multi-Purpose Events Center
Wichita Falls, TX
Judges:  Deb Auer (IL), Wayne Van Deusen (WI)
Contact:  Kim Brewer  (e-mail: tantantanner@yahoo.com)
Premium

The games we’ll play are described in this series. For additional information and sample courses refer to The Book of Agility Games at www.dogagility.org/newstore.

What’s My Line

Named after the old television game of the 50s and 60s, What’s My Line? presents the obstacle course in the form of a puzzle. The game provides all handlers the opportunity to come up with a strategy for running the most efficient course possible. In the U.K., this game is known as Take Your Own Line.

Briefing

The objective of What’s My Line is to perform all of the obstacles on the field without repeating or omitting any or omitting any, as quickly as possible.

The handler earns one point for each obstacle his dog performs successfully. Each obstacle has the same value, regardless of the difficulty of performance and regardless of the number assigned to the obstacle.

If an obstacle is performed twice, the dog will lose a point for the performance.

If an obstacle is faulted, the team will receive no point for that obstacle. Further, the obstacle will be counted as used/completed. So the dog would earn an additional fault if the obstacle is repeated.

A four-paw commitment to a contact obstacle will commit the dog to the performance of that obstacle. Under this rule, if a dog commits to a contact obstacle with all four-paws, then bails off, he has committed to that obstacle. While the on-and-off refusal will not be faulted, the dog must be directed to finish the contact obstacle.

Time will be started and stopped at points designated by the judge. A maximum course time can be applied at the discretion of the judge.

Scoring

What’s My Line is scored Points, Then Time. Time is a tie-breaker only. The team with the most points will win.

Performance faults might be based on any rational system.

Course Design

What’s My Line uses obstacles laid out in a random pattern on the field, without numbers, and with no suggested course flow. What’s My Line can be played on virtually any configuration of obstacles. It is an ideal game to nest with another game or standard course so that only a minimal amount of tweaking of the obstacles is required.

This What’s My Line course is based on an existing numbered sequence. You can see it here: http://wp.me/pmSZZ-15p. This set of the field has a nice elegant solution, or two. Note that neither the start of the finish is constrained to a small area or single obstacle. This allows for a variety of possible solutions.

Course design may also be approached as a puzzle intentionally designed for What’s My Line. This design challenges the participants to see the lines and flow that might be less obvious.

The course designer should avoid big obvious loops that solve the riddle of order and direction. The riddle should be more like a puzzle.

Qualifying and Titles

Qualification should be based on the number of obstacles on the course. At the Masters/ Superior level the dog should earn all points; and only slightly fewer points should be required for lower levels.

For example on a field with 16 obstacles (and consequently 16 points) the qualifying criteria might be:

  • Games 1 ~ 14 points
  • Games 2 ~ 15 points
  • Games 3 ~ 16 points

A kinder judge might back these point requirements down by a single point.

Judging Notes

Obstacles may be numbered at the judge’s discretion. These numbers are for the judge’s reference only and in no way suggest a sequence for running the course. The advantage of numbering the obstacles is that the judge simply accounts for each obstacle performed; the bodies will be sorted out at the score-keeping table (meaning that the score-keeper will analyze the numbers for completeness of the mission, repeated obstacles, and so forth). Note that any game that requires the judge to yell out numbers lends itself to scribing errors.

Rather than numbering obstacles the judge might use the Mind Like a Steel Trap method for keeping track of accounting for the dog’s path. In this method is the judge’s responsibility to call the fault when an obstacle is repeated. The judge could signal one point for each obstacle performed or could inform the scribe of the total number after the dog has run.

Variations

  • Never Cross the Line variation – In this variation, invented by Helix Fairweather, in addition to the stipulation that the dog cannot repeat any obstacle, he is not allowed to cross his own line (meaning, no crossing patterns).

This is an example of Helix Fairweather’s “Never Cross the Line” variation. The dog is required to do all of the obstacles without repeating any, with the additional stipulation that he’s not allowed to cross his own path.

  • Zero Value Obstacle – The judge mentions the zero value of the obstacle in the general briefing. Whether the handler directs his dog to perform the obstacle depends upon whether he was paying attention in the briefing or whether he wants to give the dog time on the obstacle as a warm-up for a later class. There is no penalty for the dog performing the zero-valued obstacle. Frequently, the valueless obstacle is the dogwalk.
  • Scoring variation – Another scoring variation is to award the obstacle point values as in Gamblers, instead of just 1 point. More difficult numbers are assigned to the more difficult obstacles. The more obstacles on course, the higher the maximum possible score. This assignment of numbers might affect the handler’s strategy, as the handler might attempt the higher point values earlier in the solution to the course.
  • Original rules ~ If an obstacle is performed twice scoring will cease immediately. The team keeps points earned and must be directed to the time-stopper to stop the time.Also the original rules stipulated that if an obstacle is faulted “The handler may choose to retry the obstacle until it is performed correctly.”

Competitors Analysis

The handler’s job is obviously to find the most economical path for the dog to perform all of the obstacles. The handler should be ingenious in looking for lines through the course, which should not be limited by vertical and horizontal lines. Diagonal lines in the course should also be considered.

More important than finding a solution to the riddle is to find the shortest path that solves. Distance from the start  line to the first obstacle and distance from the last obstacle to the finish line should be taken into consideration.

Whenever possible use your handling skills and training foundation to steal a second or two from the competition. For example, if there is a moment in the course that requires a hard-aback turn after a jump, use your ability to pre-cue the turn or get an efficient wrapping turn to gain an advantage.

Blog872

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.

Games of the 2012 Petit Prix ~ Part 2

September 20, 2012

There was a real attempt in the selection of games for the 2012 Petit Prix to offer a balance of different games that test the skills of a team in sequencing, strategy, distance, and consistency.

The final round will be Jumpers, a fast and furious sequencing game. Note that in a real departure from the format of any previous Petit Prix, the accumulated score from the entire tournament are held by the dog without being washed away. Our national champions will be determined by their earned aggregate score. The significance of this, please note, is that a dog can lose the final round… but win the tournament!

The games we’ll play are described in this series. For additional information and sample courses refer to The Book of Agility Games at www.dogagility.org/newstore.

Call, Direct & Send

Call, Direct & Send is a numbered course that features the three distance challenges that give the game its name. This original AKC game is the invention of Will Koukkari and Sharon Anderson. Call, Direct & Send was once considered by the AKC as a “distance” game that might have become a part of the suite of required titling games. But this game was abandoned. Ultimately the AKC moved to the game FAST as the feature distance game.

Briefing

In Call, Direct & Send the dog and handler team are challenged to solve three distance riddles on a numbered course. The three distance challenges that give the game its name include: a Call over one to three obstacles; a Direct or mid-course distance challenge of two to five obstacles; and a Send over two to three obstacles to close out the game.

In Call, Direct & Send, boundaries are drawn to indicate an area into which the handler may not advance while the dog performs obstacles at a distance. Otherwise, the dog should follow the numbers.

For each distance challenge successfully completed the dog earns 10 points. The scoring basis for this game is Time+Faults-Bonus.

Call – The Call is a lead-off at the start line, requiring the handler to call the dog over the opening obstacles. In the Call the dog is placed on a Stay at the beginning of the course while the handler leads out to a point on the course designated by the judge. The handler must then call the dog over the initial obstacles and continue on course.

Direct – The Direct is a mid-course gamble sequence in which the dog will be required to work at a distance from his handler. The handler must direct the dog over the sequence of obstacles without crossing a containment line indicated by the judge and continue on course.

Send – The Send is the final gamble challenge. The handler sends the dog to perform the finishing obstacles while working at a distance from the dog in an area designated by the judge.

This sample Call, Direct & Send course is based on an Excellent JWW course designed by AKC judge Melinda Harvey at Oriole DTC on April 18, 1999.

Scoring

Call, Direct & Send is scored Time+Faults-Bonus. The team with the highest score wins.

Course Design

While traditionally Call, Direct & Send (CDS) was a Jumpers game, often including weave poles, the game has evolved over the years to include technical obstacles. It’s likely that this was an evolution of convenience as it allows CDS to be nested with standard courses.

Call, Direct & Send is not a standard course! That means that there are no required obstacles and there is no required number of obstacles, by class, as there is in the standard classes. This affords the course designer the leisure to design something lean, and to the point. That is the essence of the game.

This is a TDAA (teacup) example of a Call, Direct & Send course. It is nested closely with another game with minimal equipment movement. You can see the previous set of the floor here: http://wp.me/pmSZZ-15v

This course is fairly business-like in getting the three distance challenges done. The Call features a longish lead-out, by TDAA standards. The Call doesn’t really have to be anything tricky. It is intended to demonstrate whether the dog will stay for a modest lead-out.

In the Direct¸ from #4 to #6, the containment lines might seem generous. It is a riddle none‑the‑less and might not be as easy as it seems.

The Send, from just behind #12 to #13, is the end of the course. This closing gives a long straight lane of approach on both sides of the sequence. It is an honest test of the handler’s ability to send his dog straight-away over obstacles at a modest distance.

One of the most common errors in course design is approaching a distance challenge with a disturbed dog’s path or an intrusive handling moment. Allow the dog to flow into the gamble. Or, if you really want to make it a handling moment, at least provide enough real estate for the handler to demonstrate that he understands your riddle.

This discussion might suggest that the course designer’s objective in Call, Direct & Send is to dumb-down the challenge and make everything as simple as possible. That should never be your objective. But remember this, if you have never walked on the moon yourself, please don’t try to give us lessons.

Note that there’s a real opportunity to design a course that runs fast and gets you through the day quickly. Call, Direct & Send should not be a marathon.

Qualifying

A dog earning a score equal to or less than the Qualifying Course Time (QCT) will earn a qualifying score.

Establishing QCT

The QCT for the sample course shown above, in Course Design, might be established like this:

I’ve measured the course (in CRCD) and came up with a course distance of 66 yards. I’ll call it 68 just to add a fudge factor Running this through my Rates of Travel (RoT) calculator (applying rates of travel from the high end of the range since this is mostly a Jumpers course), I come up with the following numbers:

Games I 4″ / 8 “

45

35

12′′ / 16′′

43

33

Games II 4″ / 8 “

40

20

12′′ / 16′′

36

16

Games III 4″ / 8 “

32

2

12′′ / 16′′

30

0

The third column shows what would be the SCT if the correct rates of travel are applied. The QCT for this game, however, is reflected in column four. These numbers incorporate an “expectation for success”.  GI gets a QCT reduced by 10 points, anticipating that they’ll solve at least one of the distance challenges; GI gets a QCT reduced by 20 points, anticipating that they’ll solve at least two of the distance challenges; GIII gets the bad news, a QCT reduced by 30 points, anticipating that they’ll solve all of the distance challenges.

These numbers aren’t as onerous as they might sound. If the GII big dog, for example, runs the course in 29 seconds, but solves only one of the distance challenges. He’ll still qualify because his time, less the 10 point bonus, gives the qualifying score.

Please note that the table above is based on TDAA rates of travel, and TDAA jump heights.

Judging Notes

The judge should determine in advance how he will signal earned bonuses to the scribe. It might be a simple authoritative announcement of “Bonus!” Or, it might be an arm signal.

Note that this game should be judged using the rules for performance respective to the dog’s level. The weave poles, for example, might be judged differently for every class/level. And any contact obstacle would be judged for refusals for the higher levels; and possibly with a four-paw safety rule for Beginner/Novice.

It is possible for all levels to share the same briefing, and even walk the course at the same time. The real differentiation between classes will be the rates of travel and the qualifying criteria. The course itself can be the same for all levels. However, it’s common enough for the judge to draw different containment lines for different levels.

The judge needs a position on course to get a clear view of the containment lines. A gamble or distance challenge succeeds only when the handler stays on his side of the line, and the obstacles are performed without fault (dropped bar, wrong course, missed contact and so forth).

The judge should determine early how he or she will deal with people who return to their dogs at the beginning of the course to put the dog back in position for breaking a Stay. The tradition in the game is that when the handler leaves his dog the test has begun, and returning to the dog will negate the gamble bonus.

The Original AKC Variation

While the rules have morphed by play in other agility organization that actually play Call Direct & Send, it’s worth noting what were the rules of the game as it was played in the AKC. These are presented without warrant below.

Jumpers CDS (Call, Direct, and Send)

Scoring is based upon a 100 point system, 100 being perfect. Faults are deducted from the 100 points. 85 points are required to qualify. Time is used as a tiebreaker.

Call, Direct & Send is scored Points, Then Time. The team with the highest score wins.

Faults will be scored as follows:

  • Each refusal is faulted 5 points. In the Novice class, three refusals will be scored Elimination. In the Open class, two refusals will be scored elimination. In the Excellent class, one refusal will be scored elimination. (Note: An improper entry or missed weave pole in AKC is scored a refusal).
  • Each off course is faulted 5 points. Three off courses in any class will be scored elimination.
  • A knocked bar is scored elimination.
  • If the handler steps on or over any containment line while the dog is performing the indicated obstacles, the dog will earn a failure to perform.
  • Failure to perform any obstacle is scored elimination.
  • Failure to perform any of the three distance elements (Call, Direct, or Send) will be scored elimination. This includes stepping on or crossing the containment line.

All other performance faults will be applied as in the Standard classes, respective to the level of the dog.

Course Design ~ The typical Call, Direct & Send course will consist of jumps, tunnels, and weave poles. The contact obstacles are not used.

Competitors Analysis

A dog trainer who has given good focus to distance skills in the dog’s training foundation will have a pretty good idea about possibilities for success in a distance challenge or gamble. Know thy dog!

If the handler believes that the attempt of a distance challenge will likely fail and will certainly cost more time and frustration than it is worth… then the clever handler will decide in advance to forego the bonus and just run his dog through the sequence. The differential for the bonus might be made up in the dog’s speed in the overall course. Also, if competing in the TDAA’s Petit Prix (for example) the dog is accumulating a back-ground score for placement within the field. So even if the dog doesn’t qualify he’ll not be set back so far.

Good distance work has very little to do with standing still. Aside from the Call, the handler is more likely to have success with the distance challenges by applying the pressure of movement, while at a distance, and while honoring the containment lines of the course. The riddle of the distance challenge is in balancing the efficacy of movement against the placement of containment lines.

There is an excellent series of eBooks for distance training available: The Joker’s Notebook, issues #0 through #4, available at www.dogagility.org/newstore.

Notes on CRCD-4

  • It used to be I could click on an obstacle or object on the course map, or select a group, and then nudge them in 1′ increments using the arrow keys. This was very useful for getting exactly the desired measured distance between obstacles, while maintaining the alignment of obstacles. Unfortunately in this new release the obstacles are locked to the underlying grid. And so, they will no longer nudge.

I will move my continuing notes on the Clean Run Course Designer v4 to a page on my blog, where I will continue to store notes. Ultimately I’ll point the developer/Glen Kime to that page in case he has any interest in usage notes to be taken into consideration for future mods and releases. That page is here: http://wp.me/PmSZZ-15B.

Blog871

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.

Games of the 2012 Petit Prix ~ Part 1

September 19, 2012

In addition to three standard classes, the Petit Prix will consist of seven games. The games we’ll play are described in this series. For additional information and sample courses refer to the The Book of Agility Games at www.dogagility.org/newstore.

The objective of this series is to explore the games of the 2012 Petit Prix both to understand the basic rules of each game and to explore competitive strategies for each.

Power and Speed

Power and Speed, a British import game, is the Iron Dog competition of dog agility games. The game demonstrates the ability of the handler to exercise tight control (power) through a part of the course, then show loose control (speed) over another part of the course.

Briefing

Each handler and dog runs a course that is split into two sections: Power and Speed.

Power – The Power section typically consists of technical obstacles; contacts, and weave poles. The Power section may also contain spread hurdles or other specialty hurdles.

The Power section is un-timed. Consequently the start-line is positioned between the last obstacle of the Power section and the first obstacle of the Speed section. If the time is getting close to the course time the timer is instructed to watch the dog. If the dog’s time exceeds the course time, the dog will still be allowed to continue on the Speed section, but there will be no score awarded.

Any faults earned by the dog will be added to the dog’s score. For example, if the dog misses a contact or earns a refusal on a contact obstacle, his score would be 5 for the Power section. Obviously, the ideal score for the Power section is 0.

Speed – The Speed section contains a straightforward Jumpers sequence. The goal is for the dog to run the course as fast as possible, preferably with no faults.

Scoring

Scoring for Power and Speed is Time, Plus Faults: faults from the Power section plus time from the Speed section plus faults from the Speed section. The dog with the lowest score wins.

Power and Speed is judged under the performance rules respective to the venue, and level or class of the dog in competition.

Qualifying

The qualifying score for Power and Speed is based on the measured length of the Speed section using rates of travel appropriate to the level of the dog’s in competition. Time-Plus-Faults equal to or less than the SCT will earn a qualifying score.

Competitors Analysis

As the Power section of Power and Speed is not timed, the handler should not be in a rush to complete that section. When the “Speed” element of the game begins, the handler should push for the best possible speed and a smooth and flowing finish.

A common error in Power and Speed is for the handler to rush from the Power section into the Speed section without taking advantage of the fact that time does not begin until on the approach to the Speed section. With this in mind the handler should take careful note of where the start-line is drawn. And if a lead-out from the dog is desirable the handler should leave the dog in a stay and take the lead-out advantage.

A clever host club will put Power and Speed as one of the first classes in a weekend trial so that this class can be used both for obstacle familiarization. With the contact obstacles especially the handler can work at a moderate and calculated speed, reminding the dog of his job on every contact. That careful approach to this competition could benefit the dog’s performance on contacts through the entire weekend.

In the Speed section the handler should be aware that the clock has begun ticking. This is the time for bold and aggressive handling. Go for the gusto.

As with all games in the Petit Prix, if something goes wrong you should pick yourself up and go on. Even though errors might cause your dog to not earn a qualifying score; it’s not all about qualifying. You are being measured against the field earning a score that continues to accumulate in background scoring. If you give up and leave the field ignominiously, then your dog will have a score of zero which, in the long run, is not highly desirable.

Variations

  • Style and Sprint variation – This refinement of Power and Speed allows a generous but finite limit on the Power course to limit the obedience interruptions, downing and staying the dog between obstacles. Enough time should be allowed to do the Power course carefully, but not so much that the section becomes a protracted stalling drag.When this variation is used timing for the Power course alone will be required. This time-keeper will be required to blow a whistle, dismissing the dog, if the time is exceeded before beginning the Speed course. A 5 second warning whistle might be employed to give the handler the last gasp of a chance to get going.
  • Death Penalty ~ In this variation any fault in the Power section of the course results in elimination and immediate dismissal. While this is the early tradition, the game has evolved to be more kindly application of faults, deferring instead to an overall Time-Plus-Faults scoring basis.

Premium Blurb

Power and Speed is a two part game. In the first part [Power] the dog will run an un‑timed sequence of mostly technical obstacles; and in the second part [Speed] the dog will run a timed jumpers course. Power and Speed is scored Time, Plus Faults.

Giving CRCD-4 a Workout

The thing I’m most excited about in this new version of the Clean Run Course Designer is that it supports TDAA equipment. Having real 16″ diameter tunnels is great.

I’ve presented here a 3-D rendition of the Power and Speed course. 3-D is interesting and gives the rare perspective that you typically only see… after the course has been built with real equipment on the field. CRCD has a “Save As” feature in case you want to save the graphic in this perspective.

The developer has provided a number of new tools for changing the viewer’s aspect on the course. I’ve played with these a little bit, but have not explored them completely.

Usage Notes

  • As usual the big numbers are over-whelming to the TDAA course. It would be great to be able to size numbers in the same way you size text. I went through a period where I sized my own text. Of course you lose the ability to use the robust renumbering tools and course reversal when you’re working with raw text.I’m wondering if it would be possible in some future release for the numbers to lie down on the field (and the grid markers) the same way that text does?
  • Shaping the tunnel is different (therefore alien and annoying). I couldn’t figure it out at first. The designer has actually provided a little pop-up tutorial for grumpy old farts like me that provides guidance for how to shape the tunnel using the new tool.
  • I’m a keystroke typist rather than a mouser. So a lot of the tasks that I like to do are programmed into my finger tips. CRCD4 unfortunately has changed some of the simple keystroke combinations to perform common tasks. For example, previously to copy a course map you would type [Alt-E] then “C” (for Copy). CRCD4 has morphed this combination to [Alt-E] then “y” (for copY).However, [Ctrl-C] still works for the copy command.
  • CRCD4 has re-introduced a keystroke for course size. The keystroke was unavailable in CRCD3. This is good, as it is a common task when designing courses for a wide variety of spaces.

Blog870

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.

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: http://bit.ly/O1ZCe0. 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.

Blog869

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.

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!

Blog824

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.