Posts Tagged ‘NADAC’

Games of the 2012 Petit Prix ~ Part 6

September 26, 2012

The game to be played as the final round of the TDAA Petit Prix, our national championship tournament will be Jumpers. This is a game that doesn’t need much of an introduction as it is a popular format played by every agility venue in the world.

The Game Within the Game at the Petit Prix (you’ll have to see tomorrow’s blog) is the steadiness and overall performance of a dog in this competition. In a departure from all years previous there will be no elimination of dogs from the competition for falling below some arbitrary set-point of accumulated score. That means every dog will compete in every competition.

And, mind you, this is not a winner-take-all round.

At the 2012 Petit Prix the top 40 dogs will be set aside for a final showcase run on the Jumpers course. They will be run by jump height in reverse seed order. This round will be theirs to win or lose. It’s possible, and actually somewhat likely, that some of the exhibitors sitting as spectators during the showcase round will move up into the top 40 on the basis of their performance in the final round.

Jumpers

The Jumpers class measures a dog’s ability to jump and turn and the handler’s ability to exert control and timing in this fast-paced version of the agility game. Though the dog only needs to learn to jump to begin competing, Jumpers is one of the most difficult games to perfect as dogs move at a much greater speed than in other classes.

Briefing

Jumpers courses consist only of hurdles and tunnels, with some limitations between the different venues. The dog is required to run the course in the sequence indicated by the judge.

Follow the numbers. And keep the bars up.

Jumpers is judged according to the performance rules for the respective venue.

Scoring

Jumpers is usually scored Faults, Then Time the winner being the dog with the fewest faults. If two dogs have the same number of Faults, Then Time breaks the tie.

Jumpers can be scored Time, Plus Faults. The winner would be the dog with the lowest score.

Course Design

This is an example of a USDAA Masters course. A USDAA course requires the performance of at least three spread hurdles. These courses are not inconsequential in terms of challenge and handling. You’ll see options and traps and the need for excellent timing and deft handling.

This is an example of a Novice course. Note that it is nested perfectly with the Masters course example. The course designer may want to move out unused obstacles so that the lower levels are not presented with “dummy” jumps.

Excepting play in the AKC (and possibly in USDAA Team/PVP) only tunnels and hurdles may be used on the course. As the level of competition rises, so does the complexity of the course. In addition, as the level of competition increases, the time to perform the course decreases.

This is an example of a Jumpers course designed for play in the TDAA. The spacing between obstacles is considerably tighter than in any other venues. What’s worth remembering about the TDAA is that it is intended for dogs of small stature. And so the Jumpers course especially emphasizes the central idea of the TDAA, to present to the small dog handler challenges that are comparable to what big dog handlers face on any given weekend.

This is an example of an important variation of Jumpers called, appropriately, Jumpers With Weaves. The performance standard for AKC Excellent Jumpers With Weaves requires an unflinching mastery of the course.

This is an example of a DOCNA Jumpers course (arguably it would be suitable for NADAC as well). You’ll note that DOCNA does not use tunnels, and all of the jumps are wingless. In the NADAC-style venues the courses are devoid of challenges that are routine in venues like the USDAA, AKC, and TDAA; you’ll find no options, or traps, hard-about turns, or wicked handling moments. Everything is flow and go. As a consequence, the rates of travel for NADAC and DOCNA are more aggressive and demanding than in any other venue.

Strategies

The basic advice in the Jumpers class is to follow the numbers, and keep the bars up.

Since only jumps and tunnels (where allowed) are used, Jumpers courses tend to be more difficult for handlers to memorize than other types of courses. To be successful in Jumpers, it is more important than ever to remember course flow and sequences rather than individual obstacles.

Also, the handler’s movement and timing are important on Jumpers courses in the control of the dog as the action is coming fast and furious. The handler should be sharp, and timely.

The most common faults in Jumpers are wrong courses and refusal. Thus, emphasis should be placed on considering approaches, angles, and distances to obstacles during the course walk-though.

The key strategy for Jumpers is to train the dog to jump and to be responsive to handling in fast and flowing situations.

Qualifying and Titles

Nearly every venue features Jumpers as a titling class and an element of the respective championship programs.

Qualifying is based on the measured length of the dog’s path; usually at considerably more aggressive rates of travel than the standard classes. Whether the scoring basis is Time+Faults or Faults, Then Time, the score must be equal to or less than the established SCT. The lowest score wins.

Variations

  • Jumpers with Weaves ~ This format is used by the AKC. In a departure from the Jumpers class in most venues, Weave poles are featured in the jumpers course.
  • USDAA Dog Agility Masters® (DAM) tournament Jumpers – The format for DAM Jumpers is different from the Jumpers played in USDAA titling classes: 1) weave poles are often included; 2) a refusal is penalized 2 points; and 3) The scoring system is Time, Plus Faults.
  • Land Rover Drive – This game, also known as Jump and Drive, is perhaps a historical footnote. The Land Rover Drive and Jumping contest grew out of the sponsorship by Land Rover for agility trials in the U.K. The handler loads his dog into a Land Rover, drives a designated course, parks the vehicle in a garage and then jumps out to run his dog over a Jumpers course. The judge will designate the starting point for the Land Rover, the path of the vehicle and the garage where the vehicle must be parked. Dog and handler (and the course clock) start on foot across a starting line designated by the judge.
  • Black and Whites – This British variation is Jumpers for black and white Border Collies only (or black and white dogs with any hint of BC in them).
  • Jumpers with Weaves Plus ~ loosely based on the AKC Jumpers with Weaves titling class, but with multiple weave pole challenges. The Purpose of the game is to complete the course in the specified order, as quickly as possible, without faults.

This is an example of a Jumpers with Weaves Plus course (closely based on a course designed by Ilze Rukis for play in the TDAA in Warrensburg, IL on April 12, 2003).

Premium Blurb

Jumpers is a favorite game in the dog agility world. Courses are made up of jumps and tunnels only, so the play is fast and furious. Follow the numbers and keep the bars up.

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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.

Reintroduced to NADAC

December 10, 2009

Calera Oklahoma was friggin’ cold, and wet, and windy. I did six days of NADAC judging clinic… three mixed classroom/ practical and three practicing judging under NADAC rules for a Fun Raiser trial. I’ve learned heaps and have a lot of notes to sort through.

I’m happy to be home. I left early on Thanksgiving day and now it’s well into December. I especially regret that I didn’t get the haircut I needed about a week before I started the trip. Did I mention that Calera was windy?

Never have I maintained much of a bias for or against any agility venue. You know, it’s all rock ‘n roll to me. With that in mind I find NADAC to be pragmatic and forward-thinking and probably apart from any venue subscribing to the so-called “international standard” for the sport. I say “apart” and intend not to mince words here. This is not the same game as played in the USDAA, TDAA, or AKC. NADAC is founded on a thoughtful sensitivity for safety and fairness to the dog both in the design of courses and in the construction of equipment.

Course design is intuitive. And everything is about speed and flow. You know, the reason I even attended this clinic is because I’ve wanted from the beginning to make my boy Kory’s introduction to the sport of agility in NADAC. I want him to understand from the very beginning that agility is about working at full speed.

As to construction standards… if there is any one thing that has permanently switched in my brain is that contact obstacles should have a rubber surface; (yah, I reckon a NADAC person reading this would be wondering why I’ve been retarded on the point). To tell you the truth, Sharon Nelson did about a 15 minute demonstration on a full-height A-frame with a young pup who’d not been previously introduced to the obstacle. Here was a young dog wiggling around and moving with complete confidence and control on a surface that without the rubber would have had the dog scrabbling his toe-nails against a harder surface and feeling out of control. With the rubber surface the dog was completely nonplussed and in control.

In terms of distance training and handling and directional control of the dog NADAC players are far superior to players in any other venue in this country. I’m sorry, that sounds like quite a preposterous claim based as it is on a nearly insignificant statistical sampling. Given the amazing distance handling I saw this past weekend… I believe it right down to my bones.

The Cultish NADAC

So over the past week little NADAC myth bubbles have been popping left and right for me. It’s funny, if you keep hearing a thing it begins to resonate as a truth. A big one for me is the notion that competition in NADAC is “whatever’s in front of you is right!” (meaning the next obstacle). Well, that one ain’t true for sure. NADAC course design is proud to offer options and discriminations… and with the dog working at full-tilt rather than at a gathered pace.

Some of my favorite students around the country, by the way, are huge NADAC fans. I regret teasing them over time about their starry-eyed affection for the venue; but remember that I’ve been influenced by prevalent myths. I see in retrospect what draws them to my teaching. I teach handling skills complimentary to NADAC… giving information to a dog working at full speed.

League Game 12-10-09 – Power & Speed

I got a phone call yesterday from one of our TDAA judges (Holly, down in Georgia) wanting clarification on how to play the game Power & Speed. I believe I talked her through it. But after the call I decided to put this game up for our weekly league game. The fun part about this game—for the purposes of agility training—is that the performance of the contact obstacles in the Power section of the game goes untimed. That means the handler can make a big show of training with the dog and set a standard of care in the dog’s performance which should last the entire night (of training). I am personally of the belief that it is the handler’s own panic and rush that erodes solid contact performances in this sport.

Oh, and I was really working very hard on the design of this game to give sweeping transitional distances between the obstacles… creating for myself an intellectual puzzle in which I limited myself to 3,000 square feet of floor space for a 14 obstacle  jumping sequence. And yet, I managed to provide pretty much 20′ on average between obstacles.

Note that this is not a TDAA course. In Teacup the transitional distances between obstacles would be nearly half of what is required for big dogs.

Power and Speed

Power and speed, a British import game, is the Irondog 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

The course is split into two sections Power and Speed.

  1. The Power section is mostly comprised of contact obstacles, the weaves poles, and possibly hurdles and tunnels. The goal of this side is to have the handler negotiate his dog through the course without faulting. There is maximum time in which the dog must finish this part of the course. If you complete the Power section with no faults, under the established time, you are allowed to continue to the Speed section. There is no score on the power side other than to qualify to go on. [For the purpose of league play, we will forgo the death penalty fault… any fault earned in the Power section will become 5 faults added to the jumpers/speed section.]
  2. The Speed section contains a straight forward jumping course. Here the scoring is on a time plus faults basis.

Scoring

Scoring Power and Speed comes from the speed side only. Thus, if dog one ran the power side in 40 seconds and the speed side in 35, his total score is 35 seconds. If dog two ran the power side in 30 seconds and the speed side in 36 seconds, his total score would be 36 seconds. Dog one would win, even though dog two’s power side, (and consequently his total time) was faster.

Power and Speed is judged time plus faults in the Speed section since in order to get through to this section you must complete the Power section fault free.

  • The class is scored on a time plus faults basis—lowest score wins.
  • Refusals are faulted as are dropped bars and missed contacts.
  • Maximum course time is 2 minutes. If the course is not completed within maximum time, the dog and handler are eliminated.
  • The first section of the course—obstacles #1 through #5—is not timed. However, a handler will earn a 5-second time fault for any mistake. If, for example, a dog misses the up contact on the A-frame his score would be 5 for the first part of the course—obviously, the ideal score for #1 through #5 is 0.
  • The timekeeper will start the stopwatch at jump #1 (white circle numbers) and stop it after jump #14. Any faults earned in the first part of the course are added to this time. Suppose the dog that missed the A-frame contact ran #1 through #14 in 17.2 seconds. His final score would be 22.2 seconds.

1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available on the Country Dream Web Store.