Posts Tagged ‘National Dog Agility League’

Just For Fun Agility

March 2, 2016

I’m tempted by the mission of the Dog Agility Blogger’s Action Day topic:

FUN!
Three little letters that I’m afraid some
people involved in  our sport may have lost
track of. There is so much focus on
foundation, cues, systems,training, etc. So
much pressure to do *everything* exactly
“right”.

https://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/fun/

Let’s not just give lip service to the idea of having fun in agility. I’m doing something about it right now.

We have created the National Dog Agility League. It’s not a titling organization; and it’s not some big money making scheme. The NDAL is a coalition of clubs around the continent (and hopefully one day, around the world) who put up the same course, and run their dogs under the same rules, and then roll up all of the results as it were a single competition.

Central to the League is the Team Score. The Team Score is derived from the top five scores in the franchise club. So obviously a club that is running 50 dogs has some advantage over the club running only 10 dogs. Within each franchise everybody would dearly desire to earn one of those top five scores; but if you don’t, your score doesn’t hurt the team, and you can take pride in your franchise’s performance against all of the other clubs in the league.

The Rational Standard

The “rational standard” that plagues our sport that any fault is a death penalty fault.

The National Dog Agility League seeks to establish a standard for performance that allows the equitable comparison of performance in agility dogs. About the only way to earn a score of “E” in an NDAL course is for your dog to poop on the top of the A-frame [sorry if that sounded graphic… ].

In the NDAL a dog gets 5 faults for: a dropped bar; a wrong course; a missed down contact; a missed weave pole; a fly-off the teeter; on-and-off the table; and refusals (faulted on contacts only). A dog gets 20 faults for failure to perform.

And here’s the fun part: The scoring basis is Time, Plus Faults.

The Fun Stuff

We are treating all NDAL courses as open competitions. That means you can pick up a course that 100 dogs have run (maybe several years ago) and add your scores to that record. This year we will publish a suite of training courses, all of which have historic competition records.

What’s fun about this is that you might run a course in your club maybe once a year; and each year you can compare the scores of the same dogs and thereby measure progress in skill and development. Or, if you take it a step farther, you might have a young dog now and pick up a course that was run by an old family dog who is waiting for you over the bridge. So two generations of dogs, or more, can participate in the same competition.

Also be aware of the YouTube data. We collect with a dog’s score a “YouTube” link. This is a lot of fun because people in different parts of the country/world can look at how a dog and his person who might be thousands of miles away fared on that same course.

So when you compare a dog’s growth in skill over time, or compare different generations of dogs on the same course, it is just so fun to have a YouTube recording of each.

Allow me to share with you a posting of NDAL results. Follow it through to find the YouTube records: 60×90 Intermediate to Masters Games and Courses ~ 60×90 League Standings

Lifetime Performance Points

In the National Dog Agility League, individual scores (and team scores) are derived from earned LPP. We use a rational system of Time, Plus Faults on numbered courses for the purpose of providing granularity of performance. If a competition features 100 dogs and your dog comes in at 20th place… that performance might be a devastating travesty in the traditional agility organization; but under the NDAL system, your dog accrued 80 LPP from that performance. So the measurement isn’t about how poorly you did on the day, it is about how well you did.

Though the NDAL is not a titling organization, we are contemplating a system of certification that recognizes earned LPP for individual dogs.

Out Takes

The world of agility has really changed in the last 28 years. Well for sure, 28 years ago the sport was just getting a start in the United States and around the world. In those days there were no books, no videos, and no gurus of the sport. So you might say that we created the monster that agility has become.

I chuckled at the DABAD notion that there is “so much pressure to do everything exactly right.” The part that gets me is the prevailing definition of “exactly right”… and that is, you tie your dog to you like a Velcro-bunion and race around the ring scraping the dog off your side on a series of obstacles numbered by the judge.

And the rational standard has it that if you make any error your score goes zap nq nt and you can slink away to the parking lot in ignominious defeat. Oh! How fun is that?

Apparently it’s very fun as the money extraction factory goes ka-ching ka-ching every weekend across the land in this artificial measurement of skill and validation.

Clearly when you see me out in the world running my own dogs I’m a hot mess to be sure. And I am clearly playing a different game than most of the people out there. Oh don’t get me wrong, there was a time I made a living out of out-running little old ladies. But I’m an older man now with arthritic knees and I would very much like to approach the game in a more playful fashion with skills trained on my dogs that pretty much have little value under the “rational standard” that dominates our sport.

Nearly 20 years ago I started up Just for Fun Agility which is an early incarnation of the National Dog Agility League. What I liked about it … JFF wasn’t about money and completely without ambition. Foolish man! How could I so completely miss the obvious? Our sport is completely driven by profit and ambition.

We are adjusting the model to make the Franchise/Club the main recipient of “profit” while passing on the greatly reduced expense to clients & students & league players as an inexpensive approach to the game of agility. The gurus of the sport aren’t likely to be big fans of a form of the game that isn’t all about profit and ambition. But we don’t really need them, and we never did.

Jumping Into the League

Playing with the NDAL is a simple matter. We’re running three separate leagues based on the size of the working space. So, if you have a working space big enough you can participate in any or all of the three leagues.

Each of the leagues also has a flavor or level of difficulty for the courses played.

The series will run for three months (and began in January). The course maps for each are contained in the scorekeeping worksheets.

Dogs must be registered with the National Dog Agility League. For now, the franchise clubs keep the fee or pass it along as a perk to your league players. You can download the registration form HERE.

All courses in the first series will be conducted under Top Dog Agility Players rules for performance. The Top Dog Rules and Regulations can be downloaded HERE.

 

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

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Busyness

February 4, 2016

This is a wicked strange winter we’ve been having. One day it’s warm… next day it’s cold. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve been staying busy busy. And, I’m having a lot of fun getting the National Dog Agility League going. We’re up to about 500 runs a month.

We’ve published another episode of the Top Dog League Review program. You can find the program here: https://youtu.be/rKX8xTP9tsg. This program focuses on the 60×90 “C” competition; a competition intended for Intermediate to Masters level challenges. The video publishing effort is still amateurish but I’m learning the tools as we move along.

Tech Tools

The extensive use of YouTube recording by our member clubs makes the Review possible. I had an exchange with Brenda Gilday about the use of “short links”. When publishing a series of YouTube recordings for your league team the editing page on YouTube will provide short links for each. The alternative url is the long line of text that appears at the top of the browser.

Anyhow, Brenda told me that she couldn’t figure out how to find the short link, so I popped over to my YouTube account… and sure enough, I couldn’t find the short links as readily as you can when you’re uploading a list of files.

Bitly

It turns out that there is a utility on the internet which will take your long url and turn it into a short link / small url. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s easy to use: https://app.bitly.com/

Bitly turned this:

http://natldogagilityleague.com/blog/2016/02/01/january-ndal-in-the-books/,

into this: http://bit.ly/20CDdbL

Active Presenter

This is program that I use for capturing a region of the computer screen and turning it into video; and of course Active Presenter allows you to record a voice over. They have a free low end version of the program that does everything I need to do. Frankly it probably does a lot more that I could actually use, if I ever could set aside some time to study properly.

I mention this program because I’m going to ask our February games masters, Steve Schwarz and Wayne Van Deusen to do a review of their courses from the designer’s POV. I’d like to use their analysis (rather than my analysis) for future Review programs.

[[Steve has published training sequences based on the set of equipment for his 50×50 challenge in his popular blog:

http://agilitynerd.com/blog/agility/courses/steve/steve-ndal-2016-02.html … I should have short-linked that url with Bitly! ]]

What I did in my course review for January… I saved the course map as a bitmap and opened it in Paint. This allowed me to use big sloppy brush strokes to describe the dog’s path. That’s a tool you just won’t find in the Clean Run Course Designer.

Window’s Live Movie Maker

My “movie” editing software is a free thing that Microsoft bundled with Windows 8. It’s primitive but has much of the functionality that I need. Though, I haven’t figured out how to edit or change the sound track… and I don’t properly know how to do transitions between scenes.

I’ll give Steve Lewis a shout on the topic just to see if he has words of wisdom for me [you’ll recall that Steve did the video productions for the USDAA Nationals back in the day.] He’ll likely wince at my productions but he’s too polite to really blast me.

I believe that Active Presenter will probably do much of the editing that I need. Maybe I should study it a bit more. I’m kind of stuck with a problem here… I bought a new computer with Windows 10. And, not only does Microsoft no longer support Window’s Live Movie Maker… but it is incompatible with Windows 10.

Windows 10

I pretty much hate it. WTF

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

Resolutions for a New Year

December 29, 2015

I promise in 2016 to take better care of my health. I’ve got to lose weight; and I’ve got to eat better. Beyond that I will enjoy life day by day and make the most of my hobbies and passions.

The funny thing is, after a lifetime of striving to build and develop for “the future”… I realize that the future is now. It’s a change for me, to live for today, and not for tomorrow. Do I know how to do it?

I’ll share a couple of my projects for the New Year below.

The Joker’s Notebook

Since we got our young girl Cedar we’ve been video-taping our ongoing training, subscribing to Marsha’s Two Minute Dog Trainer methodology. It is my intention to take a fairly extensive body of work from the pages of The Joker’s Notebook and create a compendium publication with links to YouTube videos which give a visual reference to the training.

I got a chuckle the other day when going through the videos and found more than one of me in my robe doing early morning training with Cedar. That’s the reality of dog training. You don’t always get dressed up like you’re going to be on camera. Sometimes you just throw on the morning robe and go get ‘er done.

Not to brag, or anything, but the Joker’s Notebook is a comprehensive reference for teaching a dog independent performance in agility and the perfect foundation for an amazing distance dog.

Cedar has her own Facebook page with lots of her videos published: Cedar’s Facebook page

Agility League Play

A chief passion for me for the last several years has been to build a league of franchise clubs that run the same course or play the same game in a league format. The league finally has some traction and is slowly (oh, so slowly) growing.

The National Dog Agility League has a presence on Facebook: NDAL on Facebook

The first game we’re going to play here at my place in 2016 is the course set for a 60′ x 90′ space. In the 60×90 we’re getting away from the “international” grind into something more lovely and flowing… but certainly with some challenge.

I’ll share with you:

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This should be a lot of fun!

Come Play With Us!

The National Dog Agility League is gearing up for a new year. We have been tantalized with the prospect of a NatGeo program in early 2017 based on our championship series. The program will be based on the players who support the league.

You can find a description of the 1st quarter 2016 series here: http://wp.me/p2Pu8l-67

The first quarter series is actually three separate leagues based on a) size of the floor and b) difficulty of the challenges.

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

Nov 2015 Pick-up Game

November 7, 2015

The following is a simple numbered course that we’ll set up for our Monday night class. To tell you the complete truth, I wanted something with a lot of generous flow and not so much reliance on “international” skills. The international stuff frankly gets tedious after a while and borders on technical micro-management. And it doesn’t particularly favor the “pure for motion” dog who wants a handler running with… not a micro-manager.

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I have a couple students who need an old-timey lesson from me about raw movement. I believe that movement is the most compelling directional cue that a handler can provide to his dog. And most importantly, that movement is fundamental to the dog’s motivation.

Sequences

While I won’t be sharing all of our planned sequences, I’ll share a couple to give you the spirit of the training and practice.

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In this sequence I will argue for a Blind Crossing strategy. The Blind Cross is a racing movement. And if the handler can inspire in his dog the joy of the race this simple sequence can be a real romp. But don’t you know, you don’t run the plan, you run the dog. So if indeed the dog is inspired by the “racing movement” there’s a very real chance that the dog will outrace the handler. And since you can’t really cross in front of the dog when you’re not actually in front of the dog, the handler needs to develop a simple extemporaneous skill… the speed change. This means that the handler transitions from slow dog handling (forward and pulling) to fast dog handling (behind and pushing).

I will save specific handling advice for my Monday night students. The lesson isn’t dictated; it is found.

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We’re also going to do a share of work on contact obstacles. I personally have an ambition that my dogs will understand the unambiguous finish position on a contact obstacle. But whether a dog is expected to do a 2o2o or a running contact, a bit of practice is good practice for the diligent dog trainer.

A Word about Pick-Up Games

This is not a NDAL League game. However, the game is going to be registered with the NDAL and dogs will earn Lifetime Performance Points. All registered games become permanent artifacts and are eligible for play by any NDAL member club, at any time. A club in some faraway place could pick up this game in five years or so… and run it. And their scores would be recorded alongside the scores my students earn on this Monday next.

As a teaching tool, I could play this game again in a year… or in three. And those recorded scores can be compared and possibly reveal something interesting about the dog’s development over time.

And the really fun part of this is that NDAL records include a data field to a YouTube recording of the run. While the YouTube data is optional, the use the game as a teaching tool is considerably enhanced. At the very least the use of the game as a nostalgic reference is also enhanced.

Post Script

Since I’m registering the game as an NDAL competition, I will provide the link to download the scorekeeping worksheet: HERE

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

October Results Reported ~ K9 Powersports

October 20, 2015

K9 Powersports in Grand Junction, CO has reported results for the final game of the summer 2015 series of the National Dog Agility League. You can view those results OCT RESULTS.

Jumping in to the League

If you have interested in jumping into League Play, the October workbook for the final game of the summer series can be downloaded HERE. Results must be reported by the last day of the month to be counted in league competition.

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Training Sequences (Courtesy of Steven Schwarz): http://agilitynerd.com/blog/agility/courses/steve/steve-ndal-2015-10.html

Handler’s Analysis (Courtesy of Bud Houston):

https://budhouston.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/planning-the-league-course/

Blog1061 NDAL

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

Planning the League Course

October 12, 2015

Before ever walking a course the handler can do a certain amount of visualization of the performance. Your brain needs to draw from the two-dimensional course map and from your imagination a plan that is a rational fit to the challenge. When you finally get to walk the course you have just a few minutes to add choreography to the music that you have composed.

Below is my own (untested and unproven) solution to the October NDAL competition. My plan may change after I’ve walked it.

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The jump #1 to #3 opening to this course is a skill I routinely practice with my dogs, approaching jump #1 dog-on-right, using a Tandem cue to turn away to jump #2. This leaves me far enough ahead that I can make a good presentation of jump #3 and slide into a Blind Cross for the approach to jump #4. The only real question about this opening will be the A-frame option after jump #1, which could be compelling to the dog and disturb the pressure and clarity of the Tandem.

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The approach to the weave poles is nearly perpendicular, raising the question of whether to shape the approach or to trust in the dog’s training. Know thy dog.

The approach to the pipe tunnel at #7 is a pull-through in a cluster. All that really means is that there’s so much that can go wrong in moment after the weave poles that the handler had better have both good plan and good execution. For my part, I’m going to call my dog into a Back Pass.

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I have put a good training foundation on my boy for “named obstacle” discrimination. But don’t you know, in this crowded back corner (the cluster) the #7 pipe tunnel is a cannon pointed broadside at the A-frame. I believe I’m going to step in a take a blocking position. Of course this leaves me behind after the dismount of the pipe tunnel. A notable feature of this set of equipment is the unused expanse of real estate at the center of the field. Mostly I will just be driving from the back seat.

The handler should be aware of the wrong course option posed by the jump to the right of the A-frame after jump #10.

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This is the relaxed part of the overall course. The A-frame puts the dog back into the “cluster”; the correct entry to the #12 pipe tunnel probably shouldn’t be taken for granted. And out of the weave poles the handler might want to open up the approach to the #14 jump, just a bit, so that it’s not completely depressed.

Otherwise, the handler should be working to be in position for whatever is the plan after jump #17.

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#17 to #19 is a bit technical. The handler has to call the dog into a modest “pull-through” after jump #17 and somehow sell the turn out of the pipe tunnel to jump #19. Don’t be fooled by the line that turns neatly out of the tunnel in the drawing. Life doesn’t always go like the drawing.

Anyhow, I’ll endeavor to precue the change of directions by giving a little “backy-uppy” presentation of the tunnel.

Jumping in to the League

If you have interested in jumping into League Play, the October workbook for the final game of the summer series can be downloaded HERE.

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Training Sequences (Courtesy of Steven Schwarz):

http://agilitynerd.com/blog/agility/courses/steve/steve-ndal-2015-10.html

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

Dog Agility Television

September 30, 2015

NatGeoTV plans to produce a program featuring Top Dog and the National Dog Agility League. This is not a series. But we are inclined to want to blow their socks off and make it very clear that it should be a series. The plan is for February of 2017 in conjunction with the events surrounding Westminster.

In 2016 we will be marketing the league in earnest. NatGeoTV might be electrified by the support by the agility community. But we’ll have to demonstrate that we are capable of supplying that electricity.

The format that I have envisioned all along is a competition between the two top franchises in the National Dog Agility League. That means that accrued scores for each club in 2016 will qualify the teams for the on-air competition. Play will be open to anyone in the world who wants to put up the course, utilizing basic social networking tools for the recording and aggregation of scores.

In routine league play the team score for a franchise club is derived from the scores of their top five players. That gives a notable advantage to franchises with lots of dogs. The plan for the NatGeoTV segment will be that the teams must be selected in advance.

In a “king of the hill” format the top franchise in 2016, based on earned LPP, will be the host. The runner-up gets to travel and challenge the Top Dog team on their turf. That sounds intimidating eh?

At the same time any club anywhere in the world will be able to put up the challenge course and submit scores in the competition. For this one event we will require a YouTube link (to a recording which might wind up on the program). The YouTube data is optional in routine league play.

League franchise clubs established in 2015 will be grandfathered.

Jumping in to the League

The October workbook for the final game of the summer series can be downloaded HERE.

If you have interested in jumping into League Play, you barely have time to play on the second course of the summer league. The workbook can be downloaded here: September League.

While it is too late to compete in the first course of the summer series, you are invited to run that course and record your scores with all previous competitors. The August workbook can be downloaded here: August League

The score-keeping workbook for the out-of-league course can be downloaded here: Pick-up Game

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

League Play at Country Dream

September 23, 2015

Our classes are always based on the “league” game. Since the competitive league is a monthly affair, some of our classes will be based on a pickup game.

The course below is a National Dog Agility League game that was played about two years ago. I’m excited by the prospect of running this course again because a couple of our dogs and a couple of our student’s dogs ran it two years ago. This rerun allows us to compare a dog’s development over time.

These days we video-tape all of our runs; and I’m pretty sure we don’t have the original runs recorded. And so even though we have time and scores, whatever errors of play or judgment we might have made then, are lost in the dust of time. But, since we are keen to record (and post on YouTube) these days; it might make an interesting comparison in maybe another two years.

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Any course or game that you play will have good material for teaching and practice. I’m pretty sure in the design of this course that I was preoccupied with how to give a turning cue to a dog heading into a straight pipe tunnel. Mind you I believe that the handler’s posture on making the presentation of a pipe tunnel cues the dog on how to make the dismount… whether to fire out of the tunnel as though out of the barrel of a cannon, or to bend neatly into a turn.

If the handler is nowhere near the pipe tunnel as the dog goes in… then posture can’t be all that significant and the handler will have to rely on verbal cues. We’ll develop this line of thought more at class on Monday night.

You are welcome to join us in playing this game. You can even record your own scores with the National Dog Agility League. Download the scorekeeping workbook HERE.

On the Road Again

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Medford, OR where I’ll lead a single seminar day on Friday, and judge a TDAA trial on Saturday and Sunday. I’m coming home on the red eye on Sunday night. So it should make for an interesting week as I try to recover.

I’ve set our league course already so that it’s ready to rock ‘n roll on Monday night.

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

The Back-Pass

September 20, 2015

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The first back-pass I ever saw in the context of dog agility was probably about 10 or 12 years ago. Stuart Mah was running a nice little Corgi dog, and on the exit of the weave poles he cued the dog to come around him clockwise. All the movement really did for him at the moment is resolve a change of sides at a jump following the poles. He wasn’t forced into rear-crossing the dog at the upcoming jump.

I’ve studied the movement now for several years and have pretty much integrated a back-pass into my work in agility. While it only takes about 20 minutes to teach to a dog; the skill is foreign in our collective conscious and understanding of the game of agility. This is lonely work without the benefit of collaborative study of my erstwhile peers. Nobody really understands it yet.

The National Dog Agility League course for September featured a back-side jump performance early in the course. The back-pass is ideally suited for a number of international-style­ challenges, including the pull-through and the back-side jump; and any moment begging for a vee-set. Here’s my league run, if you care to live through it: https://youtu.be/TrDXYFoG5Xc

The key attribute of the back-pass that I find most appealing is that the dog drops completely out of obstacle focus to curl tightly around the handler’s position.

This was my original league analysis: http://wp.me/p2Pu8l-4T. I didn’t actually use the handling that I had originally contemplated.

Notes on the Back Pass

The back-pass is not a “movement”. It is a skill taught to the dog

The counter-side foot establishes the direction of the dog’s movement on the finish. And so, it should point in the direction you want the dog to move. The handler should measure the distance to the next obstacle to ensure that the dog has adequate room for that approach.

The movement doesn’t have to be a literal 180 turn. The back-pass could be used to indicate the barest turning radius. With that in mind, the handler may rotate as the dog circles around; or the handler may begin the rotation as the dog moves to the handler’s position.

The back-pass has none of the “rock-on-a-string” qualities of the Front Cross; and generally will deliver a quicker and neater turn.

While the back-pass seems to blend in spirit with the Blind Cross, it is not so “fuzzy” a movement as the Blind Cross; but also does not deliver the quality of acceleration that makes the Blind Cross bold and aggressive.

“The key attribute of the back-pass that I find most appealing is that the dog drops completely out of obstacle focus to curl tightly around the handler’s position.” When I say this to people out in the world I look for a light to switch on behind their eyes. I’m disappointed when I don’t see the light. Where there is no light, there is only darkness.

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

The Van Deusen Riddle

September 9, 2015

The National Dog Agility League September league course was designed by Wayne Van Deusen. This course features some interesting handling challenges, with a definite international flavor.

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In my own classes (which attend league play) we spend a bit of time walking through the league course to talk about handling strategies to solve the course we are running. My mission as instructor is ever to teach my students the basic skills to solve the riddles posed by the course designer.

The handler is the architect of the dog’s path. And so handling should always begin with a visualization of the dog’s path. Once we set that very basic goal, just about anyone can rummage through the inventory of skills they might have to conduct the dog upon that path. Whether the plan is right or wrong will sort itself out when we test the proposition with a dog in motion (with time-keeper, scribe and judge all playing their part in the drama).

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These days most of us own some rudimentary approach to a “back-side” jump. Clearly the approach to jump #2 is a managed approach. On this course, however, the back-side is the beginning of a more complicated riddle.

Jump #2 actually gives the handler a choice of turning directions. I’m inclined to begin with the natural turning direction as the natural choice unless other factors talk me out of that choice. What the drawing shows is that a right turn (which is the natural turning direction) at jump #2 will expose the wrong course tunnel option at #4.

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Turning the dog to the left at jump #2, as previously noted, fights against the natural turning direction. It also exposes a wrong course option (presenting jump #1 again to the dog). And it also calls for a considerably depressed angle approach to jump #3. But, the consequential path sets the dog up neatly for the correct entry to the pipe tunnel at #4.

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On the dismount of the #4 pipe tunnel the handler might simply attack jump #5 and work to pre-cue the turn to #6. This strategy probably raises the odds of the dog dropping the bar at jump #5, and clearly sets up jump #2 as a wrong course option.

The red line in the diagram shows the handler creating a corner of approach to jump #5 which lines the two jumps up neatly, with a consequential path that carries to the weave poles. This will probably result in a longer path than the “attack jump strategy”, but not much longer.

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After the excruciating grind of the opening this course opens up into a bit of a helter-skelter romp around and to the A-frame. The handler should be aware of the not terribly obvious challenges in this simple part of the course: a) The dog dismounting from the pipe tunnel at #9 needs to be turned to jump #10; b) the #3 jump is exposed as a wrong course option after jump #11; and c) the weave poles are set as a wrong-course option after jump #12. The handler might be advised not to take it all for granted.

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The interesting turn the course takes here is really a question of the handler’s downfield control position. While the dog is on the A-frame the handler must be calculating how to get in position to handle the closing bit, jump #17 to the pipe tunnel at #18. But the handler is obligated to turn the dog out of the #14 pipe tunnel to tag jump #15. And in that moment of prudence the handler might surely sacrifice the forward-of-the-dog control position after jump #17.

And the handler should be aware of the wrong course options presented to the dog. The A-frame is surely an option for the dog coming out of the pipe tunnel; jump #3 looms again after jump #16; and the weave poles are somewhat compelling after jump #17.

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I shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a left turn at jump #17, though to my own thinking it’s crazy and perilous. The right turn clearly opens up the wrong course side of the pipe tunnel.

It was clearly not my intention to open the discussion to the handling skills needed to solve Van Deusen’s riddle. Maybe I’ll return to this course after we’ve run it in league play so that I can inventory handling skills that proved to be successful, and some that weren’t particularly so.

Jumping in to the League

If you have interested in jumping into League Play, you still have time to play on the second course of the summer league. The workbook can be downloaded here: September League

If you have interested in jumping into League Play, you can still play on the first course of the summer league; but under our league rules results submitted after August 31 cannot be counted towards league standing. The workbook can be downloaded here: August League

The score-keeping workbook for the out-of-league course can be downloaded here: Pick-up Game

Earned LPP

The National Dog Agility League has published Top Dog standings based on the accumulation of Lifetime Performance Points: LPPMaster

The details of LPP earned can be found here: LPPDetail

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.