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AKC Agility Course Maps Great Lakes Belgium Terv Excellent Standard

dog agility course map

Video of actual runs are included.

Being back in my old stomping grounds of Chicago for the New Years’ weekend was a blast! We flew in early so that Dan and I could spend an afternoon/evening downtown where we had drinks at Harry Caray’s Tavern and then moved over to Maggianno’s Italian food for dinner. The food is served family-style and in true Italian fashion, we stuffed ourselves full so we were well nourished and ready to judge the next day!

This was a full trial with over 330 runs for each of the 3 judges (due to move-ups) and was held indoors in an absolutely amazing sports building. There were 3 rings with turf flooring, each measuring a full 90 x 110. Since each ring area was the size of a full soccer field, each area still had plenty of room for crating and its own warm up jump. The building was so large that there was still another full soccer area, batting cages and basket ball courts for others to use while the agility show was in progress!

Now that you have a feel for the venue, let’s talk about the course!

The first challenging area appeared immediately with the obstacle discrimination after jump #2, enticing a majority of the dogs off-course to the tire. After watching 300 runs through this sequence, I can share which of the handling paths were least effective. The are:

  • Those who started with their dog on the right, sent to the tunnel and front crossed before #2 jump. The wings and the 5-foot bars on this jump definitely made this a WIDE obstacle to maneuver around. Most dogs came shooting out of the tunnel and the handler found themselves pointing toward the tire as they were trying to work their way to the landing side of the jump in an effort to direct their dog to the weave poles.
  • Those who started with their dog on the left, sent them to the tunnel and planned to keep the dog on their right side, call the dog over the #2 jump, send to the poles and rear cross the weaves. While this plan put most handlers in an excellent position, handlers found themselves facing the tire. ANY movement or slight leaning forward, including a shoulder roll as they turned toward the weaves, tended to cause the dog to shoot in the direction of the tire and the team incurred an inevitable off-course.

What did consistently work:

  • Those who started with their dog on their left, sent them to the tunnel and front crossed on the LANDING side of the #2 jump. The handler path is shown in green on the course map. This option not only gave handlers the shortest path, but immediately pulled the dog toward the handler as they were exiting the tunnel. Handlers were able to easily continue to move into place as the dog was heading toward them and execute the front cross before the dog took-off over the jump. This path and front cross handling took the tire completely out of the picture.

Obstacles #4 through to the #10 table were smooth with #6-9 being a very pretty sequence to watch as it was smooth and both handlers and dogs completed this area with confidence.

Obstacles #11 – 13 did give some teams some trouble. Notably, after the table, handlers either lead out past the #11 jump and did a front cross directing the dog to #12 or stayed back behind #11 and rear crossed the tire. The first scenario worked, however most dogs were in a full extension over #11 due to the large amount of space from the table to the jump and handlers had to work to redirect their dog to #12. In the second scenario, handlers rushed the rear cross to the tire and pulled their dog off of the obstacle.

Moving on to sequence #14 to the a-frame, I believe only 1 or 2 dogs out of the approximate 300 took the dummy off-course jump. Most handlers did a front cross after the triple and the dogs smoothly moved on to the a-frame.

However, the surprise challenge on the course was jump #16! Here, handlers often failed to properly cue and/or support the jump and so the dog curled in prematurely and went straight to the #17 chute. For this sequence, the dog needed to follow the path marked in green to successfully take the jump. However, the most common handler path (on the map) which resulted in the dog’s path marked in red that earned some teams a run-out and off-course fault.

The chute to the panel jump was not a problem for this group, even with the fast dogs.

Below is a video from two wonderful handlers who were gracious enough to share their runs on this course. To prove how great these teams are, watch the video all the way through to see how the successfully tackle the other courses from the day!

Click to watch the YouTube video


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