Sun, Exc Standard – Santa Clara, CA
How the course ran...
Cliff Notes Version for Novice – Best Way to Handle the Course:
- Start with dog on right and lead-out between #1 and #2, release the dog over the jump and put into the tunnel.
- Do a front cross while the dog is in the tunnel so they are on the handler’s left side for #3 & 4.
- Do a front cross after the #4 teeter so the dog is on the handler’s right for #5 & #6.
- Optional: Do a front cross on the landing side of the a-frame to put the dog on the #7 table.
- With the dog on the handler’s right side while leaving the table, proceed through #12.
- On the landing side of #12, do a front cross to facilitate the change in direction toward the dog walk.
- The dog is on the handler’s left side for the dog walk and weaves.
- Do a front cross after the weaves (be sure to move in the direction of the #15 jump) so the dog is on the handler’s right going down the last line of jumps.
Skills Challenge for Open – Training Suggestions To Get To The Next Level:
If choosing a running a-frame, you must TRAIN for the running criteria…not just hope your dog hits the yellow area. See below for more details.
Train dog & handler to be able to stay in close for tight handling. An example is the sequence of the #13 dog walk to the #14 weaves and to avoid the off-course #8 jump.
The Details for Excellent – What Worked and What Didn’t:
For this group of handlers, the first 6 obstacles were generally very smooth and without incident. The problem seemed to start with the #6 a-frame.
Running a-frames are very popular at this point in agility’s evolution and I saw plenty of them at this trial. I also called more missed a-frame contacts than I can remember! With the off-course #8 jump starring the dogs’ in the eye as handler’s raced to try to collect their dog for the turn to the #7 table, I was a busy, busy judge. I do believe running contacts are wonderful, however, just like any other obstacle performance, they do need to be TRAINED!
Sequence #7 through #12 was fun for the dogs and handlers were successful in driving down the line to keep the dog on track.
Because of the speed coming in to #12:
- Handlers often struggled to get into place for a front cross before the #13 dog walk and often had to turn prior to getting on the weave side of this obstacle. Once out of place, they were forced to either do an unplanned rear cross at the dog walk entrance or continue moving backward which could result in the dog moving toward the off-course #16 jump.
- The other speed problem was that handlers were challenged in collecting their dog for the turn up the dog walk. Some dogs simply chose not to collect or didn’t see their handlers who were trying to front cross when behind the dog and went over the #16 jump that was right in front of them.
The most challenging area on the course was the line from #13 to the #14 weave poles. It seems dogs were so used to taking what was in front of them that many completely ignored their handlers to go out to the off-course #8 jump. Other handlers attempted to get creative (with some success) and front-crossed after the dog walk so that they were facing the poles. While this created one heck of a challenging weave pole entry for the dogs, I have to say, most made the entry which leaves me to believe this group of handlers has trained that skill.
The unexpected area of the course was the push from #15 up to the #16 jump. After having gotten through the ‘hard parts’ of the course, some handlers failed to support or push-out to the #16 jump so dogs took the obvious short cut and went from #15 to #17 as they followed their handlers down to the closing jumps.