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The web store is up and running. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

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In course design for dog agility I would make an argument for speed-building flow in which the handler can release the dog to work. Each riddle of the course deserves subtle presentation so that the dog is working at a breath-taking romp. Even at full speed, or I should say especially at full speed, the riddle might testify to the analytical skill of the handler as much as the physical prowess of the team.

Taken as a picture this is just about as simple a sequence as you can imagine. I like straight lines, and sharp corners. The corner may shorten the opening line, or lengthen it based on variables like the speed of the dog, the length of his stride, and the cues of the handler.

The Not So Perfect Storm: Dog Agility Tales

And the dismount on the next jump is dictated by that approach. The first corner dictates the approach to jump 3 in this sequence. I could launch into a pithy lecture of the one true way to handle this counter-side tunnel discrimination.


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In my heart I believe that whatever works is right. Frankly, as far as that goes, a big wide sloppy turn after jump 2 would bring the dog neatly to the correct entry to the tunnel.

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Knowing that there is a turn after jump 3 is important. I guarantee that just about everyone who loses their dog into the wrong end of the tunnel will be surprised that it was logically presented to the dog.

You must know that the corner turned by a Doberman will be very different from the corner turned by a Yorkie. It is clear that the turning radius of the turn might contribute to both a different presentation and a different outcome on course. The site is beautiful, on a high vantage overlooking a nearly tropical desert.


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You can just make out a half-dozen or so hot air balloons coming up in the cool morning air center left in the valley below. Temecula is about equidistant between San Diego and Los Angeles. I made the mistake of booking my flight through LAX. That means I got to re-experience insanely crowded Los Angeles commuter traffic.

Anyhow, I got home fine… but only got to sleep in my bed for two more nights…then it was off to Grand Junction, CO for a three day handling seminar. This was a cool seminar as I had more auditors than working spots. You can find them on the web at: www. After a flight home that had me absolutely sappy… I recovered enough to spend a day running down to Athens, OH to see President Obama on one of his frequent trips through Ohio these days. We stood in the longest line ever in the world, for hours and hours to get in. Ultimately, this was the view I had of the President:.

Anyhow, the sound system was good and his speech was inspiring. I think I could have watched it on television though.


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  8. I spent my days in airports and on airplanes reviewing courses for the TDAA, for example. Returning home I note my chores have been neglected. I got to take a picture when Marsha and I took the dogs out for a family walk this evening. Did I mention that Calera was windy? Never have I maintained much of a bias for or against any agility venue.

    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.

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    And everything is about speed and flow. I want him to understand from the very beginning that agility is about working at full speed. 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. Given the amazing distance handling I saw this past weekend… I believe it right down to my bones. NADAC course design is proud to offer options and discriminations… and with the dog working at full-tilt rather than at a gathered pace. I see in retrospect what draws them to my teaching. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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.

    You just had a bumpy game with a dog. My web site has been down for several days now managed by intent. This is truly not a disaster given the paucity of my business. There is an important business point I need to make here. A meteor could have dropped on Phelps Dodge headquarters and within about 24 hours all systems would be restored; and this is in spite of the loss of complete computer systems and possibly even key personnel.

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    And the plan was so thoughtful and detailed that not only would computer systems and data be restored, but the phone system, the copier, and supplies as meticulously defined as paper-clips would be in place. So, in selection of a web service provider, I would like to see a disaster recovery plan. This has already taken too long. If the computer goes down it should, it must, immediately come back up on an alternate processor.

    I ended the clinic on Sunday with kind of a romping sequence. My intention was to make it easy and free and fast. The original exercise I designed was all about the 9 through 11 practice with the discrimination.

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    By the afternoon of the clinic I knew this was overly technical and likely to make people frustrated and grumpy. So I added the big sweeping lines around the A-frame which made it quite a fun romp and frankly got the speed and energy up and took considerable tedium out of the drill. A dandy response here is a simple static Post Turn pre-cuing the dog to the turn simply by the handler putting on the brakes after jump 3. Some handlers might need something more dramatic like an RFP or a Flip.

    The next truly interesting moment will be the approach to the pipe tunnel at 9. More likely will be the handler turning away from the pipe tunnel prematurely causing the dog to draw up onto the A-frame for a wrong course. I often tell my students that when the handler takes the blocking position in a discrimination they are obligated to do only one thing. The transition from the pipe tunnel at 9, getting back to the A-frame at 11 is one of the technical bits in this course; and the pull-through after jump 10 was a skill we had already practiced on the day. There were several solutions for this interesting transition.

    Anything that actually work is right. In a bit a surprise to me the transition from the pipe tunnel at 12 to jump 13 became one of the more challenging moments. Most handlers after getting the dog into the pipe tunnel simply died in terms of movement. They went all flat-footed and awaited the dog shooting out of the tunnel. Anyhow, I coached them before the second run that it might be a good idea to step up towards the exit of the pipe tunnel in this sequence being nearby to the dog showing counter rotation to tighten the turn and a quick accelerating step to immediately energize the dog to the race.

    The course demonstrates a number of the course design considerations that make the TDAA unique from other agility venues. Though as TDAA courses go, this course is a bit on the generous side as far as spacing between obstacles goes. Another big difference between the TDAA and other venues is that we allow a course to begin or even end with a technical obstacle like a contact or the weave poles.

    This course was designed on the round which is somewhat unusual in the Americas. But it is a very effective design for maintaining spectator access and appeal. As you can see, the rather diminutive TDAA equipment fits rather comfortably inside of this small area.