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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Agility Class Course - Feb 11, 2009. Where's the Best Path?

When first looking at this course, the optimal path isn't immediately clear.  As a matter of a fact, it's not clear at all!  

Most handlers put in a pinwheel in the beginning, attempted a push to the jump after the tunnel, maybe a rear cross to the jump prior to the tunnel and on it went.  Lots of fancy foot work and a ton more praying that it would have the desired effect on the dog.

I've attempted to put the optimal path down to the left, the first part is done in red and the second part is done in green.

The goal for this path was to decrease the handler standing time, to decrease the fancy footwork, to increase the dog's speed and clarity of the path being created for them and to keep it FUN.

By starting with the dog on your right, pushing up to the jump after the teeter and immediately working via a straight line down to the tunnel entrance, you're trusting your dog to take jump #4 so the handler can execute a timely front cross at the tunnel entrance.  This path also allows the handler to get down in between jump 6 & 7 for another front cross.

What is key to this front cross is to begin execution as you are in front of the jump up right on the LEFT side of the jump and pull down to jump #7 (don't just "cross" the dog's path as that puts your motion heading toward the wall that the dog walk is on (wrong direction!). In other words, move from the left of jump #6, down to the right of jump #7 in this pattern " \ " and not like this " - ".  Clear as mud?

From the table, push to #9 and then treat 9-11 like a serpentine.  The same with #15 - 17.  Push down to the dog walk contact, don't hesitate to go in a little deep here and then pull back, treating the next few obstacles like a serpentine as well.  Remember to face your shoulders toward the dog and have your hand back behind you indicating the path.  After all, if your shoulders are facing forward, your dog should run parallel with you and not pull into the desired obstacle.

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