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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Course Analysis - Pasco, WA

To the left is a Jumpers course that I designed and ran today in the Pasco, WA area.

First, let me tell you what a GREAT trial this has been!  This is the club's first agility trial and they have seen to every detail possible.  As a judge, I was put up in a wonderful hotel which has all of the comforts of home, a terrific restaurant where I was able to get a hardy meal and the club members have treated us wonderfully!

Seriously, I told my husband that we need to put this show on our "must go to" list - it's just been so nice (and small!).

As for the dogs that ran my course, I really had to work hard to find challenging areas beyond the usual missed weave pole type of fault.

There were three areas that caused handlers' concern.  The first was the #3 tunnel entrance.  While many, many folks did a fine job working their dogs into the correct end of the tunnel, others left it to the "hope & pray" method of handling to see where the odds would fall .  Those folks generally got the wrong end of the tunnel and earned themselves a wrong course.

Most folks did a lead out to after the #2 jump and did a front cross to guide their dog into the correct end of the tunnel.  One handler did a WONDERFUL job of shaping the dog's path by leading out past #1 and using them self as a post to make #2 to #3 a straight line approach, which worked beautifully and allowed the dog to gain speed as it accelerated.

I was also amazed at how many people drove down toward the exit of the tunnel which tended to put them behind at jump #5. Because folks took the push out to #5 for granted, quite a few dogs pulled in early prior to taking #5 because their handler began focusing on & turning toward #6 before the dog was fully committed to #5 - this caused dogs to pull off of #5 and incur a Refusal.

Also, as several handlers came into the #7 & #15 option, they were confused as to which pass through & jump they should be taking next (since they do go through this area twice) and potentially incurred an off course if they took the wrong jump.

Interesting to note on the ending - not one dog took the off course jump next to #18.  The majority of dogs clearly saw the jump, but redirected their path toward the correct obstacle without hesitation.  By this point in the course, the dogs were in a good stride and connected with their handler who didn't have far to move during this last sequence.

It was a fun course to watch and these folks did an incredible job running the course and putting on a fine trial.  Be sure to put this event on your calendar for next year!

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