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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Course Analysis - Phili, PA 4-25-09

Saturday's courses here in the Philadelphia area ran well and I had an opportunity to hang out in the sunshine and turn myself into a well-roasted marshmallow.

While I should have been a bit quicker with the sun screen, that's the only thing I can complain about today.

We started off with an impressive Novice Standard class. Great contacts, awesome weave poles and wonderful attention from these dogs.

I had a Novice handler who was running for the very first time and he asked a lot of good questions like 'if it was mandatory to put his crosses in at specific places' and he had no idea about not having any tags or hanging things off of his collar. Imagine my pleasure when he began the course and looked like a real pro! I think he was pulling my leg about this being his very first run - they were really, really good for a Novice A team.


The next course map is Excellent FAST.

Since Open & Excellent FAST were very similar, I thought I'd share a few comparisons.

The biggest difference was that in Open FAST, the majority of handlers opted for the 3 point dog walk vs. the 6 point a-frame and then went straight into the Bonus. In comparison, in Excellent FAST, I don't recall one dog & handler team who intentionally went up the dog walk - instead, they all aimed for the higher pointed a-frame.

If I had to guess why that is, I think the majority of Open folks want to get the Bonus & points and then get off of the course. While Excellent handlers seem to focus more on strategy and getting in practice on specific obstacles.


Next was Excellent JWW.  

Since it's common for handlers who don't have a Double Q on the line to pull their dogs and head home. I wasn't sure how many dogs were going to scratch due to the hot 87 degree temperatures that unexpectedly came into the area.  After looking at the numbers, folks stayed to play.

The course was pretty straight forward with the usual side-switches, straight lines, handling portions, etc. 

My favorite part of the course was #11 to the #12 weaves. Since most dogs landed well past the first pole, turning toward the weaves made for an easy entry. Some handlers chose to push their dogs straight ahead at #11, use the open area on the right corner and then turn their dog back toward the weaves to give them more of a notice for this obstacle.

I'd love to set this course up for my own practice with Rouge, who is a very young and inexperienced dog. It has some basic maneuvers that all teams should be able to maneuver and work through. Sounds like a great course to set up in my yard this week : )

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