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Monday, September 14, 2009

Courses, New Jersey 9-13-09

Today was another great day judging in New Jersey and I got a bit of Vitamin D thanks to the sun.

OK, first the Excellent Standard course.

In the opening sequence, the 16" class had the most off-course tunnels, while the 20+" dogs had the least. Very surprising to watch and except for more obstacle discrimination training in the large dogs, I'm at a loss as to why.

Another surprise was the number of dogs who went into the wrong side of the #3 tunnel. It was interesting to note that as handlers turned in to their dogs, the dogs read this as a rear cross and turned away from the handler and quickly scooted themselves into the far side of the tunnel. Those who were successful pulled their dog toward them before releasing to the correct side of the #3 tunnel entrance.

The next surprise came after the #5 jump when quite a few dogs worked their way to the teeter, which wasn't even considered an off-course option (an obstacle must be within 21' to be considered an off-course option) when I designed the course.

The things that consistently went right were beautiful weave pole entries, stunning rear-crosses at jump #11 and the line to the #12 a-frame and the handling of the last sequence on the course. Specifically, the handling between #16 & #17. Half of the handlers were on the far side (right side of #16) and executed rear crosses over #17 and the other half of the handlers were on the left side of #16 and executed a push to #17. A nice job was done in handling this subtle sequence.

Next was Novice Standard. All I have to say is poor Novice! They were the last class of the day and honestly, most dogs were just fried mentally.

The course was nice and flowing and several teams did an exceptional job. Unfortunately, other dogs just stared at their handlers like they were asking them to climb Mt. Everest in a bikini. Those poor, tired puppies!

The club was fantastic and it was fun to judge with my pals, Scott Stock and David Nauer. In our off time, we watched football in the hotel lobby and failed miserably at not talking shop at the club dinner on Saturday night...sorry club! Ugh, I always swore I wouldn't turn into one of those judge's who rehashes stories of past trials over and over again. Next time I'll come prepared with a list of non-agility related topics to discuss! : )

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