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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Courses Thurs Hounds for the Holidays

Day 1 of 4 of the infamous Hounds for the Holidays show in WI is done. The trip so far has been spectacular with us flying into Chicago O'Hare, grabbing some Garrett's Popcorn (a holiday favorite of mine) and then hopping on a short 22 minute flight up to Milwaukee.

The hotel we're at is wonderful and opens up their doors, this weekend only, to dogs. There was a fabulous welcome sign as well as a table of freshly folded towels near the door specifically available to wipe off the toes of dogs in case it snows (which it's trying hard to do) or they have mud on their little feet from playing in the hotel grass.

When we got up to our room, the hotel staff had already placed a white sheet on the couch for any 4-legged guests and had kindly folded up the bedspreads so that dogs were free to romp around as they pleased.

Today I judged Nov & Open Std & JWW. I have to admit it was a fun way to start the weekend. The indoor soccer turf arena has 3 rings - one for Exc Std, another for Exc JWW and the third specifically for Nov & Open.

In Open Standard, the majority of handlers worked #1-4 with their dog on the left side which required a pull over #3, which was nicely done. Next handlers did a front cross after the teeter to put their dog in the far side of the tunnel.

The challenging sequence for this group was just after the pinwheel at #8-12 where handlers needed to get the dog up the #13 dog walk. Those handlers who tried a front cross on the take-off side of #12 generally set the dog up to take the teeter instead of the dog walk as dogs took the #12 jump at a slice and handlers weren't able to push their dogs out to the dog walk.

The handlers who were consistently successful in this area either did a front cross on the LANDING side of #12 or did a rear cross as the dog was heading up the dog walk.

I saw quite a few handlers work hard to get their dog on the left side before the weaves. Some did a front cross, but most executed a blind cross to accomplish this. I have to say, I wasn't expecting there to be a cross in this area, but it worked well here as a side-switch maneuver. After the weaves, a few dogs did go onto the off-course table.

Speaking of tables, today's position was a down. I was surprised at the number of dogs who had blank stares when their handlers asked for the down. Dan mentioned the Excellent dogs were quick to drop so I have to think the incredibly large venue, 1st day jitters, indoor turf & stimulation had a role to play in my inexperienced & young Open & Novice dogs inability to flatten in place .

Next is Open JWW. One of the things I liked about this course was the flow. While it had the appropriate amount of side switches and options, the majority of the course kept the same design as the Novice JWW course run just prior.

The main challenge on this course was the serpentine followed by the pinwheel. There were two styles that were mainly used. The first is shown in red where the handler stayed on the right and rear crossed the #9 jump. The second style was a front cross between #5 & 6 and hand the handler stay ahead of the dog through the serpentine portion.

Both choices worked well for teams.

The last two courses are Novice Standard and Novice JWW. Take a moment to review and enjoy!

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