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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Northwest Obedience - Sat Std Course

OK, lots to talk about from today.

First, in MN the AKC World Team tryouts. I don't normally pay too close attention to this type of thing, but I have to say this year the caliber of teams who also happen to be truly nice people has me hooked because I want them all to win!

At any rate, I did want to send a hearty congratulations to those who have already won a spot on the team and to those who are close behind and looking to win the remaining places. World Team winners or not, there are some pretty spectacular folks competing this year.

On to today's JWW course. As the official spectator in the ring, I really enjoyed watching teams on this course. The surface here is field turf so dogs can dig in, land softly and get in some amazing speed.

There are two sections I specifically want to focus on.

First, from jump #6 - 9. I drew a solid red line which shows the actual average dog path. Running Dalamatians in a Border Collie jump height has forced me to pay close attention to the most efficient path and when I look at the solid red line, I can't help but think there are a few places I would have loved to see tightened up a bit.

For example, the landing after the #6 jump. It seems wide to me. After thinking about it, handlers were racing up the line (from #5 and squarely facing the double) and just ran off toward the landing side of #7 without giving their dogs notice that they had changed direction ever so slightly. It wasn't until handlers were in place at the landing side of #7 did they call their dog to come in toward the #7 jump.

Next was the dog's path from #8 to #9 which tended to be the most yardage area for dogs. I would have loved to have seen someone collect their dog's stride before #8 to shorten up that path quite a bit. I just can't help but wonder if that would have shaved a second or so off off the majority of the dog's times. Yeah I know this is nit-picky, but what the heck else am I going to think about while watching 300 plus dogs today? : )  So anyone out there willing to give this a comparison try and let me know what the difference is since I'm short an Excellent level dog?

(I'm secretly hoping someone takes me up on the above challenge...hint, hint)

On to the next section which is the dotted green handler path. This represents the most common path handlers took after the weave poles. If folks were in place (i.e. hauling down the line!) it worked great. However, if they were even a step behind at th #14 jump, the dog was likely to curl in and take the off-course tunnel.

After watching the dogs, there was one specific way I would have liked to try and lucky me, one handler did it and did it well! Below is a diagram and the red dotted line is the path I would like to try.

Basically the handler did a front cross on the take-off side of #13 and easily put in another front cross on the landing side of #14 which gave him and his dog a nice flowing path. Now granted, he was a tall guy with long legs and independent weave poles would be a must before attempting this exercise.

It's times like this that I really miss my BC Spot. He was up for ANYTHING agility related.

Any way, this is another place I need a volunteer to give this a try and let me know how it goes....anyone?

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