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Friday, June 25, 2010

Courses - Portland, Maine Fri 6/25/10 - In Theory

Here I am in beautiful Maine. I've never been to this location and I'm really excited to be here!

Not only do I to watch and play with dogs, but I get to go to some kick-butt locations. I love going places and getting a feel for the culture, the people, the history and much more. Oh and an added bonus, I get to judge with an old friend who used to live in Illinois.

For me, it's a great line-up and I'm hoping my courses add to the fun of the weekend. I really like looking at courses ahead of time and gambling on what I think the challenging locations will be and then seeing how close I was.

Since I've never been to this part of the country, it will be interesting to see what their handling preferences are. Do they like front crosses, rear crosses, lots of verbal cues or do they rely more on physical signals? We're close to the Canadian Border (assuming the map I'm looking at is correct - this is a poke at my blog from last weekend were an oversimplified map told me I was near the Oklahoma border when in fact I was near Texas!) and I wonder if we'll have some Canadian folks as well. So many possibilities!

OK, on to the course. Here are my guesses as to how they'll handle it:

  • I think they'll start with their dog on their right at the tunnel and front cross so the dog is on their left going down the dog walk.
  • If handlers don't have some distance/lateral at their weave poles they may end up doing a bit of reactive handling after jump #7 as the dog potentially curls in to them and heads toward the dog walk. The other possibility is that as handlers step around the dog walk they may inadvertently push their dog into the tunnel.
  • I'm going to guess and say that handlers will do a rear cross at jump #9.
  • The challenge for the pinwheel will be slowing down. The first part of the course was a place where handlers had to run and now they'll be faced with a part where patience may need to come into play.
  • I think it would be GREAT to see a front cross between jump #12 & 13. I think this would be a great way to keep the dog motivated and moving and allow the handler to switch sides and get up to the teeter area.
  • Heck, if handlers get a front cross in above, they may be able to do another front cross either before the #14 teeter or after. I'm going to go out on a limb and say before the teeter.
  • The last running line begins with the jump after the teeter and works its way down through the end of the course. 
In case anyone hasn't figured it out, I really like running courses. But, I really like to add a handling place as well. In my mind, I love the running areas for the dogs and I love the handling areas to mentally challenge the handler. For me, this combination seems to bring out the best and allows the team to work, well, as a team!

Well, I'm off to bed to start my exciting day in Maine. I know we've got a Lobster Shack on the water planned for dinner and a trip to one of the light houses for more photo opportunities. 

One last note, back in my reality world of Washington State, my hubby took down a couple of small trees that were precariously perched on some rotting nursing logs so that we would have a clear and sunnier place to plant the new Dogwood Tree I bought last week. I plan to use the newly cut trees to build a natural trellis with the logs and branches. 

I'm off to bed. Enjoy the post, but don't worry, it won't be public until late in the afternoon : )

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