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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mile High Golden Ret Club of Denver - Fri Exc Std

It's been awhile since I last blogged and it certainly hasn't been due to a lack of topics! Life is busy and Dan and I flew off to Colorado for the weekend to judge for the Mile High Golden Retriever Club.

We were really excited to be back in Colorado. Lots of good friends and lots of great dogs to visit with. Oh and the weather was great too!

As for course review, let's start with my Excellent Standard course from Friday.

I started this course with a chute, which I'll admit, I do like to do. As with all chutes, handlers really need to be sure they're supporting this obstacle all the way down to the end. If they don't, it gives the dog permission to curl in toward the handler even more than normal. That was the case with a few dogs here and once they curled in, dogs generally had a less than optimal approach to the triple jump. In this case, it wasn't the angle that was the concern, but instead the shorter distance/notice for the spread jump.

The next area that was a challenge was from midway up the dog walk to the landing side of the teeter. Now let me clarify, it was a challenge for ME as the judge! All was going well for the first 175 dogs and then we hit the 20" dogs. Once we got to this group, I was left guessing if the handler was going to follow the dog down to the end of the dog walk contact or were they going to do a surprise peel-off down to the landing side of the tire. I have to say, it really messed with my judging path and I just about required each person to complete a flight path before their run.

The next area that caught quite a few handlers was the line from the teeter to the weave poles. It didn't seem to matter which side of the teeter handlers were on as dogs were squarely facing the off-course jump rather than turning toward the weaves. Ironically, after the handler path guessing game from the dog walk, the 20" class consistently handled this line the best.

The next area was the off-set serpentine from #7-9. In my humble opinion, this area simply looks different and it's more of a mental challenge. Those who worked to keep their dog in tight to take the jumps at an angle were more efficient than those folks who allowed their dogs to take the jumps straight-on which resulted in a much wider path and a few more call-offs.

Oddly, quite a few dogs knocked a bar at the double. It's possible the tunnel on the landing side was a big attraction or simply that handlers started to open up and run again heading into this sequence. As expected, a few dogs took the wrong side of the #11 tunnel.

After the a-frame and on their way to the table, a few dogs headed toward the teeter, but most didn't bother.

After the table we have the reverse serpentine with a pull into the #17 tunnel. the same issues with this serpentine and very few dogs had a problem with the correct tunnel entrance.

Friday evening was a lovely night and after a little shopping at the very nice outlet mall across from our hotel, we picked up Outback, grabbed a blanket and headed out to sit on the grass and enjoy the meal. Several exhibitors joined us and it was a fun evening.

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