When I walked this course, I thought the biggest challenge was getting the dog into the correct end of the tunnel at #9. However, very few people had a problem with this. Upon exiting the tunnel though several dogs took off-course #8.
The serpentine 13-15 proved to be an area where precious seconds could by lost on the run. My plan was to run the black path, and I did so with both Dusty and Belle. With Dusty, I failed to support him out to the second jump of the pinwheel, so on our next run I tried the red path which many of the other handlers had taken. The biggest danger with this path was sending the dog into the wrong end of the #15 tunnel by showing too much forward motion. A couple of dogs failed to heed the front cross between #12 and #13 and either took a very loopy path or actually entered the weaves. I found that I had much more control over the dogs' lines when I used the red handler's path.
Tonight was huge for Dusty and me. I think all the relaxation work that I've been doing with him may be paying off. Micky and David are in California for the AKC Invitationals with Micky's Westie, Woody, so I did all the running with Dusty this evening. I was so proud of him. He managed to go to the start line without barking, spinning or air-biting. We experienced only one minor melt-down (when I failed to support him in the pinwheel and insisted on re-starting it instead of going with the flow), but there was only barking, no air-biting. I think he only barked at me one other time on course (when I rear-crossed him going into a tunnel).
It's not that Dusty ever gave me attitude on course. It's just that he gets higher than a kite and reverts to whirling dervish mode. To have him run and not experience a meltdown, just makes me so happy, I could cry.