For most of us, Chances is the most difficult class to qualify in. I thought I would share my strategy from some of the Chances courses Belle and I have run.
First, some general handling guidelines:
1. Walk the path your dog will be running. Doing this will enable you to spot potential problem areas.
2. The line is there to show you where you cannot go if you wish to qualify. It is not there to show you where to run. Always try to stay far enough away from the line that you can move toward your dog to support his path.
3. Know where you plan to run so you don't have to look down in order to make sure you don't accidentally cross the line.
Okay, now for an actual course.
In order to be successful on this particular Chances course, your dog must have certain skills or no amount of good handling will be sufficient to Q. Your dog must have an independent dogwalk. If you want TOTO, your dog must be willing to move away from you after stopping for the contact. Your dog has to have independent weaves. Lastly, you dog must be willing to turn away from you when he is running with you to accomplish the turn from #6 to #7.
Specific handling considerations for this course include: 1. Leaving yourself enough room to push toward the #3 jump when you release your dog from his TOTO. 2. Being far enough from the line that you can turn your dog from #6 to #7. 3. Getting your dog from #8 to #9. (I relied strongly on a verbal for this.) 4. Turning him into the tunnel. Being able to accomplish the turn into the tunnel is dependent upon being far enough from the line so that you can step in and do a "rear cross." 5. If you find yourself up against the line after doing this "rear cross," move away from the line while your dog is in the tunnel so you can put pressure on his line for the final three jumps.
08/28/2010 - Quad City Dog Center. Judge: Don Cuda. We've been working on distance all week in hopes of someday being able to get a 15 point bonus run. Unfortunately, one of the things we worked on was taking a straight run of jumps to a tunnel. I really didn't think we had much of a chance to get the turn away from the tunnel to the third jump, but fortunately, Belle knows left. Doesn't know right, but most definitely understands left :-)