Sunday, April 3, 2011

From a Distance or 15-point Chances Practice - Part 2

Now, what happens to the usual challenges when you try to stay behind the 15-point bonus line?  Well, I already knew that the #10 tunnel becomes an extremely attractive off-course after #4.  First of all, I was late with the verbal.  Second, I tried both a shoulder pull and facing Belle and pulling (sometimes to the point of an RFP), but I neglected to actually move toward the bottom of the course while doing so.  When you are standing close to the 50-foot line, you are at least as big a draw for your dog as the #10 tunnel.  When you're below the 15-foot line, your animal magnetism is considerably diminished :(

Additionally, because the distance is so great, it hard to provide a deceleration cue to Belle as she entered the straight tunnel.  She comes blasting out in full extension.  My signals to turn over #4 were almost all late; a) because she was moving so quickly, and b) I didn't want her turning before she took #4.  As you will see in the video, this means she is pretty much beyond the left upright of jump #5 before she completes her turn to it even on the best of our attempts.

Once I actually got Belle through the first six obstacles, I got the shock of my life.  She didn't go into the tunnel under the dogwalk!!!  I got all sorts of variations on the theme you see in the video.  I never did figure out exactly what was going on with this.  Maybe in a month or two, I'll realize what I was doing wrong.  [10/26/11.  By reviewing the video in slow motion several times, I was able to finally figure out that I was late in indicating the turn to the tunnel on our unsuccessful efforts.  Body and motion cues for the tunnel must be given as Belle takes off over the #6 jump.  Once she has landed, it is too late!  The only way that I can see at this point to create some collection over #4 would be to use a quiet "easy over" as Belle exits the tunnel.  This is something we'd have to work on.]

I was late a few times on the 8-10 sequence, but Belle was cranking.  I was really surprised to see I used the on-side arm to indicate the push to the #10 tunnel.  I would have thought I would have gone for the off-side arm.  But when it came to doing it in real time, there just wasn't time enough for me to switch arms.


Lessons I learned from this one.

1.  I really thought the shoulder pull would be the way to handle #4 to #5.  However, for me it was better to face Belle and move backwards, doing an RFP if need be.  This meant I had my eye on her at all times and I could move more quickly to where I had to be next.

2.  Even without intervening layers of obstacles, distance changes the challenges.

3.  If I find myself shrieking "Belle," it is because I am late, late, late.



    This is my run with Blue on this course when we had it at a trial. It's a little hard to see exactly what I was doing, but it appears to get the turn from 4 to 5, I stepped backwards a few steps and then stopped. In addition to several 'here's. XD I think my first 'here' was early enough, but Blue looked like she was going towards that tunnel still. I was probably too far forward or moving to much as she went over the jump. Hm.

    I thought it was interesting the side of the tunnel you picked, because at the trial, those of us that do lines figured the side I chose would be the 'better' side because it sent them more straight to 9. Looking at what Belle was doing going in the other side, I almost think that would have helped with Blue getting the turn to 10 to do that other side. They sort of have to look in at you after 8 so then they can see you give the turn signal before the next jump. Since Blue was going so straight, and couldn't see my body language (she doesn't have the greatest verbal 'switch' either), she just keep going a tunnel. XD The only thing that would worry me about that is if they came in a tiny bit too far and it was called 'out of flow' and you don't get the extra points.

    I personally don't care much for RFPs, though I think I inadvertently do them on lines occasionally, in an attempt to sort of front cross at a distance. I don't know if having your eyes on the dog is as necessary as having your eyes on the path ahead of the dog, per Sharon Nelson. (This has been really hard to put into practice, but it really does work when you use it.) What ever works, I guess.

  2. When I set this up and walked it in my yard, it totally escaped me that the tunnel under the DW was bi-directional. Duh! However, after watching your video, I do like my choice since it means Belle is not running like a bat out of hell straight for an off-course. However, I would have also tried the other entrance. Perhaps it would have taken care of some of the "I don't see the tunnel you're talking about" Belle experienced.

    One of the reasons I decided facing Belle worked better for me was that I could see her response to my cues to take the jump and not the tunnel. I also found it allowed me to more more smoothly toward the DW once I was sure she had picked up on my cues.

    I'm curious to know how well shoulder pulls work from the bonus line? I don't usually use them even when running with my dogs, so it wasn't particularly useful on this course. I don't know if that's a gap in our training, or if 99% of the time we really don't need it.

  3. Sometimes I don't think it's as much of a shoulder pull for me as it is a lack of motion (could be wrong). I've seen your posts on the NADAC training group and here, and you have realized and decided that you do need to move more, which means that no motion will become a cue as well. So maybe it's just that my dogs respond to the lack of motion and come in, and not a type of 'pull'.

  4. Interesting that you could interpret the tunnel under the dog walk to be bi-directional. It most definitely wasn't at the trial I ran this course -- It was, as numbered, the lower/near entrance (which I failed to support and my dog spun right over the line). I think sending to the far entrance actually makes the challenge a bit easier because you aren't "turning the dog away" into the tunnel.

    If the tunnel were bi-directional, the number would be placed in the middle. I'm guessing that the judge at your trial, Rebecca, made a personal decision about the course design for whatever reason.

  5. Haha, I didn't even pay attention to the map posted here. Fail. It was bi-directional at our trial, and I can't remember if it was a judge decision or not. I remember this because they made a comment about it being 'unisex'. XD Maybe it was because our tunnel was short? All I know was that since it was bi-directional, we had a choice in how to run it and for the line, I think I like the side labeled on this map better.

  6. As the course was posted for the trial in January, the tunnel was bi-direction in the QC as well.