For Elite and Open, the most difficult challenge is getting the dog into the #7 tunnel. Unfortunately, the majority of the handlers were almost to the line or actually at it as their dog was turning from #4 to #5. This meant that the only way they could move toward the path from #6 to the tunnel without crossing the line was by moving southeast. The obvious line is 5-6-7. However, moving south pulls the dog off that line and right to the A-frame. If you look at the video of Belle and me, you will see that I step away from the line as she is going through #5. Either she was oblivious to that step back or else my subsequent push toward the line more than compensated for it. (I was concerned about the possibility of an off-course from #4 to #9, so I was closer to the line than I should have been. Having made that error, I then compounded it by moving too quickly to support Belle's path from #4 to #5--I should have taken smaller steps.)
The other challenge was the weave pole entry. It is an off-side entry and most of the dogs were moving at a goodly clip. It was really impressive to see how well some of them made their entry after over-shooting the plane of the weave poles by three feet or more.
For the Novice class, the A-frame proved to be a very attractive off-course in the opening, with perhaps as many as half the dogs taking it. (I don't know for sure, but I don't think a single Open or Elite dog went 1, 2, A-frame.) I think the basic problem was that many of the handlers chose to lead out on the dog's right (not an option in Open or Elite). Part of their decision was probably prompted by the idea they would be better able to keep their dog off the A-frame. Another factor that influenced their choice was it removed the necessity to rear cross between #4 and #5 (or as at least a couple of handlers did, front cross at that point). Unfortunately, being on the dog's right after he takes the #4 puts the handler too close to the handling line for the tunnel/A-frame discrimination, and as a result, the percentage of dogs choosing the A-frame over the tunnel was quite high.