Saturday, July 16, 2011

Euro Puzzle

Thursday, my DH surprised me by bringing home a piece of exterior plywood so we could repair the A-frame.  After working the twisty, turny, technical courses of The Agility Coach, I decided it was time for a change of pace.  On June 17th, Bud Houston posted a European-style course from one of his readers.  Click here to read Bud's post and view the course map.

I usually use course maps to memorize the order of the obstacles and form some tenative ideas on how to handle.  Unfortunately, even after eight years of building courses from course maps, I really don't have a good eye for relative distance, traps, and difficult approaches.  Such was the case with this course.  This course is 120 feet wide.  The distance from the #11 jump to the #12 tunnel is fifty feet!!!  That is a huge distance even by NADAC standards.

I chose this course because the original question was how to achieve a pull-through from #16 to #17.  When I commented on Bud's post, I didn't think I'd be able to get close enough to manage a pull-through.  However, provided #16 was not too close to the ring wall, I felt I could try wrapping Belle right around #16 and bring her through the box to #17.

I also had a half-brained idea that if wrapping right was not an option, I might be able to handle 5-17 from the back end of the course so I could do a threadle from 16 to 17.  However, after looking at the path from the weave poles to the #10 jump, I don't think it will work.  The dog leaves the weaves on an angle that would cause him to run by the jump unless the handler does something to alter his path.  But for giggles and grins, I will give it a try.


Well, it's dusk and the A-frame side is still not quite dry.  Since I may not get a chance to work with Belle tomorrow due to other commitments, I decided to try the first part of the course.  Running with the dogwalk on my right (I don't know what I was thinking when I drew the handler's path on the course above--no way I'm going to be able to get to the other side of the dogwalk and run with it on my left.), we made over jump #10 and then Belle went off-course to jump #3--don't know why I didn't realize that was a very viable option after the depressed angle over #10.  Started over and made sure to get Belle's attention and direct her to #11.  However, the send to the distant tunnel was derailed by an off-course to jump #19.  I have to remember to not turn toward the back of the course until Belle is past #19.  

Now I was really on a roll and decided to try the 16-17 part.  I discovered that even gimping along on a bad ankle, I easily made it into position to do a threadle by running between the dogwalk and A-frame.  


Saturday evening.  Ed put the A-frame together for me while I was gone this morning, so all I had to do was wait for it to cool down a little so I could tackle the whole course with Belle.  Having learned from my mistakes yesterday, we nailed the course the first time through this evening.  Since that went so well, I decided I would at least try my suggestion for handling 5-17 from the back of the course.  Not surprisingly, once again Belle took the off-course jump after #10.  I just kept going until she knocked a bar at #17.  I started her over from the dogwalk and this time, she nailed the sequence from the weave poles to the tunnel.

The last thing I tried was getting Belle to wrap right at #17 when I was at a distance.  It worked, but by layering the A-frame while the dog is doing the tunnel, teeter, jump, even a slow handler has enough time to get to #17 for a threadle, and the threadle produces a faster, shorter line to the A-frame.

One last comment on this course, the last jump is really off-set from the jump after the A-frame.  A rear cross at the A-frame or a blind cross allow the handler to make it much clearer to dog where the course is going.

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