Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Chances Course

I set up another Chances course today.  We ran this one in late February at the QCDC.  Here's the course map:

I didn't look for the video from February's trial until after I ran this course with Dusty and Belle today.  Although you can't tell from the camera angle, the two tunnels at #2 are only about 12 inches apart.  At February's trial, the tunnels were about 30" inches apart and the hoop at #1 (which was a jump at the trial) was pretty much in line with the correct tunnel.

I began with Dusty since I was planning to try from the 15-point bonus line with Belle.  This course contains more challenges than yesterday's course.  Right off the bat, there is the tunnel discrimination.  Then from the tunnel, the dog has to turn to the #3 hoop which is not visible until the dog has exited the tunnel.  Leading out to about (50,-5) gives the handler enough room to push toward the correct tunnel at #2 and ability to see the dog exit the tunnel and call him to the #3 hoop.

Next you have to be able to turn your dog away from you into the tunnel under the A-frame.  Then you have to turn him away from you again from 7 to 8.  Additionally, to be successful, your dog has to have an independent A-frame and independent weaves.

I really felt the tunnel discrimination was the easiest challenge.  However, it turned out to be quite difficult for Dusty.  He took the closer tunnel or he went to the outside of both tunnels much more often than he took the correct tunnel.  What I should have done was break off my efforts and set up a separate exercise just for him, which is what I will be doing over the next couple of days.  Here are a couple of different ideas for set-ups to use for working on "out."

Working from behind the 15-point bonus line, the biggest difficulty Belle and I encountered was getting to the #3 hoop.   From behind the 15-point bonus line, there is no place the handler can stand to have a clear line of sight to the tunnel exit.  The handler has to rely solely upon a verbal cue to get her dog to #3.  I think some of the missteps that Belle took at other spots on the course were due to my use of the word "switch" instead of "turn."  I have always used "turn," but I thought I could change over to "switch" without much fuss.  It worked yesterday, but it didn't work as well today.


A nice thing about this Chances course is that it lends itself easily to alternative sequences.  For example:

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