Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chances Analysis - New Year's Day, 2012

First, a little disclaimer:  I do my best to be accurate in my commentary on the video.  However, it is easy to misspeak and not catch the error.  I may also miss seeing something while commenting on the video.  If you spot an error or omission, let me know, and I can insert a caption into the video.  Now for the good stuff.
 This Chances course involves the dogwalk so the very first challenge at every level is the dogwalk contact.  For the majority of dogs that missed the contact, it was basically a training issue and not a handling issue.

In Elite, the first handler line parallels the dog's path from the hoop 1 to jump 3, so a lateral lead out is not really necessary, and many, if not most, of the handlers did not take one.  In Open, the line parallels the dog's path even more closely due to the change in angle.  However, in Novice, if the handler starts out running along the line, she is forced away from the contact zone much more sharply and may either pull the dog off the side of the dogwalk or off of his line from the dogwalk to jump 3.

At all levels, it is important that the handler not get ahead of her dog while he is on the dogwalk.  If she does, there is an excellent chance she will arrive at the back handler line and have no room to move forward and support her dog's path out to jump 3.  Also, notice that on the Novice course, once the handler is up against that line, she can only move away from #4.  The Elite and Open courses allow the handler a little bit of movement toward #4 even if the handler is up against the line.

In Elite, the hardest challenge was sending the dog out to hoop 7.  There were two main ways to accomplish this:  1. Call your dog over #5 and run him over your feet to #6 and then send to the hoop.  2.  Do a front cross on the landing side of #5 and turn and send over #6 to the hoop.  Running the dog over your feet seemed to work a little better, but both got the job done.  A bigger consideration was to make sure you moved far enough away from the line between #5 and #6 so that you didn't have to come to an abrupt halt before your dog was committed to the hoop.  For those of us who failed to move back far enough in anticipation of the send, training came to the rescue, and we were able to successfully redirect our dogs with verbals and/or arm signals.

Theoretically, the send to hoop #7 should be much of a problem on the Open course.  However, the handler still had to make a decision on how to handle the 180° turn, and not run up against the line before her dog is committed to the hoop.

In Novice, four dogs missed the #5 jump.  Three of the handlers were late in indicating the turn; the fourth dog was momentarily distracted by something and lost focus just long enough to end up in the gap between the two jumps.

I don't recall any of the Novice teams having a problem carrying out to hoop 8 if they made it through 7, but at least one Novice team had a problem making it to #7 due to handler anticipation of the send to the #8 hoop.

Here's the video.  My thanks to all who ran.


  1. I've been reading your blog for awhile now and this is the first time that I did a NADAC trial the same weekend, and ran the same courses! A lot of dogs at our trial turned to the right after #7 and I'm not sure why. Did you notice that at your trial at all?

    I ran my 2 in Open Chances, with one qualifying and the 2nd one getting the send to #7 but then must have watched the others as he too turned left.

  2. Sorry, I meant a lot of dogs turned to the left after #..

  3. I didn't see this as a common problem at our trial. In Elite, several dogs stalled out between jump #6 and hoop #7, but almost all of them turned right after the hoop.

    In Open and Novice, the handler had the option of sending their dog from #6 to #7 off their right. I can see where a dog might think he's supposed to turn left after the hoop in this case. The first open handler on the video chose this option, but her rear cross was well timed and her dog turned in the correct direction. Handling #6 to #7 with the dog on handler's left gives the dog advance information about which way to turn. Unfortunately, it is all to easy to run up against the line on this side. A lot of the elite dogs are experienced enough to keep moving or re-direct with a verbal, but most open dogs not so much.