Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Puzzlement

Yesterday, in addition to the USDAA course, I also set up the Olive Oil Elite Jumpers course using hoops.  (This is one of the courses from the VT sets in the NADAC Yahoo files.)  I didn't shot any video yesterday, but our major problem with this course was getting from the tunnel to the #10 hoop.

A dog naturally turns in to his handler unless the handler applies pressure to his line.  The less obvious the line and the less experienced the dog, the more the handler has to apply pressure to keep the dog on course.  On this course when the handler is 60 or more feet away from the tunnel, #10 is no longer the next logical obstacle from the dog's point of view.  The dog comes out of the tunnel looking for the handler--this immediately takes #10 out of the picture and makes #6 a good-looking candidate for the next obstacle.

My original plan was push out with my left arm toward #10 while moving toward #12.  I thought this would give Belle advance information as to where we were going next.  Unfortunately, from the video, it is quite obvious that doing this fails to give her information about where to go from the tunnel.

When I finally realized that I had to face the #10 hoop in order to get Belle to go through it, things went much better.  However, while editing the video, I realized that by facing #10 I was applying pressure to Belle's line.  I thought I was on to the key--face her line, and #10 will be a piece of cake.  I went out to try it one more time with this thought uppermost in my mind.  However, I was dismayed to find Belle was pausing for a split second when she emerged from the tunnel.  I tried calling "out" before she emerged from the tunnel, but that seemed to make matters even worse.  Waiting until she emerged and using an off-arm seemed to produce the smoothest line.

A heavy snow is predicted so it may be a few days before we can get back to this puzzle, but I'm looking forward to discovering how to get from the tunnel to #10 with no spins, head checks, or pauses.

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