Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chances Analysis - 04/22/2012

Here are the Chances course maps from Sunday's trial at the QCDC:

The first challenge is very similar to one that we faced last month, namely, getting from the #3 tunnel to the #4 jump.  The A-frame makes it a slightly more difficult challenge because if the handler is behind the plane of the red line, the dog won't be able to see him upon exiting the tunnel.

The #9 tunnel looks like it might be an attractive off-course option after the #4 jump, but very few dogs chose it.  A much, much bigger problem was getting the dog to carry out to #4, and despite the decrease in distance from the line, the problem just got worse in Open and Novice.  

Basically, a dog will exit the tunnel and take #4 only if the handler is still pushing* forward physically and/or verbally as the dog enters the tunnel.  Unfortunately, many of the Open and Novice handlers either slowed down too much or ran up against the line before their dog was in the tunnel.

*Pushing is a relative term in this situation.  A BC high on adrenaline won't require much pushing from his handler compared to a dog that isn't really very enthused about the game to start with.  Neither will an experienced distance dog require much visible "push" from his handler, but if that "push" is not there, the dog will correctly check in with his handler upon exiting the tunnel.

The second challenge is setting a good line from the exit of tunnel #7 to the entrance of tunnel #9.  Let's analyze the Elite course first.  The tighter the dog turns out of the #7 tunnel, the more likely he is to slice #7 from left to right a shallow angle.  But even more importantly, if the you're only a foot away from the line when your dog exits the #7 tunnel, chances are you will end up against the line as your dog commits to #8 (if not before) and have nowhere to go but sideways.  Unfortunately, handler moving sideways if the cue most of us use for a serpentine.  (The first run on the video demonstrates my point quite well.)

Now take a look at the Open and Novice course maps.  The change in the distance line makes sending to jump #7 quite a bit easier.  However, woe to you if end up against the line--ESPECIALLY in Novice!  You can no longer simply move sideways; the line also forces you to move away from the tunnel you are trying to convince your dog to take.  In Novice, the line is plain old nasty.  It's so close to your goal, but if you're up against it, you are really stuck unless your dog will commit to the tunnel on a verbal alone.

The final challenge is the A-frame/tunnel discrimination. The handler can use any number of options to draw her dog to the A-frame, including an RFP, running backwards, lateral distance from the A-frame, just calling the dog's name and then releasing to A-frame when its in his line of sight.  The important thing to remember is that if you are facing the side wall the, your dog will take the tunnel.

Q Results
Elite - 7Qs/19 runs
Open - 2 Qs/10 runs
Novice - 0 Qs/16 runs

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