Last weekend Dusty and I went to the QCDC for a NADAC trial. (Belle and I have been fighting a minor lameness issue for several months, and I decided I would not let her jump or do contact equipment for a month. I also bought carpal splints for her, and I make sure to put them on when we go out and practice distance work with the hoops.) I was really pleased with how well Dusty and I did together.
Saturday's Elite Chances course was fairly easy Chances course, and I thought we had an excellent chance of nailing it. For the dog that weaves slowly, getting to #4 could be a challenge. However, the course is really pretty straightforward until the dog exits the tunnel. If the handler is standing still when her dog exits, he will be drawn over #5. If the handler is moving too quickly left, she may end up sending her dog to the weaves.
Most of the Elite handlers chose to finish the course with their dog on their right side. However, because of the nearness of the weaves and the slight curve of the 9-11 path, I decided to do a front cross at 9 and run with Dusty on my left to close. Unfortunately, although I felt my front cross signals were timely (and you can judge that for yourself in the video), I still failed to bring Dusty into handler focus, and he carried out all the way to the weaves before turning.
On the Open course, if the handler hugs the line in the opening, she will be forced away from the weaves at a much sharper angle than in Elite. Moral of the story: The line is not your friend. Additionally, hugging the line after your dog enters the tunnel, means you can't move left without also moving back from the #8 jump. Once again, the line is not where you should be--it merely marks the territory into which you may not venture and still Q.
The weaves are no longer an issue on the Novice course. However, the closer the handler is to the line when her dog exits the weave, the less room she has to support him out to #4. Notice that now the line more or less parallels the dogs path from the tunnel to #8. However, if the handler is on top of the line and her dog drifts toward her, she has no way to move OUT toward #8 if she is already on the line.