Saturday, August 11, 2012

Problem Solving

It really bugged me that Dusty could not achieve a smooth turn from #9 to #10 on yesterday's course.  So this morning, I tried doing a rear cross with Belle.  My initial impression was that she had no problem with it, but as you will see in the video, she did let me know the turn was rather unexpected!

Next, I tried running Dusty with a front cross.  Because I had to support his path to #7, I didn't really do a very good job of getting in a timely front cross between #8 and #9.  (Beware:  Most dogs who do a 2o2o A-frame will need support to get to #7.)  I also ended up so far ahead of Dusty after the front cross that I ran up against the line.  Next, I tried a blind cross.  It was much better from Dusty's viewpoint since I didn't get in his way doing the cross, but unfortunately, it brought me to the line even quicker than the front cross did.  Finally, I used lateral distance to commit Dusty to #7.  That put me at the left standard of #8 and I was able to do a nice front cross that kept me out of Dusty's way or didn't put me so far ahead that I arrived at the line too soon and had no way to support the #10 hoop if necessary.

Okay.  So now I know the rear cross was a bad handling choice.  (And not because I faded to the right before crossing, either.)  The blue line represents the handler's path for a rear cross.  The path must veer slightly right until the dog is committed to #9.  Since #9 is a hoop, the point of commitment for Dusty is when he is about 3/4's of the way through the hoop ;-).  The handler's timing in completing the rear cross becomes crucial.  Cross too soon, and the dog will probably do a 180.  Cross too late, and the tunnel becomes the obvious choice.  But even crossing just right means your dog has to change leads immediately to make a smooth turn to the hoop.  No lag time allowed.

The purple line represents the handler's path when doing a front cross at the left side of the #8 jump.  As soon as you've completed that cross, your dog knows he will be traveling left and will change leads after #8.  The same holds true if you perform a front cross or a blind cross between #8 and #9.  You just have to pay particular attention to not out-running your dog to the line if you choose one of those options.

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