Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Anatomy of a Gamble

A FaceBook friend posted this gamble from a recent ASCA trial.  She and her dog were the only team to successfully complete the gamble.  When I looked at it, I thought getting the correct end of the tunnel had to be next to impossible.  However, she answered that several dogs got the correct end of the tunnel, but then either took the AF or failed to take the #4 jump.

I decided to set up the gamble and see how close we would come.  The big question is whether to approach the gamble DOR or DOL.  There are two major problems involved with starting DOR.  First, the handler will in all probability end up fairly close to the gamble line when she sends her dog over #1 to the tunnel.  Because the tunnel is only 15' and quite curved, there will be no opportunity for the handler to step back from the line since her dog will see her doing so and be drawn to the AF.  This means that the handler has no way to apply physical pressure to her dog's line when he exits the tunnel.  Additionally, because the handler is already so far down course, the AF will block her from her dog's view when she starts to move toward the finish.

By entering the gamble DOL these problems are neatly avoided.  The handler will be behind the tunnel exit and have the opportunity to move away from the gamble line without her dog seeing her.  When the dog exits the tunnel, she will be in a perfect spot to apply pressure on the dog's line so that he will move away from the AF and take the #3 jump.  Additionally, because the handler is behind, she can maintain pressure on her dog's line until he has taken #4.

So, did it work for us?  Willie carried it off beautifully.  His speed and stride took him to the correct tunnel entrance and he didn't have much trouble understanding what I wanted him to do after the tunnel.  Belle, on the other hand, ducked into the wrong end of the tunnel.  However, she had no difficulty with the last two jumps.


P.S.  An important aspect of the gamble is being in a good spot to begin the gamble when the horn sounds.  I didn't set up the entire course, but if I were running this at a trial, I would finish up my closing with the teeter, the jump at (68,40), and the weave poles back to back.  Hopefully, the horn would sound when we were doing the weaves for the second time.

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