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We are pleased to share pictures of our 2017 Petit Prix Champions. Pictures were a teeny bit late getting to us.

Congratulations to the 2017 TDAA Petit Prix Champions! This was an intense competition with ample drama and amazing moments.

4″ Division

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Teresa Kolean and TNAC TACH3 Boondock’s Chocolate Twist on Fire TAM4 TMAG4, call name Flaire. Flaire earned 4″ Champion and High in Trial.

Not pictured in the 4″ Division: Michelle Ivie and Moose, a Chihuahua, 2nd place; Melissa Wallace and Starry, a Chihuahua, 3rd place; and Darrah Ricard and Kiarra, Miniature Dachshund in 4th place.

8″ Division

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Donette Belknap and TNAC TACh3 Fiona TAM6 TMAG10, a Chihuahua and 8″ Champion.

Not pictured in the 4″ Division: Michelle Ivie and Moose, a Chihuahua, 2nd place; Melissa Wallace and Starry, a Chihuahua, 3rd place; and Darrah Ricard and Kiarra, Miniature Dachshund in 4th place.

12″ Division

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Corlane Eacott and TMAC TACh3 Tova TAM5 TMAG7, an All American and 12″ Champion.

Not pictured:  Beth Moline and Chex, an All American (2nd place); Donette Belknap and Tira, an Icelandic Sheepdog (3rd place); Marsha Houston and Cedar, an All American (4th place); Susan Cole and Domino, a Rat Terrier (5th place dog).

16″ Division

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Sandra Law and Furgus, a Shetland Sheepdog (2nd place); Gayle Irani and Nico, an Italian Greyhound 16″ Champion (1st place) and Enzo, an Italian Greyhound also handled by Gayle Irani (3rd place).

Event Results

Course maps and top 20 dogs in each jump height have been reported in the TDAA blog:
2017 TDAA Petit Prix Results

The winner of each event is the top dog in that event, without respect to jump height, and earns special recognition which we call the Haymitch Award. This might also be called the “Flash in the Pan” Award. The winner of a single event might not wind up in the final placement of the TDAA Petit Prix tournament. But recognition is certainly deserved.

Our Haymitch Award winners in 2017 were:

Standard 1: From the 4″ Division, Flaire, a Miniature Dachshund handled by Teresa Kolean.

Puppy Cannon: From the 4″ Division, Flaire, a Miniature Dachshund handled by Teresa Kolean.

Heinz 57: From the 12″ Division, London, a Shetland Sheepdog handled by Jane Guidinger.

Time to Beat: From the 12″ Division, Chex, an All American handled by Beth Moline.

FAST: From the 8″ Division, Seren, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, handled by Donette Belknap.

What’s My Line: Chex, an All American handled by Beth Moline.

Standard 2: From the 4″ Division, Flaire, a Miniature Dachshund handled by Teresa Kolean.

Tunnel Vision: From the 8″ Division, Seren, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi handled by Donette Belknap.

Standard 3: From the 4″ Division, Flaire, a Miniature Dachshund handled by Teresa Kolean.

Jumpers: From the 8″ Division, Seren, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, handled by Donette Belknap.

Top 40 Dogs Overall

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.2017 TDAA Petit Prix Results

2017 TDAA Petit Prix Results

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The 2017 Petit Prix in Farmington, Utah was both dramatic and competitive. Below we will share with you the results as they unfolded over the weekend.

The Petit Prix is scored dog against dog without regard to jump height so that the performance of each dog is measured against the field. Smaller dogs get the benefit of a handicap intended to level the competition. The first place dog earns 100 points, the second place dog 99 points, and so forth, deducting a single point for each placement. These earned placement points summarize a dog’s overall performance against the field.

Note that the dog winning each competition earns a special distinction: The Haymitch “Flash in the Pan Award,” as it is possible for a dog that wins a single competition may not register in the final placements of the tournament. It is worthwhile to acknowledge the dog’s accomplishment in the national tournament.

Friday Results

The day began with a Standard run. Standard courses at a Petit Prix are judged under Superior rules for performance. A Beginner or Intermediate dog earning a qualifying score at the Petit Prix will have that “Q” recorded at his appropriate level of competition.

Standard 1

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On this course the judge specified no obedience position on the table and so gave the dog a count of 5 simply for being on the table. The course was smooth and flowing an presented subtle challenges to a dog moving at full speed.

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Puppy Cannon

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The objective of Puppy Cannon! is for the dog to do three of the numbered sequences shown on the course map. The sequences can be taken in any order and are bidirectional. The dog starts on the table and must begin with the pair of pipe tunnels (the Puppy Cannon) before the performance of each of the three sequences.

After the final sequence the dog can go directly to the table to stop time or transition through the puppy cannon (without penalty) to get to the table.

Scoring

Puppy Cannon! is scored Time, Plus Faults. The dog with the lowest score wins.

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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As you can see… Flair, a Miniature Dachshund handled by Teresa Kolean has made an early statement, managing a win in both of the Friday morning competitions.

Heinz 57

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The purpose of Heinz 57 is to score 57 points: 1 pt for Jumps; 2 for pipe tunnels; 3 for contact obstacles; 5 for weave poles; the tire doubles all points. If a dog commits to any obstacle with four paws he is required to complete the performance that obstacle. Obstacles, including the Tire, can be taken twice for points; and never back-to-back; (the dog earns no points for second performance).

Small dogs will have 60 seconds; big dogs 56 seconds. The table ends scoring and stops time. The table becomes live after the dog has earned one point (the Mr. Banks rule).

Scoring 
 Heinz 57 is scored Points, Then Time ER2. Any amount over or under 57 will be subtracted from 57 to determine the dog’ s final score. Time is a tie-breaker only.

Qualifying: All levels must score 57 points

Design Notation: The traditional doubling obstacle for Heinz 57 has been the collapsed tunnel. As we no longer use the collapsed tunnel in competition the judge has an option of designating another obstacle for that task.

Note too that the finish is complicated by the doubling obstacle being placed towards the back of the ring making the accumulation of finishing points more complicated that a “one and done” proposition.

We will amend the Book of Agility Games to include “Russell’s Rules” for Heinz 57:

  1. Noting the prohibition against taking an obstacle back-to-back or performing an obstacle more than twice, the judge stipulated that the final performance of an obstacle performed back-to-back or thrice performed would score “zero” points; (consequently the handler might intentionally perform zero valued obstacles for flow and position.)
  2. Noting the requirement that commits to the performance of an obstacle with four paws, the judge stipulated that scoring will cease until the dog performs that obstacle.

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Time to Beat

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Time to Beat is a numbered course with weave poles and two contact obstacle performances. The contact obstacles on course may be the A-Frame and/or Teeter. If both obstacle are on course each must be performed once. If only one contact is on course it must be completed twice. Refusals and run outs are not faulted.

The object of the game is to complete the course without fault before reaching maximum course time.

Scoring: Time to Beat is scored Faults, Then Time. .

Qualifying Course Time: Tall dogs 50 seconds. Small dogs 55 Seconds

We will share the top 20 performance results below:

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Cumulative Results End of Day Friday

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Saturday Results

The competition Saturday started with the Fifteen and Send Time class (FAST). This is a game of strategy and distance popularized in another agility organization.

FAST

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FAST is a strategy game consisting of two elements, the body and send. The body contains randomly placed obstacles with point values of 1 to 10. The Send is a distance element that must be completed at the handler’s discretion without fault while the handler remains behind a containment line. If successfully completed the send is worth 20 points plus the value of the obstacles included in send. The Send may be taken at any time.

To qualify the dog must complete the send and earn a minimum number of points within the time allowed. Time starts when the dog crosses the start line and stops when the dog takes the finish obstacle. The finish obstacle is live at all times. Horn will sound at the end of the allowed course time and point accumulation stops. One point will be deducted from the total accumulation for each second over the allowed time.

FAST is scored points, then time. ER2. Points to qualify: 60

Course time: Tall dogs 35 seconds, Small 38 seconds

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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What’s My Line

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The objective of What’ s My Line is to perform all of the obstacles on the field without repeating or omitting any. The dog earns one point for each obstacle performed successfully. Small dogs will have 68 seconds; big dogs 63 seconds.

If an obstacle is performed twice, the dog will lose a point for the performance. If an obstacle is faulted, the team will receive no point for that obstacle. Further, the obstacle will be counted as used/completed.

If a dog commits to an obstacle with all four-paws he is required to finish the performance of that obstacle. Refusals will not be faulted.

Scoring

What’s My Line is scored Points, Then Time. ER2. Time is a tie-breaker only.

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Standard 2

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The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Tunnel Vision

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Tunnel Vision is a numbered course with these unique features:

  • All obstacles are bidirectional
  • Each clump of tunnels may be performed in any order and in any direction, so long as each of the tunnels is ultimately performed.
  • The handler must remain behind the containment line for each clump of tunnels.

Big dogs will have 50 seconds and small dogs 55 seconds.
A dog earns 100 points for the Jackpot Jump (#15) if time has not expired; whereupon the team may attempt the Bonus Obstacles (the inner circle of 7 obstacles (sans tunnel groups) for an additional 100 bonus points. Whole seconds remaining on the clock are added to the dog’s total score.

Scoring

Tunnel Vision is scored Points, Minus Faults, Then Time ER13. Highest score wins.

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Cumulative Results End of Day Saturday

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Sunday Results

The final day of the Petit Prix will feature only two classes. In the final round the top dogs will be set aside to run in their own spotlight. Agility is a game of subtle pressure.

Sunday began with a Standard run and concluded with Jumpers.

Standard 3

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The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Cumulative Results Before Final Round

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Jumpers

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Jumpers is scored Faults, Then Time.

The final round, designed and judge by Mike McCoy was a smooth fast course with subtle technical challenges.

The top 20 performances are summarized below:

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Tournament Final Standings

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Technical Note

Technical difficulties prevented us from posting results in a more timely manner. Lesson learned. Next time we will take proper precautions.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

Games of the 2017 Petit Prix ~ Puppy Cannon

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We continue with an advanced look at the Games of the Petit Prix in anticipation of the 2017 Petit Prix: June 23 –25 in Farmington, UT.

UT

Jun  23 – 24 – 25 , 2017  Western Petit Prix   Trial Number T17999 Hosted by Beehive Small Dog Agility Club Farmington, UT Judges:  Mike McCoy and Natalie Russell Contact:  Penny  Flake at <paflake50@gmail.com> Three standard classes and 7  games. Premium

Today we’ll take a quick look at the game Puppy Cannon.

Puppy Cannon

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Briefing

The objective of Puppy Cannon is for the dog to run the three numbered sequences shown on the course map. The sequences can be taken in any order. The dog starts on the table and must begin with the two pipe tunnels (the Puppy Cannon) before the performance of each of the three sequences. On this course all sequences are bi-directional

After the final sequence the dog can go directly to the table to stop time or transition through the pipe tunnels (without a wrong course penalty) to get to the table.

Time begins when the dog leaves the table and ends when the dog returns to the table after the performance of all three sequences. Should the dog go to the table before all three sequences are complete the performance shall incur a wrong course fault.

Scoring

Scoring for Puppy Cannon is Time, Plus Faults. The dog with the lowest score wins. Qualifying course time will be determined by wheeled measurement.

A Note about course design

The whole idea of the “puppy cannon” is that the dog is fired from the tunnel like a projectile. Consequently whatever is framed to the dog during the performance of the pipe tunnel becomes a logical target for the dog’s attention.

With that in mind the design of a Puppy Cannon course will frame either end of the tunnel (or tunnels) with a wrong course option. That means that the game is truly a test of redirecting the dog on the dismount of the tunnel (Cannon).

Strategy ~ A statement of the obvious?

In our sample course the judge has allowed that all sequences are bidirectional. The savvy handler will carefully choose the order of performance in a way that will allow the handler to be in position to redirect the dog on the dismount of the tunnel cannons.

Note that in the sample course the counter-side pipe tunnel at black-circled #2 will also have to be counter-side if the sequence is taken in reverse order.

In the two tunnel variation the handler may step between the two pipe tunnels to change sides to the dog. The handler should exercise caution when stepping in front of a loaded cannon.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

Time to Beat

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By tradition, we will be taking an advanced look at the Games of the Petit Prix in anticipation of the 2017 Petit Prix: June 23 –25 in Farmington, UT.

UT

Jun  23 – 24 – 25 , 2017  Western Petit Prix   Trial Number T17999 Hosted by Beehive Small Dog Agility Club Farmington, UT Judges:  Mike McCoy and Natalie Russell Contact:  Penny  Flake at <paflake50@gmail.com> Three standard classes and 7  games. Premium

Today we’ll take a quick look at the game Time to Beat.

Briefing

Time to Beat is a combination course of Standard and Jumpers (with weaves). The course design should feature challenges appropriate for dogs of any skill level, while encouraging speed and flow. Time to Beat is clearly a knockoff of the USDAA’s Steeplechase. And, in keeping with the USDAA’s vision for the game, refusals will not be faulted in Time to Beat.

Course times are preset for the Time to Beat class. They are as follows for each jump height:

  • 50 seconds for the 12 & 16 inch jump heights
  • 55 seconds for the 4 & 8 inch jump heights

Scoring

Time to Beat is scored Faults, Then Time.

Course Design

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The design of a Time to Beat course should emphasize speed and flow. Turns of 180° should be kept to a minimum; turns of greater than 180° are inappropriate for this game. Technical challenges are modest. The course should not be cluttered with any international-style challenges that encourage handler micro-management of the dog.

The traditional design for the game calls for two technical obstacles, one of which should be repeated. One of the technical obstacles must be the weave poles; the other can be either the A-frame or the teeter.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

Spacing Between Obstacles in the TDAA

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This is an important notation for the Course Design College. In this series I share observations that I make on a routine basis to judges and course designers during the course review process. It is prudent to share these common observations with all of our judges to further their understanding of course design for the TDAA.

This is intended as a comprehensive discussion of the TDAA’s guidelines for spacing between obstacles in course design.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. This is the mission statement from the Rules and Regulations for the TDAA:

1.1 Mission

The purpose of the Teacup Dogs Agility Association is to provide a competitive venue for dogs of small stature without regard to breed or pedigree, and to encourage course challenges that are comparable to the course challenges which face large dog handlers in other popular venues.

The clear understanding of this mission statement: We intend to give the handler of the fast little Papillion the same thrilling roller coaster ride in the TDAA as the handler of the fast Border Collie in any of the big dog agility organization. We want that handler to be keen and timely. And when the spacing between obstacles is blown out of proper proportion, we fail that mission.

A Bit of Science

The rates of travel for the TDAA require modest yards per second (YPS) at any level. Built into this calculus is the degradation of a dog’s rate of travel caused by performance of the technical obstacles … namely the contacts and the weave poles.

This degradation of rates of travel occurs in all flavors of agility. However, the significant difference between the TDAA and any other, is that we don’t have large expanses of real estate between obstacles to recoup and elevate the YPS.

And so, when a course is presented for competition that gives too much space between obstacles the rate of travel required for qualification is an ineffective measurement.

A Course Review

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At first glance this makes a perfectly reasonable design for the Beginner level. I might tell the judge/course designer to rotate the #9 jump back to the dog’s approach (everything nice and square for the Beginner class). And I might remark that not enough room has been left for the approach to jump #1. A minimum of 10′ between the front of the ring and the first hurdle is our standard requirement.

What really jumps out at me about this course, however, is the overly generous spacing between obstacles. We’ll take a measurement.

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Using the “Path” tool in Clean Run Course Designer I measured this course at 258.5′. Subtract from that the length of dimensioned obstacles… 68′ to arrive at the calculated interval distance of 198.5′. Divide by the number of obstacles (-1) and the average interval spacing between obstacles is 14.65′.

The average interval spacing should come in not much over 10′ or 11′. It should be easy to tighten up this course without losing the nice flow originally envisioned by the course designer.

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It was fairly easy to tighten up this course. Now the dog has plenty of room to approach the first hurdle. Note too that a bit of extra room is given to the dog for the turn following jump #5, and the turn following jump #9.

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Using the same calculation… I measured this course at 214′; subtract 68′ to arrive at the calculated interval distance of 146′. Divide by the number of obstacles (-1) and the average interval spacing between obstacles is 11.23′.

Spacing for Technical Challenges and Turns

On the approach to a technical challenge (for example, a wrong course option or approaching an obstacle discrimination) the dog’s path should measure a minimum of 12′. The objective of this spacing is too give the handler an extra heartbeat to do his job.

We also provide a minimum of 12′ when requiring the dog to turn. This is an acknowledgement of basic physics. The inertia of a dog’s movement may require an additional stride or two. The faster the dog, the greater the inertia.

With this in mind, if the course designer incorporates a pinwheel, the spacing between jumps must be a minimum of 12′. It is the nature of a pinwheel that the dog is faced with a series of turns while (hopefully) at a full run.

A Note Aside

Every so often we’ll hear an exhibitor complain that his dog runs more slowly in the TDAA than when playing elsewhere. After all rate of travel is measurable. You take the length of the course (yards) and divide by time (seconds) to arrive at the dog’s YPS.

In true fact the dog works at the same pace in the TDAA (maybe even faster). But the degradation on the dog’s rate of travel due to performance of technical obstacles has a substantially greater impact when the overall length of the course is reduced.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

Welcoming New TDAA Judges

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Join me in congratulating to our recertifying judges and new judges after an intense TDAA Judges Clinic in Norman, Oklahoma, March 16-19, 2017.

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Cathy Jacobs ~ Floydada, TX (new)

Sara Brown ~ Norman, OK (new)

Lori Graham ~ Kerrville, TX (new)

Melissa Pugh ~ Chickasha, OK (new)

Carol Wyatt ~ McKinney, TX (new)

Deb Maicach ~ McKinney TX (new)

Debbie Vogel, Austin, TX (recert)

Emma Coombes ~ Georgetown, TX (new)

Regina Schmerfeld ~ Yukon, OK (recert)

Jeanette Bider ~ Norman, OK (new)

Kaye Kirk ~ Oklahoma City, OK (recert)

Lynn Foster ~ Temple, TX (recert)

William McGovern-Fagg ~ Norman, OK (new)

Lyn Johnson ~ Bartlesville, OK (recert)

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Carol Wyatt and her dog Deuce earned the TACh 2 at the trial in Norman. Presenting the TACh bar and ribbon for this accomplishment was newly certified (and barefoot) TDAA judge William McGovern-Fagg.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

Designing for the Long Side

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I’ve been preparing for a TDAA Judges’ Clinic on Norman, OH next week. As homework the judge candidates are required to design a suite of standard courses and all the games to be played on the weekend. All of the clinic participants were invited to send their courses and games for advanced review. Several of them have done so.

Course design by novice judges can be a predictable exercise. Some things we learn only by the pain and agony of experience. Though I suppose I’m obligated to share a canny bit or two and spare as much pain and agony as possible.

An important constraint in designing for Canine Sports Academy is that the “front” of the ring is on the long side of the field. The location of the entry and exit gates is a bit of a mystery (and probably should not be). The consequence of the location of the front and the ambiguity of dictated entry & exit has led to a variety of course designs in fulfillment of the home work that has the dog starting the course in one corner of the ring, and finishing somewhere at the back.

My purpose in this discussion is to design a Superior Standard course for this space, partly to get a feeling for how difficult it might be, and partly (certainly) as a tutorial for the approaching clinic.

A Blank Slate

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This is the scariest moment in the life of a course designer… tabula rasa. From this blank slate I’m charged with creating something that is appropriate, first of all; but ultimately I want it to be fun, maybe even exciting.

I’ll tell you before I begin that I have little interest in my own course designs to put in a bunch of those ugly little “international” twists that has the handler micro-managing every movement of the dog. Design something that flows and causes both the dog and the handler to run. And if you need some ugly little bit to test whether the handler is awake, you can tweak it in later.

Designing with Scribbles

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I scribbled a random line on the course. My only guideline is that I wanted start and finish along the front of the ring… the long side of the ring. The obvious advantage is that the time-keeper should be able to get a nice “down-the-line” view of both the start & finish lines.

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My first observation of this scribbled line is that it has no fewer than seven crossing patterns (when the dog’s path crosses itself). That’s quite a riddle. The easiest obstacle for a crossing pattern is a jump. Though, to be sure, the dog’s path should be able to cross itself on the flat. You’ll often see crossing on the flat with box work.

At any rate, I decided to hard-code the crosses by setting jumps on several of the crosses.

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Fairly early on the course designer should set contact equipment with a mind for the judge able to get position to see the contact performances for each.

Ordinarily on a floor of this shape you would probably want the dogwalk to be on the long wall at the back. Unfortunately my “scribbles” didn’t show the dogwalk on the back wall… so I’ll tentatively set the dogwalk on a short wall.

The down contacts for both the dogwalk and the A-frame face into the spectators. The judge gets the peanut gallery second-guessing every contact performance. My advice: Be in position, and get the call right.

The tunnel under the A-frame solves another of the crossing patterns.

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Something is starting to take shape here. But I’m back to the riddle of the dogwalk. The problem with putting the dogwalk on the short end of the floor is designing a sequence that serves up the dogwalk safe and square. Following the lines of the “scribble” I set a pipe tunnel up in the corner with an exit that serves up an approach to the dogwalk nicely.

On the other side of the ring I’ve added obstacles to shape the approach to the tunnel under the A-frame. A significant challenge is shaping up in this design. The handler must negotiate the length of the floor from the dismount of the weave poles to the approach to the dogwalk. Setting the teeter on the approach to the pipe tunnel helps slow the dog and softens the mad race to the opposite side of the floor.

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I’m left only with filling in the gaps in the sequence. Adding a jump or two does the trick. The jump after the A-frame is now a “soft” back-side approach, leaving the handler plenty of room to handle it big and wide, or tight and neat.

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Finally, the course must be numbered. If the numbering happens to come out with more than 20 or less than 17 (as required for the Superior class) I’d have to make adjustment to the course. With a bit of dumb luck, this course numbered out at 20.

The table is optional in the TDAA. If I were forced to add a table it should be swapped with the obstacle at #7 or #12 or #14. I like the idea of #14 because it gives the handler time to get nervous about the big looping flourish of a finish to this course.

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A final detail in design is adding the course information in the border of the map. I like making the name of the class big & bold so that it jumps out for the agility players picking up their courses in the morning of the trial.

I expect I would also number the grid. If at all possible the designing judge should try to find out how the floor is already numbered so that the numbering of the map matches it. And, if the club uses the baseline course building method, then baseline course maps should be prepared for the master course builder.

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After throwing away the original “scribble” I used the path feature of Clean Run Course Designer to redraw the path by following the numbers. This was the result.

Credit

The whimsical line approach to course design isn’t new at all. This methodology was clearly documented more than 20 years ago in Stuart Mah’s Fundamentals of Course Design. I couldn’t find the book on the Clean Run webstore… but I did find it here: http://www.agilityclick.com/prod96.htm

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

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