Some years ago, circa 1992 or so, I entered a USDAA trial out in Pomona, CA. On the premium was this game called “Power and Speed”. I had no idea what it was at all. In contemplation of my little 13″ Shetland Sheepdog—Winston the Wonder Dog—I thought well heck he’s not a powerful dog. The game sounded pretty darned intimidating. And so I did not enter him in the class.
At the trial I got to sit outside the ring rope and watch all of my friends play this game and have just a whole bunch of fun with it. And there was nothing intimidating and nothing beyond the realm of our developing skills. It was just plain old agility played under a set of rules measuring somewhere between odd and unique.
Since that day I have never avoided entering a games class.
Don’t you know I’m sympathetic to new players in the TDAA who don’t play games wherever else they got their start in the game. It’s just a game; it’s just agility. And, we’re going to be playful with it.
I’m moving the Strategy section to lead the discussion. Most interested parties already know the rules to the game. But, if you need a refresher, skip over Strategy to the Briefing.
The Power section is untimed and features mostly technical obstacles. It is unusual to find a hurdle in this section.
What I really want to emphasize here is the importance of the “untimed” attribute of the section. As Power and Speed is mostly offered as a warm-up game, this is a marvelous opportunity for the handler to reinforce the dog’s obstacle performance with some gusto and emphasis. A dog with a 2o2o contact performance can be left in the unambiguous position for a length of time with no degradation of the overall performance score. Indeed it allows and even encourages a bit of training in the ring (nudge-nudge/wink-wink).
Time actually begins at the Starting Line which is intermediate to the last obstacle in the Power section, and jump #1 in the Speed. Take special note of this advice. On this course the handler might actually position the dog in a straight line addressing jumps #1 and #2 and take a lead-out into the speed section… with no degradation of the overall performance score. On the course I’ve drawn above, if the handler attacks the #1 jump from the dismount of the dogwalk, he has surely introduced the wrong course option into the pipe tunnel after the first jump.
Odd and Unique
I sat down and designed this course just for this blog entry. I wanted something that would allow me to do make some important teaching points about the game Power and Speed. Please note that the game has evolved over the years. In the TDAA the game has some important differences from the game that used to be played in the USDAA. For example, in the old USDAA version of the game any fault earned in the Power section was an immediate “E” and dismissal from the field (you’ll understand that terminology after reading the briefing below). In the TDAA version we treat any fault in the Power section as a simple fault which is added to the overall score.
Power and Speed, a British import game, is the Iron Dog competition of dog agility games. The game demonstrates the ability of the handler to exercise tight control (power) through a part of the course, then show loose control (speed) over another part of the course.
Each handler and dog runs a course that is split into two sections: Power and Speed.
Power – The Power section typically consists of technical obstacles; contacts, and weave poles. The Power section may also contain spread hurdles or other specialty hurdles.
The Power section is un-timed. Consequently the start-line is positioned between the last obstacle of the Power section and the first obstacle of the Speed section. If the time is getting close to the course time the timer is instructed to watch the dog. If the dog’s time exceeds the course time, the dog will still be allowed to continue on the Speed section, but there will be no score awarded.
Any faults earned by the dog will be added to the dog’s score. For example, if the dog misses a contact or earns a refusal on a contact obstacle, his score would be 5 for the Power section. Obviously, the ideal score for the Power section is 0.
Speed – The Speed section contains a straightforward Jumpers sequence. The goal is for the dog to run the course as fast as possible, preferably with no faults.
Scoring for Power and Speed is Time, Plus Faults: faults from the Power section plus time from the Speed section plus faults from the Speed section. The dog with the lowest score wins.
Power and Speed is judged under the performance rules respective to the venue, and level or class of the dog in competition.
Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.