2016 Western Petit Prix Update ~ May 21

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On the second day of competition at the Western Petit Prix the competition heated right up. Several dogs have established themselves as contenders for a Teacup National Agility Champion (TNAC). This title is conferred upon the winner of each jump height[1].

Today we ran one standard course and played Wild West Pinball, the Box Game, and Weakest Link. Below we have the course maps and games briefings. Look for the individual results under each.

Download the overall tournament standings (as of this evening) here: Petit Prix Standings

Wild West Colorado Pinball

 

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Briefing

The objective of Wild West Pinball is to accumulate as many points in possible in the time allotted. This is a dog’s choice game. Obstacles may be taken in the order and direction of the handler’s choosing.

Time begins when the dog takes the Tire/Slingshot (0 points):

  • 45 seconds for 12″ &16″ dogs;
  • 50 seconds for 4″ & 8″ dogs.Point Values
  • A horn will blow when time expires. The clock continues to run until the dog puts at least one paw on the table. The table is always live (TILT!).
  • Gold Bone Tunnel (Chute) – 100 points
  • Silverton Mining Tunnels – 150 points. Must be taken in order and direction shown
  • Cowdog Cliff Hanger (Teeter) – 150 points. Must approach from between the 2 C-shaped tunnels (without taking either tunnel). The dog may not earn points on the Cowdog Cliff Hanger immediately after taking the Silverton Mining Tunnels.
  • Brekenridge Ski Slalom (Weave Poles) – 150 points. Can be taken in either direction.
  • Pikes Peak Trail – 100 points. Must be taken in order and direction shown.
  • Millenium Bridge – 200 points. Can be taken either 1a to 2b, or 2a to 2b.
  • Golden Nuggets (unnumbered jumps) – 10 points each, bi-directional
  • Slingshot (Tire) – 0 points

Obstacles and sequences may be taken only twice for points. Back-to-back performances are permitted. Bonus obstacles and sequences that are faulted will result in no points for that attempt. Weaves must be completed without fault. There will be no partial credit given for incomplete sequences. Unnumbered jumps (golden nuggets) may be taken as many times as desired.

Faults: 10 points for knocked bars, missed contacts. Doing sequences incorrectly is not faulted; it’s just wasting time. Knocked bars are not reset, and are out of play for the rest of the run. Popping out of the weaves is not faulted, but credit will only be given if they are restarted and completed.

Scoring and Qualification

Wild West Pinball is scored Points, Then Time. The most points wins. Time is tie breaker. To Qualify:

  • Games I – 400 points
  • Games II – 500 points

Download Results

The Box Game

 

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Briefing

The objective of the Box Game is to run a numbered sequence while earning bonuses for several distance challenges. The distance-challenge eligible for bonus is specifically when the dog must go out of the box… with the handler staying inside the box.

Central to the course is a large boxed area which the dog and handler will enter after completing jump #1. Outside of the box are five different distance challenges. Each time the handler sends the dog out of the box and completes the send, a bonus of 5 seconds will be deducted from the dog’s score.

No bonus will be earned for an individual challenge if the handler steps out of the box, or if the dog earns a fault during the send.

Scoring and Qualification

The Box Game is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus. To qualify, the team must be under the adjusted Qualifying Course Time for their level:

Games I 4″ & 8 ” dogs 54 Seconds
12′′ & 16′′ dogs 50 Seconds
Games II 4″ & 8 ” dogs 41 seconds
12′′ & 16′′ dogs 36 seconds
Games III 4″ & 8 ” dogs 23 seconds
12′′ & 16′′ dogs 21 seconds

 

Download Results

Standard 3

 

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Standard courses shall be judged under rules for performance for the Superior class. Qualifying scores shall be accorded to the titling level of the dog.

Scoring and Qualification

Standard courses shall be scored Faults, Then Time. To qualify the dog must run the course without fault, under the course time. The judge will measure the course to determine the Standard Course Time for each level.

 

Download Results

 

Weakest Link

 

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Briefing

The Weakest Link is a point accumulation game. The object of the game is to score as many points as possible in the allotted time. Only “banked” points will count toward the final score.

Each obstacle taken by the dog must be worth as much as or more than the previous obstacle taken. To keep points earned, they must be “banked” by the dog going through the tire. There are two tires on the field! After points have been banked a new sequence of points-gathering begins. Each sequence banked must be unique, which means there must be at least one difference from any sequence previously banked.

Back-to-back performance of obstacles is permitted, but only back-to-back. A third performance shall constitute a fault.

Unbanked points are considered “potential” points. If a dog commits a fault, all potential points are lost. Faults include dropped bars, missed contacts, taking an obstacle of lesser value than the previous one, failing to bank points before the final whistle. Weaves just must be completed for points, but once started, if not completed before going on it will be called a fault. When a dog faults the judge will call “fault”. The handler then must direct the dog to the first obstacle in a new sequence to earn potential points.

If a bar is dropped on a jump that jump is out of play for the remainder of the game.

This course features two gambles that earn the dog significant bonus points:

  1. 20 point gamble: (white circles) jump/tunnel/jump
  2. 25 point gamble: (white squares) A-frame/tunnelPoints values of obstacles:

The gambles must be taken in the order and direction shown, with the handler behind the gamble line. If the dog knocks a bar, misses a contact, or goes off course in the middle of the gamble – the judge will call “fault”. If the handler steps over the containment line the dog is faulted only if the order of performance breaks the weakest link point value rules.

  • jumps – 2 points
  • tire, tunnels – 4 points
  • contact obstacles – 6 points
  • weave poles – 8 points

12″ and 16″ dogs have 50 seconds; 4″ and 8″ dogs have 55 seconds to accumulate points. When time is up the horn will sound and the dog must cross the finish line to stop the clock.

Scoring and Qualification

The Weakest Link is scored Points, Then Time. Time is a tiebreaker only.

To qualify:

  • Games I – 30 points
  • Games II – 40 points
  • Games III – 50 points

Download Results

Blog1132 TDAA

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 Joker’s Notebook, an invaluable reference for teaching an agility dog (and his handler) to work a distance part.

[1] The TNAC is conferred only if the top dog in a jump height places within the top 25 of the tournament.

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Wild West Pinball ~ Games of the Petit Prix

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This is a continuing series featuring the games of the TDAA’s Western Petit Prix in 2016. Today we’ll have a look at Wild West Pinball. This game is about scoring points and choosing an efficient path for the dog.

Following is a sample course with the simple briefing. After the briefing we’ll study the possible strategies for such a game.

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Wild West Pinball is a game invented by Ilse Rukis. This is a game of point accumulation and strategy. Trisha Stall, from New Lebanon, New York will judge Wild West Pinball at the Petit Prix. The game is scheduled for the afternoon of May 21st at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colorado. The sample course shown here is not the course designed by Ms. Stall for play at the Petit Prix.

Briefing

The objective of Wild West Pinball is to accumulate as many points in possible in the time allotted. This is a dog’s choice game. Obstacles may be taken in the order and direction of the handler’s choosing.

The objective of Wild West Pinball is to accumulate as many points in possible in the time allotted. This is a dog’s choice game. Obstacles may be taken in the order and direction of the handler’s choosing.

Time begins when the dog takes the Tire/Slingshot (0 points):

  • 45 seconds for 12″ &16″ dogs;
  • 50 seconds for 4″ & 8″ dogs.

A horn will blow when time expires. The clock continues to run until the dog puts at least one paw on the table. The table is always live (TILT!).

Point Values

  • Gold Bone Tunnel (Chute) – 100 points
  • Silverton Mining Tunnels – 150 points. Must be taken in order and direction shown
  • Cowdog Cliff Hanger (Teeter) – 150 points. Must approach from between the 2 C-shaped tunnels (without taking either tunnel). The dog may not earn points on the Cowdog Cliff Hanger immediately after taking the Silverton Mining Tunnels.
  • Brekenridge Ski Slalom (Weave Poles) – 150 points. Can be taken in either direction.
  • Pikes Peak Trail – 100 points. Must be taken in order and direction shown.
  • Millenium Bridge – 200 points. Can be taken either 1a to 2b, or 2a to 2b.
  • Golden Nuggets (unnumbered jumps) – 10 points each, bi-directional
  • Slingshot (Tire) – 0 points

Faults: 10 points for knocked bars, missed contacts. Doing sequences incorrectly is not faulted; it’s just wasting time. Knocked bars are not reset, and are out of play for the rest of the run. Popping out of the weaves is not faulted, but credit will only be given if they are restarted and completed.

Obstacles and sequences may be taken only twice for points. Back-to-back performances are permitted. Bonus obstacles and sequences that are faulted will result in no points for that attempt. Weaves must be completed without fault. There will be no partial credit given for incomplete sequences. Unnumbered jumps (golden nuggets) may be taken as many times as desired.

Scoring and Qualification

Wild West Pinball is scored Points, Then Time. The most points wins. Time is tie breaker. To Qualify:

  • Games I – 400 points
  • Games II – 500 points
  • Games III – 600 points

Strategy

This game will be played on Saturday afternoon. Some competitors will get caught looking past Wild West Pinball, because the game is fanciful and silly looking. It would be a very good idea to take serious stock of this game.

The handler’s obligation is to devise an efficient path to score the most possible points in the time allowed by the judge. For the purpose of the Petit Prix the handler shouldn’t be overly transfixed by the 600 points required for a Games III qualifying score. Almost certainly the top scores will be 1000 points or more.

If your strategy ever features more than a couple of obstacles that don’t score bonus points, then the strategy is probably flawed.

Find a path that flows and allows the dog to move at top speed. A course that is complicated by fussy micro-management can’t do anything but slow the dog down.

The interesting bit in this course is the approach to the Cowdog Cliff Hanger which is worth 150 points for a simple performance of the teeter. The cliff hanger bonus can only be earned by passing between the pipe tunnels (called the Silverton Mining Tunnels) without taking either. If the handler is trying to make the approach to the cliff hanger and the dog takes one of the tunnels, then the handler might as well stay in and score the points for the Silverton tunnels. But then, in order to make the cliff hanger eligible for points again, the handler will have to take the dog out of the area of the tunnels (perhaps doing the jump on the side away from the teeter) before making the attempt again.

The high value bonus sequence on this course is the Millenium Bridge, valued at 200 points. The obstacles that make up the Bridge are slightly different in two different directions. It might be a good idea to earn these points early in the run. Though it’s worth remembering that the dogwalk can be a time consuming obstacle and missing a contact will put a dent in the dog’s score (no bonus, plus 10 faults).

Please note that the table is live at all times (Tilt!). It’s a very good idea to keep the dog well away from the table until the time whistle blows. There’s not much down-side to going overtime, as time is a tie-breaker only.

Blog1128 TDAA

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 Joker’s Notebook, an invaluable reference for teaching an agility dog (and his handler) to work a distance part.

Gamblers ~ Games of the Petit Prix

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The TDAA’s Western Petit Prix in Castle Rock, Colorado features seven games and three standard runs.

Today we’ll focus on Gamblers, a dog’s choice point accumulation game that finishes with a distance challenge that earns the dog bonus points. Gamblers is a fundamental and traditional agility game in America. The requirement to direct a dog at a distance informs our training.

Below is a sample course with the simple briefing. Following the briefing is a short discussion of strategy.

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Trisha Stall, from New Lebanon, New York will judge Gamblers at the Petit Prix. Gamblers is scheduled for the afternoon of May 20th at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colorado. The sample course shown here is not the course designed by Ms. Stall for play at the Petit Prix.

Briefing

Gamblers is a point accumulation game with a distance challenge. The objective is to accumulate as many points as possible in the opening period, then to perform a designated distance gamble within the specified closing time.

In the opening point-accumulation period, teams accumulate points by performing obstacles up to twice for points. Back-to-back performance of any obstacle is allowed. If an obstacle is faulted the team can still attempt it twice for points. Jump bars are not reset if dropped, and that jump is dead for the rest of the run.

In the closing, the dog must do the numbered gamblers sequence while the handler stays behind the containment line. The dog may re-cross the line, but the handler must stay behind it. The dog must complete the obstacles, without fault, before time runs out to get credit for the gamble.

The gamble is worth 20 points.

Special Notes about the Gamble:

Any fault during performance of the gamble will negate the gamble bonus.

Performing two different gamble obstacles one after another in the opening will negate the gamble bonus.

Unproductive loitering near the start of the gamble before point accumulation time has expired will negate the gamble bonus.

Dropping a bar on a gamble jump during the opening will negate the gamble bonus.

Times:

12″ & 16″ dogs = 30 seconds opening, 12 seconds closing

4″ & 8″ dogs = 33 seconds opening, 14 seconds closing

Obstacle values, opening period:

  • jumps – 1 point
  • tire, tunnels – 3 points
  • Aframe, teeter, weaves – 5 points
  • Dogwalk – 7 points
  • Mini-gamble, 2 jumps performed, A-B circles or squares (as marked) while handler stays behind line – 10 points. If done any other way or not behind line, each jump is worth 1 point. Each jump can only be done twice for points, either as gamble or individual obstacles.

All obstacles, including the mini-gamble, can be taken twice for points in the opening period. Weaves can be corrected for credit.

Scoring and Qualification

Gamblers is scored Points, Then Time. The dog with the most point’s wins. Time is the tie breaker.

To qualify:

  • Games III – needs 23 points in opening plus gamble
  • Games II – needs 21 points in opening plus gamble
  • Games I – needs 19 points in opening plus gamble

Strategy

Remember that Gamblers is scored Points, Then Time. The dog will either earn the Gamble bonus… or he won’t. While the gamble is required to “qualify”… it isn’t necessarily required to earn a respectable placement score. So the handler should consider a strategy that racks up as many points as possible in the opening point accumulation period.

Because of the “loitering” rule, the handler should save the performance of several obstacles near the start of the gamble for the very end of the point accumulation strategy. When the horn sounds ending point accumulation the dog should be near the start of the gamble, and the handler have enough time to make the approach without haste or panic.

Note that if you’ve used up the “loitering” obstacles near to the start of the gamble, you can do the first jump of the gamble to score points and continue to loiter. Be careful though, because if you drop the bar you’ve negated the gamble bonus.

Our judge has put on the course a “mini gamble” that earns the dog a generous game-changing bonus equal to the end-game Gamble bonus. There is no penalty for trying. Make the attempt on the mini gamble before time expires in the point accumulation period. Get it done early.

There’s a lot to be said for finding a flowing path for your dog during point accumulation. Stay away from obstacles with which your dog has issues. Find opportunities to do back-to-back performances of high value obstacles… a back-to-back, if done neatly, can take a lot of real estate out of the transitional distance between earned points.

Blog1125 TDAA

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 agility fans

Dare to Double ~ Games of the Petit Prix

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The TDAA’s Western Petit Prix in Castle Rock, Colorado is scarcely two weeks away. So, for the next several days I will explore the games we’ll be playing, with special attention to the rules established by our judges, John Finley and Trisha Stall.

Today the discussion is Dare to Double, a dog’s choice point accumulation game; and a game of strategy and daring. I’ll begin with the simple briefing. Follow that reading with the discussion of strategy. Real inspiration might be found in the fine print.

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John Finley of Columbus, Ohio will judge Dare to Double at the Petit Prix. Dare to Double is scheduled for the morning of May 20th at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colorado. The sample course shown here is not the course designed by Mr. Finley for play at the Petit Prix.

Briefing

Dare to Double is a dog’s choice game. 4″ and 8″ inch dogs will have 55 seconds, 12″ and 16″ dogs will have 50 seconds to accumulate as many points as possible. Time starts when the dog crosses the Start line, and ends at the table. The table is live after time has started. A horn will signal the end of point accumulation. If the team reaches the table before the horn, all points earned on course will be keep. If the team fails to get the table before the horn, half of their points will be lost. There will be no warning whistle.

The value of the obstacles is based on a 1-3-5-7-point system.

  • 1 point for jumps
  • 3 points for tunnels and tires
  • 5 points for dogwalk, teeter, and the weave poles
  • 7 points for the dog walk, the first time it is performed.

Scoring obstacles can be taken only twice for points. Back-to-back performances are allowed. Jumps that are knocked down will not be reset.

A successful performance of the A-frame doubles all points earned up to that time. If the dog faults the A-frame, half of the team’s points are lost.

The A-frame is not restricted to only two performances. The dog may double points at any time, and as many times as the handler (or dog) wishes. The important restriction: The dog must complete another obstacle — for points — before reattempting the A-frame.

Scoring and Qualification

Dare to Double is scored Points, Then Time. The dog with the most point’s wins. Time is the tie breaker.

Points needed to qualify:

  • Games III – needs a score of 160 or better
  • Games II – needs a score of 80 or better
  • Games I – needs a score of 40 or better

Strategy

Although the briefing above includes points required to qualify by level, the Petit Prix really isn’t about qualifying. Each dog is pitted against every other dog by jump height. The competitor should get out of his head the paltry 160 points required of the GIII dog. The strategy should be calculated to earn thousands of points.

You will note that obstacles can be performed only twice for points. This is true of all obstacles except for the A-frame, which can be performed as many times as the dog can manage in the time given to play.

The basic strategy for Dare to Double should be this: Accumulate a foundation of points, and then embark on a doubling strategy.

Foundation Points ~ The handler wants to gather up enough points to make the first double worth maybe twice the value of the any other obstacle on the field. The judge has stipulated in this variation that the first performance of the dogwalk is worth 7 points; and so the total of foundation points should be only about 7 points, or slightly higher.

The handler should be careful not to use up any of the obstacles near to the A-frame that should be used in the doubling strategy.

I will show possible strategies for foundation points based on the sample course:

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As back-to-back performances are allowed on all obstacles (excepting the A-frame) the collection of foundation points might feature a back-to-back on a high value obstacle. The black circled numbers represent a pretty good pick-up of points before heading to the A-frame. But this is a real “know thy dog” kind of gambit. The handler would make this opening only if: a) the dog has a fast performance of the dogwalk; and b) it’s extremely unlikely that the dog will miss the down contact. If you’re keeping track, the dog has earned 26 points upon the first dismount of the A-frame.

The white square numbered sequence represents a fast and flowing attack on the doubling obstacle. This opening garners only 18 points on the first performance of the A-frame, but might be fast enough that the dog squeezes in an extra Double by the expiration of time.

Of course there are other possible openings. Use your imagination, and know thy dog!

The Doubling Strategy ~ there’s no conceivable reason for the dog to be put upon the dogwalk, or the teeter, or the weave poles when a performance of the A-frame is worth 40 points, or more. So the doubling strategy must be focused on singleton obstacles that can be quickly snatched up by the dog before heading back to the A-frame.

One of the important rules of the game is that the A-frame may not be doubled back-to-back. The dog is required to do another obstacle “for points” between performances. And, since obstacles can only be performed twice for points, a third performance of an obstacle would not earn points and so would not make the A-frame live for another double. As the judge has a mind like a steel trap, you know that he will be keeping careful track of the number of performances for those obstacles that surround the A-frame.

In the doubling strategy the high value obstacle near the A-frame should be done early rather than late. I’ll illustrate below:

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The extra two points for a pipe tunnel (compared to a jump) should benefit as lavishly as possible from doubling. Let me express this as a mathematical compare and contrast:

Score Score
20 20 20 20
D 40 D 40
3 43 1 41
D 86 D 82
3 89 1 83
D 178 D 166
3 181 1 167
D 362 D 334
3 365 1 335
D 730 D 670

Assuming the dog made his first approach to the A-frame with 20 foundation points… you’ll note in the two left-most columns the dog begins the doubling strategy with the performance of pipe tunnels; the two right-most columns begins the doubling strategy with jumps! The left strategy has out-scored the right by 60 points.

Oh, and if the dog doubles three more times… that 60 point difference explodes to a 480 point difference.

The Ticking Clock ~ If the dog doesn’t get to the table before the expiration of time, half of his points will be lost, just like faulting the A-frame! Dare to Double is typically played with a warning whistle or buzzer announcing the impending expiration of time. Mr. John Finley, our wicked judge, has specified that there will be no 15 second warning whistle.

And so, it’s a real test of a handler’s sense of timing know precisely when it’s time to go to the table.

Well, there’s no sense in giving away every strategy. At the warm-up workshop I will share the sure-fire secret for getting the end of time performance perfect every time. Are you coming to the warm-up workshop? I think entries are closed already.

Please note that the table is live from the very beginning of the dog’s run. It’s a very good idea not to present the table to your dog in the midst of your doubling strategy.

Blog1124 TDAA

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.