Reminder: To increase the course size for viewing, simply double click on it.
Cliff Notes Version for Novice – Best Way to Handle the Course:
- Set the dog up for a straight-on approach to #1
- Lead out between #1 &2, keep dog on right through the a-frame (note, there were other ways to handle this opening sequence, read below for more details).
- Front-cross between #3 & 4 so the dog is now on the handler’s left.
- Depending on the speed of the dog, either leave the dog at the teeter and front-cross between #8 & 9 or rear/front cross after the #9 weaves.
- Dog is on the handler’s right going into the #10 tunnel and remains on that side for the push-back at the #12 jump.
- After pushing the dog to the back of #12, handlers did a front cross on the landing side of #12 so the dogs were now on their left.
- The dog remained on the handler’s left side until around obstacle #18.
- Prior to #18 or #19, most handlers did a rear cross to keep their dog off of the teeter and driving toward the #19 triple.
Skills Challenge for Open – Training Suggestions To Get To The Next Level:
- Train the ‘Push to the Backside of a Jump‘ Maneuver.
The Details for Excellent – What Worked and What Didn’t:
Every once in awhile I’ll create a course where my vision of what handlers will do (the green path shown on the course) is far different than what happens (the red path shown on the course).
While I did slightly exaggerate the green path drawn for the dog, I really did envision handlers interacting and moving more in this opening sequence. I thought handlers would recognize the off-set angle of the #2 jump and take care to consider how this looks to the dog and perhaps start with the dog on the right through this sequence to ensure a nice approach to the a-frame.
However, what happened instead was that handlers led out to the bottom of the a-frame, used lateral distance to work jumps #1 & 2 and asked their dog to approach the a-frame at a sharp angle and with speed. This left dogs scrambling to remain on the a-frame rather than fly off the right side of the obstacle. Thank goodness for rubber contacts which gave the dogs additional traction and cushion, but it still was not fun to watch.
Once through the opening sequence, things went much better and most dogs made the weave entry with no problem.
The push to the back side of the jump at #12 was handled very well and dogs were comfortable going out on their own while their handler situated themselves for the #13 jump.
Surprisingly, several people opted for a rear-cross before #13 which was at times awkward since the dogs were still behind the handler (having been sent out to the back side of #12) and therefore were either 1) pushed to the #2 off course jump or 2) the handler found themselves on top of #13 which created a very tight rear cross and had the dog landing toward the empty space under the a-frame. Handlers then had to redirect their dog and push hard to get them moving in the correct direction toward the table.
Another unexpected area that incurred several refusals/runouts was the #16 jump. Handlers assumed that once the dogs were in the chute that they would go out and take that jump. However, since handlers were driving from #15 straight over/down to the landing side of #17, dogs often pulled in and by-passed #16. Handlers needed to support and put pressure on the dog’s path to keep them on that jump.
The ending sequence with the off-course teeter just before the #19 jump was another subtle area that required handler input. Many assumed the last ‘straight’ line of jumps was going to be an easy exit out, however, much to my surprise (and others) the teeter was a HUGE draw! Handlers either needed a cross to get themselves to the outside of the course to keep the dog from curling in toward the teeter or they needed a very solid push/get out to drive them toward the #19 jump.