By Dave Munnings
I don’t judge often but I love it when I do. Today (3rd June) I judged the Novice Olympia qualifier at Hinckley (course below) and I loved seeing some literally incredible young dogs on his course where they could open up but still test some skills along the way. I thought I would give a few observations about the course and how it went.
These were the main issues and how I would handle it:
1-3. Lots of people led out (with lovely start lines) way too far and past the first tunnel mouth which then opened this up as a trap. I would have led out to about 1/2 way between 1 and 2 and raced the dog to the tunnel to give more speed and also to make it very clear that you are driving forward. You don’t want any decel on 2 and you can basically block the wrong entrance. If you lead out and release stationary this often cues the dog that you will do some kind of turn on 2. If you add motion it adds speed and also makes it more clear where you are going next.
Tunnel commitment….lots of dogs didn’t have enough! I would want to blind between 4 and 5 and though lots of people tried it, many didn’t make it because their dogs either pulled off the tunnel when they tried to leave or they left late because they didn’t trust the dog enough to take the tunnel. Making a blind isn’t about handler speed (it obviously helps) it’s about commitment to obstacles. SHOW and GO!
To get a nice turn on the long jump and to avoid the tunnel it was a lot easier if the handler was further up the course. The forward motion of a handler behind was pushing dogs into the tunnel. A good understanding of directions cues was useful here and I saw a lot of that. I would have given a left cue on the long jump and then ketschker jump 7 and send to the tunnel on my right arm.
The weave entry had way more issues than I had anticipated. Most people just blocked the weaves and so all the dogs could see was the back of the long jump. Let your dogs see where they are going next, don’t block equipment. Lots got sucked into the tunnel entrance because the handlers ended up with their dogs on their left arm after 7 so then were not far enough back out the way to give a clear view of the weaves.
Weaves to 14 didn’t cause so many issues as long as the handler could get past the weaves (a skill to train), could leave the dog on the A-Frame to get ahead to handle 13, and the dog understood a backside cue.
I would have backside serp 10, send and pivot 11, then threadle to 13. Other options for 13 were blind or front cross off the A-Frame and throw back into a ketschker on 13 or blind after the A-Frame and push for a backside serp or German on 13.
See-saw to wrong end of tunnel again didn’t have too many issues so long as the handler could get slightly ahead of the see-saw and having a tunnel threadle cue helped a lot. (Well done to those of you who had one.)
A few handlers didn’t collect out of the tunnel at all and let their dogs run past 17. Collect out of the tunnel…where do you need to be? Control 17 a little then send to the dog walk and finish. Easy peasy! Haha!
One last point… If you have already been eliminated, do NOT then let your dog run all their contacts (if they are meant to stop). Way, WAY too many people did nothing to correct their contacts. You will have a battle forever to maintain them and then an even harder battle to retrain them when you lose them all. Simple dog training guys…..be CONSISTENT!!
Well done to the top 5 on my course today, some amazing runs and some awesome running contacts. Well done everyone else who gave it their best shot. Some amazing partnerships out there and just some unlucky runs but I enjoyed watching ALL of you. Thanks Brenda Bulmer for scriming.
And if you don’t know your backside from your threadle, or your German from you ketschker, then you need Dave’s own online training course, Q-Me. It’s brilliant.