Round 2: Standard – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Round 2: Standard

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  • Randy says:

    Your comments about the need to manage contact exits struck a chord with me. Let’s say I want to practice exits off the A-frame and do a number of repetitions frequently (i.e. daily or every other day) over a concentrated period of two weeks or longer—just for the sake of discussion. Would you recommend doing this on a lowered A-frame to avoid wear and tear or unnecessary strain for the dog? Should physical strain be a concern at all? I’m sure it would be necessary to practice this regularly, over time, for the purpose of maintaining this skill. But I’m thinking about that initial learning period. (Getting easy and frequent access to an A-frame is another matter.)

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      With the caveat that I’m not a vet, I think agility folks overestimate the impact of stopped contacts relative to jumping. They limit a-frames but don’t realize the majority of pounding a dog takes in the sport is on jumping. I think a lot of the physical strain will be from climbing the a-frame as opposed to stopping into a 2 on 2 off position at the bottom. For running contact work, I found that anywhere from 4-10 full dogwalks could be done in a session, more than 10 the dog is simply too fatigued to give the same effort or striding–this depends on the individual dog and how much rest you take between each repetition.

      Yes, a lowered a-frame will be easier, and if I am several weeks away from the targeted agility trial/event, then that’s a good idea to use a lowered aframe, and then bring it back to normal height a week or two before the big event, or even sooner.

      If you’re “cramming” for a big event the 2 weeks before, I think I’d probably keep it at regular height. I’d probably give at least 2 days completely off out of every 7 days, and I typically rest the dog the day before the event.

  • Randy says:

    A cool coincidence. Sarah’s exercises 3&4 in module 3 show ways to handle 15-18–including the sneaky rear cross you describe from 16-17.

  • MBJ says:

    I’m feeling that with my 4″ dog who I do need to stay with on the weaves that handling #7 & 8 much like you would #16 & 17 and rearing at #9 would be my best choice. I’d stay on the back of #7 and pull him over #8 with a backside, confident I can pull him away from #16. What do you think?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      I think that’s a good plan. For a 4″ dog the #16 off course is a lower risk for going off course (compared to larger dogs) but if you’re looking for a tight line, I’d experiment with some deceleration at #7 to get the best possible turn to #8. This is something you should do before the event so you have an idea of your dog’s response and how easily you can get to the #8/#9 line.

  • Randy says:

    In regard to your Overview analysis about stopped contacts: Have your dogs been trained to perform both stopped and running contacts? What do you think about training for both–particularly for the dog walk. I have more context to this question but will spare you the details–unless you’d like to hear it.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Yes, Gitchi the golden started her career and got to Masters with a stopped dogwalk, and retrained at the age of 3. I found that without consistent review, her stopped contact would degrade. I think it’s possible to teach and maintain both at a high level, but it’s a lot of work. With my 2 year old golden now, we’re doing running contacts only on the dogwalk. If this doesn’t answer your question, feel free to provide more context.

  • Randy says:

    Can you give an example of a judge’s conservative call and how you would adjust course strategy?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      At a national event, the biggest variation in judging calls are on contact obstacles. In general, judges will call the dogwalk most conservatively (often using a second judge in the finals) and the teeter most loosely.

      If you have a “close” teeter performance where you’ve been called for it in the past, or you know from video review that your dog sometimes leaves the board before it hits the ground, you may run into a judge who calls them quite tightly at a national event. You may not know in advance but you can find out from fellow competitors, or watching the judge officiate a different height, or if you are later in the order, in your own height. Then you can be more conservative by helping the dog on the teeter rather than pushing ahead, for example.

      Since you can’t always know in advance which judge will call teeters more tightly, I usually spend a trial or two before a big event holding my dog’s teeter a bit, and especially in the preliminary rounds before the final at the big event itself.

  • Rose Slowikowski says:

    What are your suggestions for lining up your dog at the 1st jump? Then, your suggestions for jump 2-3.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Dogs in 20″ or 24″ I would stand as close I could to jump #2, facing the a-frame, release the dog on my left arm and front cross immediately to bring the dog to #2, where I would probably use a strong deceleration cue to get the turn to the a-frame. For 16″ and lower, I would try to line up the dog to see 1 and 2 in a single line, in which case I lead out to #2 and stand by the left wing, and release the dog on my right arm. If this feels awkward, I’d revert to my big dog strategy.

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