Posted by: allstaragility | May 28, 2013

Individual Pentathlon Agility 1

As Glinda told Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “It’s always best to start at the beginning.”  Good advice for my first course review from the 2013 WAO; Individual Pentathlon Agility 1 judged by Emiel Vervoort from Belgium.

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Video of our run can be viewed HERE.  Many thanks to George Mariakis and KineticDog LLC for videoing Team USA!

This course was fairly straight forward and a nice one to begin our journey through the weekend’s competition.  Upon first glance, I was immediately happy to see the straight exit off the dogwalk to the spread jump. Yes, having a dog with good running dogwalks (as long as they have straight exits) makes one a bit possessed to first look to see what that set-up is like. 😉

It was pretty clear to go to the right  to the back-side of #3 on the opening.  Being a wall jump that we don’t see very often in training, I noted that I had to make sure Solei saw it was the wall jump she was going around to better prepare to jump towards me.  Some people executed a front or blind cross on the landing side of 3 and I did walk a BC there, but I recalled a few times in training I did the same thing at the wall and she didn’t take it coming back towards me.   I didn’t feel it was necessary in this situation, so I decided to play it safe and keep her on my right to #4.   There were a few people that went with their dogs on their right and front crossed on the take-off side of #3 to send them to the tunnel off their left.  I choose not to handle it that way as I felt it would take up too much time getting both of us to the other side of 3.

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When I walked the course, I told myself to make sure to connect with Solei out of the tunnel and not get too far ahead.  A lot of dogs did come very wide out of the tunnel because their handlers left them to get up to the AF and didn’t pick them up sooner at the end of the tunnel.  I though I held longer, but looking at the video, there I go leaving her!  I do know that I said her name going into it so that she knew to look for me upon exiting.

After the AF came the chute which is very different than what our dogs experience in the US.  The chute fabric has tube sandbags along both sides and the top is somewhat loose, not pulled tight/flat like ours here.  It makes it very fast and not really possible for them to pull to one side (as Solei tends to do normally if she senses a turn).  I made sure to show slight deceleration and motion away as she was going in, but not so much that she would try to turn in it.

As she came out of the chute, I showed motion and a  hand cue for her to come to my right side to pull her slightly to the take-off side of #8.  I did end up running backwards more than I like, but it did keep me moving better down the line.  I walked that sequence from 7-10 several different ways, but none of them made as much sense as pulling to 8 and doing 8-10 on my left.  Several people did front crosses before the teeter and then again before jump 10, but I feel that would have taken way too much time.

The goal for success from 10-11 was not having to babysit the dog on the end of the teeter.  Several people who had to stay with their dogs on the teeter weren’t able to cue the dogs to the correct side of #11 because they were behind and got the dreaded whistle and off course music playing for the rest of the run (interesting tidbit: one popular off-course song was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”… ouch!). As it was on this run, Solei released a little early from the teeter and I wasn’t able to cue as nice of a wrap at #10 as I planned so our line from 10-11 was a little longer and loopy than I would have liked.

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11-14 actually ran a lot smoother than I thought.  I was a bit worried about the line from the tire to the weaves, but it ran much better than I thought.  I walked getting a little tighter turn at the tire to set a straighter line over the broad jump to the weaves, which would have put me behind the entry, but in the end decided to get ahead to push her to the poles and it worked nicely.

After the weaves, my goal was to be at the next jump, stationary to cue more collection.  The position of my body were paramount in this turn.   I made certain my shoulders and the front of my body was facing more towards the weaves to cue a little tighter turn off of the #15 jump as the #7 jump was close enough to be mistaken as the next obstacle instead of the tunnel.  By using executing the Ketschker, I wanted Solei to know that she was coming pretty close back into me after that jump so I wouldn’t have to overwork getting her to the tunnel in order to get ahead for the next sequence.  There were a lot of people who did a simple shoulder turn at that jump and it worked with varying degrees of success.

Out of the tunnel to the threadle, I had walked several options, including being on the landing side of #17 and pushing to the back side of #18.  Again, I had a flashback to the weekend before at ITT where we got called for her bumping into me.  I was worried I wouldn’t get there in time to cue proper collection from the landing side of the jump and thought it would be possible for her to make contact with me.  Because of this, I decided to blind after the tunnel and cue a front cross wrap at 17 to get her to the backside of 18.  This put me further behind on the ending line, but I knew she would see the jump after the dogwalk and kick in the afterburners to drive towards it.  Thankfully, she did and we finished in 3rd place in this class!


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