Sunday, February 15, 2009

Winter Fun Match!

Today we went to a Winter Fun Match at Kim's (see link for Dog School, below). We didn't actually sign up for winter league, but our friends Carol and Addie did, and they were in Tennessee this weekend, so Maggie and I took their place. Not only that, but we took family with us to cheer us on... we really enjoyed having them there.

The first event was a regular course and the idea was to just run it without an error until the standard course time was up. If you finished before the buzzer, start the course over and get as many points as possible. We nearly finished the course twice, but I was running out of oxygen and slowed down. Still, I think we took first place.

The second event was a FAST course. For those of you outside the agility world, I'll give you a crash course on FAST, starting with the name. FAST is an acronym for Fifteen And Send Time. No one knows what the fifteen means, but the "Send" refers to the unique part of the course called a "Send Bonus." At this point, you send your dog to do the obstacles while you stay outside a line taped on the floor. The higher the level, the farther the tape and the harder the obstacles. So to accomplish this, everyone has to come up with a plan of where they will stand, where they will move and when they will give the commands. In this event, it is imperative that the dog gets his command for the next obstacle at just the right second. If you say it too late, they will often head back toward you to get directions, ruining the "send."
Here are some of the fun match people doing their walk-through, planning a course where the dog jumps the first two jumps, climbs the A-Frame and then enters the tunnel. (follow the yellow dashed line) The tunnel is hidden in this photo, but you might be able to see the tunnel entrance under the yellow arrow. Meanwhile, we had to stay outside the tape line marked with the black arrows. This was actually a pretty easy send bonus, but you can still see how much effort these handlers are putting into their plan and visualizations. And remember, this is for a fun match-you should see the intensity at a real show. This is the part of agility that really separates the beginners from the experienced handlers... once you know how your dog will run a course, you can adjust your handling to increase your chance of success. A good run is often made at the walk-through.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for showing us your blog. It is really cute! Love the pics.