1 2 3 4
Nobody did it in a pretty way. And the 5-jump serpentine was truly ugly, even uglier than it looks on paper. The way the jumps were offset, you just couldn't run it smoothly. You had to either pull through or do at least 3 front crosses. You couldn't keep speed, then you had to wrap the dog around 18 to get to 19.
The Ex standard course looks doable. I've never encountered the ... I think we're going to play with that a little

also. That reminds me of a course I ran once, a while back. I vowed I'd never run under that ... have to wonder if its the same judge, or just two with course designs that I simply don't care for...

I've had Xs before, with a judge I did like, but they weren't as bad as these. Because of the off course tunnel temptation, you needed to pull hard to 3, causing most dogs to take 3 with a lot of speed and an angle heading straight to the off course 5. You then had to yank them back to 4, flip them to 5 (many dogs went very wide, some back-jumped 4) then either front cross as the dog was coming over 5 or flip the dog over 6 to 7.
Also, note the exit of the tunnel in relation to the dogwalk. That offset was actually a bit of a problem because dogs came flying out of the tunnel with a lot of speed then had to zig over to the DW. I was one of the few who did a blind at the tunnel and brought Viva over on my left so I could pull her to #9 another offset tunnel entrance. A lot of dogs sucked to the table.A lot of handlers, including me, did a front cross on the teeter to go to 13. Again the dogs had a lot of speed, so I ended up putting Viva at the triple in a slice heading toward the weaves and tried to correct to send her out to 14 while she was in the air she crashed the triple. The turn from 14-15 was very sharp, again in a tight corner. Viva literally skidded sideways.

Some dogs fell. A lot of dogs took the triple backwards after the weaves it was tight in there. Some handlers pulled their dogs out of the weaves too soon. One good handler layered the weaves as she sent her dog over 14, setting herself up for an easy front cross after 17. One of my friends did Q on her courses but said the key words, "it just wasn't any fun."
The Internet Bus has put me off of wanting to ... up and I don't need tire tracks on my head.

A few friends are now turning down judging opportunities. After the other weekend, I may do the same. In my ... true - my "interesting" courses were probably too difficult, but I wish the players would tell me to my face.

"too difficult" and "impossible to get a large dog into that turn" are two different things, I think.
You have a point, Matt, although I know that there have been times where competitors did mention the difficulty to judges and were told to "stop whining".
I'm I don't like the sequence from the weaves to ... again at #8, turning him way wide for #9. Ick.

Nobody did it in a pretty way. And the 5-jump serpentine was truly ugly, even uglier than it looks on ... 3 front crosses. You couldn't keep speed, then you had to wrap the dog around 18 to get to 19.

you know, sometimes I think thats a good measure of a course - did anyone manage to make it pretty?
The Internet Bus has put me off of wanting to ... up and I don't need tire tracks on my head.

A few friends are now turning down judging opportunities. After the other weekend, I may do the same. In my ... true - my "interesting" courses were probably too difficult, but I wish the players would tell me to my face.

I think the complaints I've had about judges aren't something that I would be saying to their faces. I've complained about a 25 second JWW course. It was 95 degrees, 5PM before our run. And I don't care how the measurement works out, a course that measures that short has a lot of tight turns - and they take time. It's not a fair run - especially in Novice. (And the judge knew no one was happy on that one. I don't think they had a 5% Q rate. I haven't checked, but have heard that no one Qd.) The day before, this judge also took over an hour lunch break in the middle of what was going to be a long day.
I've also complained - not to the judge - when a judge spent 15 minutes (yes, I timed it) hugging and catching up with an old friend. In the middle of the course. While 30 of us stood there waiting for the scheduled (and called) judge's briefing. In the hot sun.
Outside of that JWW course, I don't think I've run a course that would make me avoid that judge. But those two, I'm not willing to risk the aggravation again.
There are judges whose courses I love to run - smooth, flowing. But I'm starting to realize that I don't do as well on those courses as I do on the ones that have challenges that I would prefer weren't in there. I don't know if I'm that bad a judge of a course or if I work harder on the "trickier" ones.
And I do like "interesting". I'd prefer not to pay for four runs of "interesting", but they still can be fun. Usually those are the ones I come off thinking I'd like to try them a second time. (I'm thinking of starting a Mulligan Agility Conference - second runs as an option.) Maybe it's because we (at Novice and Open level) usually run Excellent level courses in class.
Our agility instructor is also an AKC judge. I have Spenser in Open Standard - but we've had a weaves issue and while I've got him doing six weaves cleanly, twelve is still iffy. So I'm happy when I see an Open course with only six - which happens about half the time lately. The instructor/judge says it's at least partly because the judge wants to be invited back. While I'm glad to see it, I also don't want to gather three legs and an Open title without ever getting a Q with twelve weaves. That doesn't benefit anyone.
So keep doing "interesting". Just not all of them.
~~Judy
When life gives you lemons, ask for tequila and salt.
Outside of that JWW course, I don't think I've run a course that would make me avoid that judge. But those two, I'm not willing to risk the aggravation again.

I keep a list. There are very few judges I absolutely won't show under. For instance, I would probably try last weekend's judge at least one more time. But there are some judges I will drive a long distance for and some I won't. For instance, I decided not to go to a trial this next weekend in Lawrence, KS based partly on money woes, and partly on the rep of the judges. If I'd had the money for sure, I would have gone anyway, but the judges helped me make my decision to stay home.
There are judges whose courses I love to run - smooth, flowing. But I'm starting to realize that I don't ... don't know if I'm that bad a judge of a course or if I work harder on the "trickier" ones.

Experience will help. And dog size makes a difference. I know I harp on this, but when you have a bigger dog, safety really does start to come into play. Smaller dogs can handle the nasties without physical harm. Bigger dogs, if asked to jump and twist constantly, are going to injure themselves.
And I do like "interesting". I'd prefer not to pay for four runs of "interesting", but they still can be fun.

I LOVE interesting. I don't want give aways. I want a course that makes me think, that challenges me, that keeps me on my toes. Some of the fastest and most open/flowing courses I've ever run have taken down a huge number of dogs because handlers didn't account for speed properly in their handling decisions. It IS possible to have flow and challenge.

Unfortunately, too many judges can only design "more difficult" with more twisty and tighter, with ugly entrances to obstacles and multiple 270s and wraps. The judges who figure out how to make a challenging course without doing that are the ones I go back to time and time again.
I will say that these are the kinds of courses I do NOT like, especially for big dogs. I was ... have some truly lovely courses by the other judge. Cala finished her NAJ so that was nice. [/nq]
Yuck! Just looking at those makes me shudder.
I worked the Excellent JWW class yesterday. I filled in as leash runner for 24 and 20 inch dogs. Good number of Qs and most of the dogs that didn't had trouble at the same place. 16-4 inches I was scheduled ring steward and noticed how the smaller dogs didn't have anywhere near as much trouble with the one trap. My friend that runs corgis always claims that small dogs have different problems and aren't easier than big dogs. Her dog had a bad case of the sillies but I think Trip's standard run won for most entertainment value of the day.
Beth
I worked the Excellent JWW class yesterday. I filled in as leash runner for 24 and 20 inch dogs. Good ... trap. My friend that runs corgis always claims that small dogs have different problems and aren't easier than big dogs.

I keep hearing that, and I've even parroted it. But the more agility I see, the less I believe it. It's just not true, and anybody who says that has never run a big dog.All things equal that is, taking a dog of equal ability, training, and drive, a small dog will have a much easier time getting around a course clean than a big dog especially the 12" and 16" dogs. The true tinies (Chihuahua, Yorkie, etc.) do have some real issues to deal with, but the 12" and 16" dogs have an advantage. Yes, the aframe is more difficult, but the dogwalk and teeter are far easier. Running contacts are the norm rather than the exception.

You have several more strides to use to get nicer lines. Smaller dogs can run flat out big dogs are constantly having to collect and can never run flat out. It's easier for small dogs to do weaves. It's easier to keep small dogs out of traps because you have more strides to turn them in. Small dogs don't land 15 feet the far side of the triple.
Add to that the time bonus given to 12" dogs not only do they have a better chance of running clean, but they accrue MACH points faster, and in this area the classes are generally smaller, so there's less competition and more of a chance to double points. Last year, there wer
462 MACHs awarded by the AKC (including multiple-MACH dogs). I justlooked a the list and picked out breeds with 10 or more MACHs for the year.
89 Shelties
64 BCs
51 Papillon
31 PRT
31 Goldens
28 Mini Schnauzer
23 Aussies
20 Poodles (all varieties lumped)

If we rank by size, we have to discard poodles because we don't know how many of each variety completed the title. Goldens are the only big dog breed there, and even they often run in 20 as well as 24 probably more in 20 than 24. No other big dog breed has more than 10 MACHs in 2003, and most are single digits or none.
Paps, PRT (JRT), and Mini-Schnauzer can probably be put together as generally in the 12" class and they add up to 110 MACHs. Some Aussies run 16" and some 20", a very few 24" so that's another one hard to classify. But if you put the dogs we know mostly run in 12" with the dogs we know mostly run 16" (Shelties), you get a huge majority of last year's MACH dogs.
Nobody did it in a pretty way. And the 5-jump serpentine was truly ugly, even uglier than it looks on ... 3 front crosses. You couldn't keep speed, then you had to wrap the dog around 18 to get to 19.

I'm really bad at evaluating courses from paper - but even I could tell that the serpentive was ugly.
cross after 17. One of my friends did Q on her courses but said the key words, "it just wasn't any fun."

Yup - that's the key.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dogplay.com/Shop /
Now, if you're hearing feedback through the "grapevine" it is probably stinging. If there is any validity to the criticism, take it into account, and move on.

I have. And the grapevine stinging isn't so bad two weeks later.
FWIW, I appreciate a tricky sequence that challenges me, and whether I Q or not, I count successes by whether I can succeed in that challenge.

What I've got to do is look at challenges through eyes other than mine. I love challenging courses - which is why I'm happy that Friday and I are now at the Masters level in all the games and the standard rounds. Plus, we don't run for Qs - we go full out every time, faults be damned. The few times it all comes together is very satisfying.
Non-clean placements are important to many, especially at the Starters level where the focus is supposed to be on obstacle performance, not handling. Live and learn.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Show more