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Course Analysis: Grand Prix of Dog Agility Finals

Annie DeChance shares her insights on the last course of the 2011 Cynosport World Games.

There was a big crowd made up of both spectators and fellow competitors on hand to watch the Grand Prix Finals in Louisville, Kentucky.  The course had slight international-type elements of the IHC classes, but also demonstrated the true meaning of teamwork between the dogs and their human partners since it required acceleration and deceleration at various points for success in mastering the technical challenges it presented.

The first challenge came after the #5 teeter.  A few dogs took the #16 jump, were called for a flyoff, or took the #11 off-course tunnel after the #6 jump.

Most dogs turned wide after the #8 chute and started heading towards the #4 double jump.  Since there was plenty of distance between the double and the chute, handlers were able to get their dogs to the #9 jump, although some dogs got a refusal at #9 depending on the position of the handler.   Handler position at jump #9 also dictated if the dog ran by the #10 jump or not.  If handlers were between the chute and the jump, most of their dogs refused the #10 jump and headed straight for the #11 tunnel.  Handlers that pushed their dogs to jump #10 had greater success in this area of the course.

There were a few off courses between jumps #13 and #14.  Some dogs went between the two jumps if the handler was too far behind #13.

Every handler was focused on their position after the #15 weaves to the #16 jump.  On the course map, Jump #16 appeared to be challenging, but this sequence didn't pose any real problems for the dogs or their handlers.

Only a few dogs took the wrong end of the #17 tunnel.  More problems than expected occurred from jump #18 to the #19 A-frame.    There were several dogs that back-jumped #18 on their way to the A-frame.  

Each jump height had their share of down A-frame and dogwalk contact calls, teeter flyoffs, and popping out of the weaves while pushing to get to the next obstacle.  
The difference between placements depended on how tight the dogs' lines were between obstacles #6 through #10 and #18 and #19.

Each and every performance was spectacular to watch, with the slowest of all winning times just slightly over 34 seconds!

Congratulations to every finalist and winner.  We look forward to seeing you in Denver next year!

Annie DeChance lives in Phoenix, Arizona and has competed with mixed breed dogs adopted from local shelters for the last 15 years.


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