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Course Analysis: Performance Grand Prix Finals

Anne DeChance analyzes the PGP finals from the 2011 Cynosport World Games.

The course for the Performance Grand Prix finals on Friday evening was fun, yet challenging, for both the mini and open dogs.  Each jump height had their own unique challenges in different areas of the course.  

The first challenge came at the #4 chute to the #7 teeter.  The majority of dogs had no problem navigating this sequence if their handlers were cueing their dogs for a directional change between Jumps #5 and #6.  One or two dogs ran by either jump #5 or #6 depending on where the handler crossed during this sequence.

A few dogs took the #11 tire after the #8 tunnel instead of the #9 jump.  Only a few dogs did not turn wide as they bolted out of the #8 tunnel.  Most handlers were able to call their dogs off the tire and to the #9 jump and then the #10 weaves.  There were a few missed weave pole entrances depending on the handler's position after #9.  Most handlers were trying to flatten this line as much as possible, but several ended up sending their dogs into the second weave pole by doing this.  This section of the course was more challenging for the open dogs than the mini dogs, mainly due to the difference in stride length.  Only a couple of dogs missed the #12 A-frame/#8 tunnel discrimination.

Jumps #13 through #17 proved to be the most challenging part of the course.  Most dogs (in every jump height) had the greatest success if their handlers were on the inside of jump #15 to turn back to jump #16.  There were several back jumps at #15 if handlers were on the outside of #15, or let up on their directional cues slightly as they hurried to get in position for jumps #16 and #17.

Many handlers did front crosses at the end of the #18 dogwalk to set the dogs up for the last two jumps.  Several of the open dogs knocked the #19 jump bar if handlers did a rear cross directing them to the last #20 jump.

There were a few down A-frame and dogwalk contacts called in all jump heights, teeter flyoffs, and up dogwalk contacts for the Open dogs.

The course was fun to watch and handlers were pushing their dogs to get the most out of the course.  As with any course, handlers who provided the tightest and smoothest lines had the most success and fastest times.

Congratulations to all the Performance Grand Prix finalists and winners.  You all worked hard to reach the finals and every run was exciting and thrilling to watch!

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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