Posted Date: November 2, 2007
The big, bad long jump. By Anne Douglas and Leona Hellesvig
In yesterday's Team Jumpers course, there were many hazards to be negotiated. In the opening, the angle of jump #2 was a issue for some, with a few knocked bars. Many dogs took down the bar at jump #4 as dogs focused on their handlers moving to direct their dogs over jump #4. Some handlers were able to do a lead out in this opening section, but much success could be found running with your dog on the left side, and using a "get out" command. Surprisingly, few dogs took a bar on the spread jump #4. Several handlers pulled their dogs off of jump #7 by prematurely moving their body position towards jump #8 before the dog had fully committed to jump #8. Usually the result was a refusal, though some ran around and back-jumped the jump in the incorrect direction.
The long jump proved to be an issue for many dogs in the 22" and 26" jump heights. Dog after dog jumped this jump diagonally through the entrance poles, exiting to the left side. From the dog's view at that jump, the longer length of the long jump made the tunnel very visible between the entrance and exit poles. When the jump was shorter for the lower jump heights, this visual issue was not as obvious.
In some cases, the handler movement away from the tunnel exit and toward jump #13 was a contributing factor. Because many handlers were hanging back heading from long jump #11 to tunnel #12 because they wanted to make a front cross between jump #13 and jump #14, their dogs were looking at them because of the deceleration. As a result, many sliced the corner of the broad jump rather than taking the whole jump. Before handlers could call their large-striding dogs back and re-jump for a 2-point refusal, the dogs were in the tunnel, earning an elimination.
The next major hazard was the section through jump #13-#14 and weaves #15. Most handlers avoided the hazards of a wrong course here by simply using forward motion and angle-jumping #4/14/18. The off course potential from jump #18 to #3 was not a major factor for most handlers who completed the course in fine style.
After watching several top 26-inch dogs run before her, Jen Pinder of Lapeer, Michigan, decided to run her Border Collie, Soda, differently from how she walked the course. "It was a wonderful course, but the broad jump to tunnel was the great equalizer," says Pinder. "I had to change my strategy and build everything around the broad jump."
Instead of hanging back to be able to make the front cross, Pinder stayed with her dog beside the broad jump and drove Soda straight over the jump and into the tunnel. Because she was out of position for the front cross she had planned when she walked the course, Pinder opted for a rear cross between #13 and #14 instead.
For small dogs, the course didn't have the same issues. Dana Pike of Chicago, Illinois, and her mixed breed, Tangle, ran clean and came third in the 12-inch division. "We didn't have the same problems as the big dogs, but we still did have to drive the dogs straight over the broad jump. But with small dogs, we still had time to get in position for the front cross."
Anne Douglas is the editor of DogSport Magazine (www.dogsportmagazine.com) and can be reached at email@example.com.