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COURSE ANALYSIS: European Standard

Carol Voelker provides an analysis of yesterday's course.

It was a beautiful day Wednesday in Scottsdale, Arizona for the opening day of the USDAA Cynosport Sport Games.  The Competitors were ready to start early in the day; there was quite a line of vans waiting to get by at 9:40am!

The first course for event was the European Standard designed by European judge Gert Siekmans. 

It was a very fast looking course, with lots of straight lines and plenty of challenges.  It started out with a jump to the dogwalk,then a pull to the right over the next jump #3 to a 180 to the left for #4 and then a pull off the dogwalk to get the A-frame #5.  This combination was interesting for those dogs that have a running dogwalk. One competitor commented, "Glad I taught my dog to stop on the dogwalk!" 

Straight off the A-frame was a tunnel to a jump #7 that was also a straight line from the tunnel. Many people worried about getting the #7 jump.   From there, #8 to the long jump #10, was another straight line, then a right turn after the long jump to the teeter. Before the class began, Judge Siekmans said he felt that this portion of the course would cause the most problems. If the handler pushed just a little too hard or doesn't signal the turn, the dog will focus on the dogwalk and go off course. 

After the teeter, the dog needed to pass the A-frame and get into the chute (which happened to be in the middle of the course, making the chute straightener's job really interesting) and a turn to the left for jump #13 (don't take the tunnel #19!) and then a turn to the right for #14. 

The section from the weaves (#15) to jump #17 was fairly straightforward, then #18 was a pull into the far end of
the tunnel (and again, don't take #19 on the way there).  When the dog came out the tunnel it was a straight line of three jumps out. This was a very fun warm-up course for this event.

Many dogs went off course in a few places.  Many took the dogwalk after jump #4, and that jump #7 was a huge problem, especially for the big dogs.  If the handler was behind the dog on the left side of the tunnel, and was unable to tell the dog to go on ahead, many dogs were turning left and going over jump #19.

If the handler choose to be on the right side of the tunnel, some dogs were pulling in and than taking #7 backwards, Or the handler would try to signal a push out and the dogs would turn left and take jump #19.  The other big spot on this course in Ring #2 was after the chute.  Many dogs came out of that chute and only saw the tunnel #18 right in front of them. It was way too tempting to pass up!

There were many happy handlers leaving this course. A wonderful course, beautiful weather... it was a great start to this event!

Carol Voelker is a USDAA judge and judged at this event in 2005, 2006, and 2008.  She has a small training school in Central Minnesota called Tails In Motion. In her spare time she is a substitute teacher for kindergarten through 12th grade in the local school districts.


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