Clean Run - June 2011 - (Page 37)

By Dara Tarolli Last month, I told you about my addiction to agility gambling, and my obsession to be in the USDAA Top Ten in Gamblers. While trying to achieve that goal, I have developed some principles that help me. Last month we discussed handling the gamble. Now we’ll talk about choosing a strategy to get the most points possible in the opening. Avoiding Gamble Obstacles During the Opening Period Before my dog was even in Masters, I learned, the hard way, to stay away from gamble obstacles in the opening. In USDAA, the gamble is nullified if any two gamble obstacles are taken during the opening, regardless of the order. I had a wild young dog that liked to take extra obstacles, sometimes ruining our chance at the gamble during the opening. I think it’s generally best to avoid gamble obstacles in the opening even with a more seasoned dog that may accidentally take an extra obstacle if given the opportunity—all it takes to negate a Masters gamble is one paw, or any part of the dog, touching the extra gamble obstacle. Unless your dog has never knocked a bar in his career, you should be very cautious about taking a gamble jump during the opening period. If the bar goes down, you have negated the gamble. Another reason to avoid gamble obstacles during the opening is that you are showing the dog a different pattern than the one he will have to take in the closing. For example, in the gamble, he may have to take the A-frame and go straight ahead to a final jump as shown by the white numbers in Figure 1. Since the dog June 11 | Clean Run 1 3 3 opening sequence. If your goal is to win, however, then you may need to include them for maximum points. Reserving Obstacles for “Loitering” In USDAA, you may do each obstacle successfully twice and only twice. You will be faulted for “loitering” if you just wait for the buzzer while repeating obstacles that you have already done twice for points. This makes it very important in the opening not to “use up” the obstacles nearest to the start of the gamble. As long as you are earning points while you are working near the first gamble obstacle and waiting for the buzzer, it is not faulted as loitering. If your dog does more obstacles than you expected in the opening, you’ll need extra loitering obstacles. Otherwise, you’ll have to go a distance away from where you need to be to start the gamble in order to keep your dog working and avoid a loitering call. The extra distance you now have to travel to start the gamble will make it more difficult for you to finish the gamble in time. I believe that one of the most common oversights among handlers is failing to save these valuable loitering obstacles for when they are needed at the end of the opening period. If you are in the 37 2 2 1 1 Avoid using a gamble obstacle in a pattern that may make completing the gamble more difficult. cannot take any two gamble obstacles in succession under USDAA rules, if the A-frame were the major-point obstacle and you wanted those points in the opening period, you would have to choose a different pattern; for example, you might have the dog do the green numbers in Figure 1 in the opening. By asking the dog to take the A-frame followed by a turn, you might pattern him to turn away from the final jump in the gamble, especially since dogs are naturally drawn to come in closer to you. So if you just need a Q, it is a good idea to exclude gamble obstacles from your

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - June 2011

Clean Run - June 2011
Editorializing: When Did Agility Become About Looks?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Building and Balancing Handler and Obstacle Focus, Part 3
Sharpening Your Snooker Skill: Teach Your Dog to Bypass Obstacles
Lameness in Agility Dogs
Confessions of a Gambling Addict, Part 2: Planning the Opening
AKC’s New Kid on the Block: Time 2 Beat
Challenges for Rising Stars
Intervertebral Disc Disease in the Canine Athlete
Challenges at CR Central
FOCUS and Impulse-control Classes: Week 2
Ready, Set, Trial! Walk, then Run
Tips for Training Running Contacts, Part 1
When is Good Enough Enough?
Agility Bloopers

Clean Run - June 2011