Sunday, August 18, 2013

Playing with a sequence and Non-Traditional Starts

I was involved in a Facebook conversation the other day.  It was prompted by a comment on how people were handling a certain start at the USDAA Rocky Mountain Regionals.  It was not the first time I had seen courses with this kind of a start (similar, not the same) and I decided I wanted to play with it.

I first started to play with this course with a somewhat traditional start.  That is, sit your dog in front of the first jump lead out.  More on that in a minute.

Traditional Start

I ran this sequence with all three dogs, it always gives me a great idea how things are REALLY going to work.

There are a number of ways to run this sequence.  The handling option that people were commenting on was a Lead Out Pivot, pull through the gap of 2-3 and send over 3.  Of the dogs that I watched this didn't work really well.  Most dogs didn't know they were turning back to the handling after 3, and in general the LOP was not very smooth (smooth = dog knows where he is going).

The options that we were discussing were:
1. push to the backside of #2, push to backside of #3, and tuck in for a blind after 3.
2. push to the backside of #2, handler goes in between 2-3 to front cross and send over 3.
3. push to the backside of #2, handler goes in between 2-3 and does a k-turn over 3.
4. Lead Out Pivot, pull through the gap of 2-3 and send over 3.

#1 - This options was amazingly difficult to get to the blind cross in time.  I could do it, but I was living on the edge and the bars were at risk because of the rush.
#2 - This worked fairly well but I felt like I got a fairly wide turn at 3 going to 4.
#3 - This worked the best.  Dogs read it well, I didn't have so much rotation myself, got a tighter turn at 3 and was ahead to handling a turn at 4.

The Traditional Start 
I was messing with this course for a while.  I found that I could get the job done, but I wasn't as far ahead as I wanted to be.  I had to wait to commitment to the backside of 2.  I tried a running start with the dogs and that went a little better.  The momentum helped me get an earlier commitment, but if I cut over too soon Tip would follow and take the front side.  Also, if you dropped your arm, the dog would take the front side.

Bottom frame is the traditional start, top if a running start

Non-Traditional Start
On the map I put a jump on the course before #1.  I started the dogs there with a running start, the landed a little deeper, my motion COMPLETELY supported the backside and I found that I got ahead better to support a push and k-turn.  In filming this with Coach's Eye it wasn't quite as fast but I am confident that I can work the turn over #2 a tad bit more and get things faster.  I would probably opt for this start in a trial because I would spend less time managing commitment points and more time staying ahead.

So, at least for the moment I am in favor of running into a backside, and thinking outside the box to see if a non-traditional start will give me an advantage!

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