AKC Premier Standard Courses by Tim Pinneri and Arlyn Sigeti - Video

01 Jun 2016 Steve Schwarz

This past weekend Smack Dab's Agility Club held an AKC agility trial featuring both Premier Standard and Jumpers classes each day. The judges were Tim Pinneri and Arlyn Sigeti and they both kindly let me share their courses!

I think judges are getting more comfortable with incorporating the Premier challenges into their courses. I thought these courses were good examples in that they definitely had challenges, multiple handling solutions, and sections allowing the dogs to open up.

I was also happy to see the number of competitors in Premier was about double that from the previous trial I attended. I know folks who compete in USDAA and UKI were signed up but also AKC competitors who have instructors who incorporate the challenges in their class work. I'm hopeful that Premier will become even more popular as time goes by. I think the courses are a lot of fun!

Here's Tim's course from Saturday:

Tim Pineri's course diagram

Here's Arlyn's course from Sunday:

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WAO 2016 Relay Small Space Weave Entry/Exit Drills

21 May 2016 Steve Schwarz

I really enjoyed watching some of the world's top teams tackling Portuguese judge Jorge Pires's World Agility Open Team Speedstakes Relay course; especially his very interesting tunnel to weave entrance/exit challenges. I've seen the tunnel to "far end" of the weaves and weaves to "far end" of the tunnel challenges in other courses. But in his course there were two tunnels surrounding the weaves and multiple variations of the "far end" challenge. Here's his course (dimensions in meters):

Here is video on FB of Team USA winning the relay on his course; so much good handling of these challenges (and wonderful dog and handler skills throughout!).

I really liked the challenges and his idea of offsetting the tunnel entrances so one end was past the end of the weaves. That asymmetry meant taking the dog to one end of the tunnel or weaves was more challenging than the other...

So I decided to steal his tunnels/weave setup and create some weave/tunnel entry/exit drills based on it. Here's the setup (dimensions in feet):

Setup diagram with weaves surrounded by two tunnels parallel to the weave poles

Below I've created ten sequences where you can work on On and Off Side Weave Entries, Pushing on the last weave pole, working on either side of the weaves, and all the crosses on both the entry and exit to the weaves. Phew! That's a lot of options!

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Seesaw or Teeter or ?

03 Apr 2016 Steve Schwarz

I was at Canine Sports Zone for their awesome 2016 National Agility Championship fun match and we were watching the AKC event on the live stream and listening to Esteban and Sarah, from Bad Dog Agility, doing their usual excellent job announcing and we noticed they used the word "Seesaw" for this obstacle:

Meeker on the Teeter or is it a Seesaw?

In my part-o-the-woods, Chicagoland, almost everyone I know uses the term "Teeter" and it got me wondering if using these two different words was a regional thing in the USA. So what do you do when you want the definitive answer to a question? You ask on Facebook!

Make It Happen!

Of course nothing is ever as easy as it first seems... I went to surveymonkey and created a three question survey:

  • What country do you live in?
  • What state/province do you live in?
  • What do you call this obstacle?

Within minutes of posting the survey I found out: I had forgotten to add Canadian provinces and, most importantly, I hadn't clarified what I meant by "call"... I was getting people adding responses with the verbal cue they use for the obstacle. So I quickly edited the question and added the Canadian provinces.

Thinking I dodged a bullet, one more hurdle was thrown my way. Surveymonkey has started charging to get the data after the first 100 responses. Sigh. So I paid them a $ 26 monthly fee to "unlock" the first 1,000 results... I guess I'll find a different survey solution next time I want to poll people.

Speak English!

I read comments by one or two UK folk who thought the Americans were "changing English words". I found the description of the origin of both words very interesting:

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Flyer and Steve in the 2016 AKC NAC Finals - Video

22 Mar 2016 Steve Schwarz

Flyer and I ran the AKC National Agility Championship Finals round course clean with a competive time; only we weren't in Tulsa, OK! The great folks at Canine Sports Zone in Middleton, WI had a wonderful idea: for the Saturday and Sunday of the NAC they setup two of the courses run in Tulsa each day and had a fun match! They even gave out cash prizes to the teams who ran all four rounds with the highest score in each height division. To make it even more fun they had a ton of food, a potluck, a raffle with lots of great prizes, and, to top it off, they live streamed the NAC. They also offered Mulligan runs afterwards so you could train your dog(s) or try out other handling ideas. A brilliant and fun idea!

All the courses and the official AKC results are posted AKC NAC Results site. I liked the courses I saw, I heard some folks say they weren't as technical as some previous years, to my eye they had flow and each had a couple interesting technical sections.

In WI they ran the Round 3 Hybrid course and the Finals courses on Sunday, the day we were there. Here's the Hybrid course:

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Give Pills to Dogs Easily

11 Mar 2016 Steve Schwarz

Flyer can be a difficult dog to give pills to; he's a very picky eater and is suspicious of most foods/treats. Wrapping pills in peanut butter, cheese, or his favorite canned dog foods can work but got kind of messy. Nancy came up with an easy solution that is quick and easy. We use it every night to give him his vitamins:

If you have a do who doesn't like taking pills find your dog's favorite food and give this a try!

NDAL 2016 March 50x50 Int'l Course Analysis/Video

06 Mar 2016 Steve Schwarz

Here's the layout and sequence for my March 2016 National Dog Agility League 50 x 50 "International-style" course - this time I've included a video analysis including Flyer and me running the course! Since trainers whose student's compete in NDAL often use the competition course as the basis for their class courses, I also designed eight Starters, Advanced, and Masters Challenge (aka International) style sequences for use in training!

The official NDAL blog post has details on how to join NDAL and run this course with your own club.

Here's the obstacle setup in English and Metric units:

Here's my competition sequence:

NDAL 2016 March 50x50 Official Sequence

Here's a video with my analysis of the challenges in this course including Back Sides [BackSide, ThreadleBackSides, BackSideOneJumpHandling, QuadBackSide], Serpentines [Serpentine, SerpentineHandling], a Two Jump 360, and a Threadle [SingleSidedThreadleHandling, MEBThreadleHandling, Threadle, ThreadleHandling, ThreadleBackSides]:

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Dispel the Dementors

02 Mar 2016 Steve Schwarz

Today's Dog Agility Blog Action Day on the subject of "FUN" got me thinking about what makes training and trialing agility fun for me. For me the most critical thing is the attitude of the people I'm with.

The comments of people on a shares of a course I posted recently on FaceBook should give you an idea of what I look for in people to train/trial with. There were a bunch of people who commented on their friend's shares of the course like this:

Fake Facebook negative comments

The people I love to hang out with were more likely to comment like this:

Fake Facebook positive comments

Which group of people would you rather train with? Which group are you in?

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Starters/Advanced/Masters Challenge Small Space Courses

21 Feb 2016 Steve Schwarz

Here are eight practice courses based on the layout for my March 2016 National Dog Agility League 50 x 50 "International-style" course. I'm not sharing the actual competition course (yet) but, since trainers whose student's compete in NDAL often use the competition course as the basis for their class courses, I came up with some Starters, Advanced, and Masters Challenge (aka International) style sequences for use in training!

Here's the obstacle setup in English and Metric units:

Here are some sequences that would be appropriate for Starters/Novice level teams and can also be divided into smaller sequences to work on individual skills. As usual, adjust obstacle locations for safety and to increase/decrease challenges as appropriate!

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Moving Towards Mastery: 14 Layouts to Challenge Your Handling

16 Feb 2016 Steve Schwarz

As I mentioned in my previous article: "Move Obstacles to Challenge Your Handling", you can take any sequence and move the jumps (along with their numbers) to change the handling challenges. It's still the same sequence but now you've got a new course with new handling challenges!

I think this is such a great way to push your training, especially in a small space, that I spent the past week updating the software on the agilitycourses.com website to automatically create 14 different Jump Box [NewJumpBoxGenerator, DoubleBoxGenerator, StarBoxGenerator, DIYBoxSequences, BoxInCourses, BoxDrills, StarBoxSequences, DoubleBoxSequences, JumpBoxDrillGenerator, Box] layouts for every jump Box sequence!

Imagine you selected the skills you wanted to practice or made up your own sequence and ended up with this Box sequence:

Basic box jump sequence

The obvious challenges are moving the jumps as far apart as your practice space allows and then moving them to minimum jump distances. The website does that for you, it generates the same layouts with larger and minimum spacing between the jumps:

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NDAL Feb 2016 Course With Handling Analysis

02 Feb 2016 Steve Schwarz

As promised here's the competition 2016 February National Dog Agility League 50 x 50 "International-style" course I designed and, since Bud likes competitors to think about the courses before running them, I've included my handling thoughts for the course too! Here are the official course diagrams for all three of this month's NDAL courses .

Since trainers whose student's compete in NDAL use these courses as the basis for their class courses, I came up with 11 additional Starters, Advanced, Masters, and Masters Challenge (aka International) style sequences for your use in training!

Here's the obstacle setup in feet and meters:

Here's the course:

NDAL 2016 February Masters Challenge Course

Handling Thoughts

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