Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some Things Were Meant to Be, I guess

I've had handlers fuss at me for going for a Super Q when I don't need one. Sometimes I go for them because the current leaders huff and puff over my shoulder at the score table. Sometimes I get them on accident. In any case, I told just about everyone in this class what my course was going to be.

This is the Masters Snooker course by Jim Hibbard, at Agility Club of San Diego in June 2009.

What is most noticeable is that two of the reds are also part of a numbered combo. This requires the handler to have to remember to get that jump twice. Trust me, I forgot this when Bug back-jumped one of these.

Anyhow, when I looked at this course map, I liked the flow into the closing from either the #4 or #5 tunnel/jump combo. The other thing I noticed was how vertical the course was. In order the get all four reds with minimum running, the key was to ping-pong the course. For example, an opening of 7 to 6 means you are running without taking obstacles about the width of the ring. That's wasted time. However, a 7 to 5 looks pretty nice, that is, if you want to weave.

I ran both of my dog: the veteran and the baby. I don't want the baby to find back-jumping acceptable. (I'll back-to-back jump the tire in gamblers with the veteran). My course was a simple ping-pong.

The reds are in the corners of the map. I'll address them by their location:
BR - Bottom Right
BL - Bottom Left
TR - Top Right
TL - Top Left

I chose two 5's and two 4's. I knew I had to be careful with the #5 straight tunnel (puppy cannon) because it may lead to an off-course. My alternative course was three 5's and a four. I know that this course is not a whole passel of points. I usually try to stick with fives, sixes, and sevens. However, in this snooker, the dog would have to do a lot of running without the reward of an obstacle.

Points Magic Points
BR + 5 6 3
TR + 5 6 4
BL + 4 5 3
TL + 4 5 3
Opening 22 13
Closing 27 13
Total 49 26

Scout's time: 52.5s, almost double the magic point value. When I estimate what I can get done in the allotted time, I multiply the magic point value by two. My estimate was 52s.

  • I led out, making a front cross half way between the BR and 5a. Dog is on left.
  • I pulled the dog through the two off-course sixes, and over TR red. Dog turned right toward. Front Cross and dog is on right.
  • Completed 5b and 5a. Had dog extend past 5a to get BR red.
  • Front cross at 4b tunnel. Dog still on right.
  • Called dog out of 4b tunnel, over 4a and TR.
  • Left wrap and front cross at TR, and straight shot to 4a and 4b. Dog on Left.
  • Allowed dog to extend out of 4b tunnel and then turn to #2 in the closing. Dog on Left.
  • #3 and #4a were easy. I put in a front cross at 4b so my dog would come out of the tunnel, look for me on the left, and see 5a better. This front cross was KEY. If the handler was on the other side of the tunnel, the dog got a refusal at 5a.
  • In hindsight, I should have front crossed at 5b. I front crossed between 6a and 6b.
  • 6c to 7a to 7b was a straight shot.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I enjoy eavesdropping on handlers' snooker conversations. Take this course, from Tami McClung, at Happy Dog Agility on 05/25/09.

You can see that I was doing some math.

Anyhow, what I kept overhearing was, "You HAVE to do four sevens." All I can say is, "Really?"

Course Times


Course Choices, besides Four 7's
I considered two nice flow courses:
1-4, 1-7, 1-7, 1-7 + closing
1-7, 1-7, 1-4, 1-4.

The first choice involved quite a bit of running to get the last seven. The ones would be taken, essentially, from left to right.

The Math
Scout's "Magic Point" rate in Gambers is 17.5 for 30 seconds. Theoretically, in 50 seconds her magic point count is ( 17.5 mp / 30 sec ) * 50 sec = 29, rounded down. A very fast border collie I know is 22 magic points in 30 sec. This would be 36.7 magic points.

When I plan a snooker course, I subtract two seconds from the course time to account for any extra handling I may need to do. Thus, Scout's new maximum magic point count is (17.5 / 30 )* 48 = 28.

The Closing, as noted on the course map for Scout is 11mp, since I counted the weaves as 2mp. For fast weaving dogs, this closing is 10mp. The seven obstacle is 4 mp, 3 for the obstacles, and 1 for extra distance to complete.

There are four ones on the map. The leftmost will be referred to as L1. The rightmost will be referred to as R1. The bottom, center will be referred to a M1. The one in the center of the page is C1.

Four Sevens Opening
L1 + 7, 6mp
C1 + 7, 5mp
M1 + 7, 5mp
R1 + 7, 9mp (accounting for a LOT of running)
25 Opening Magic Points + 10 closing = 36 magic points. My theoretical very fast BC should be able to finish, barely, assuming NO handler error. I think ONE dog made it with 4 sevens, and it was very close.

Three Sevens, One Four Opening
L1 + 4, 2mp
M1 + 7, 5mp
C1 + 7, 5mp
R1 + 7, 9mp
21 opening magic points + 10 closing = 31 magic points (32 for Scout). Uh-oh. I am going for no more than 28. This course will not work for Scout, aside from Scout's handler not wanting to do all that running on the last seven. This course will, and did, work for a lot of BCs.

Two Sevens, Two Fours Opening
R1 + 7, 5mp
C1 + 7, 5mp
M1 + 4, 2mp
L1 + 4, 2.5mp
14.5 opening magic points + 10 (or 11) closing = 25.5 (or 26.5). Obviously, this course should work for my dog, and it did. The horn sounded as she crossed the finish line. Scout took second to a dog that was able to run the three 7's course above.