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.