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Agility Handling Systems

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I don't know what you guys are used to if you think European courses are tight. UK courses often used to be tight but we now have increased min / max distances between obstacles of 5-10m. FCI are 5-7m. Makes quite a difference.

 

I don't get on well with too much technical terminology. Keep the flow going, keep connection with your dog and indicate the line it is to take, encourage working on away from the handler when needed. That's about it really as far as basic principles are concerned whatever the system is called.

 

It's a far cry from the days of run and point and always use the arm nearest the dog as it was when I started.

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I started competing in 2015 and started training early in 2014 and while, yeah, there have been SOME changes, there have been very few outside of the games classes and even those have been things like consolidating the hoopers classes. The only other substantial things I can think of have been that champs had hoops on barrels (not really a thing in regular trials) and some recalculation in YPS requirements (they are very slightly lower) and the allowance of dogs to be entered as vets in non-jumping classes and to receive more time there, and different requirements for Champs. Oh, and they'll VERY occasionally be a course where they tell you which direction to take a barrel.

 

Otherwise the big changes were much earlier - not table, teeter, or tire (or chute which is now gone from other venues), hoops and barrels are things. No backsides/dog always takes the jump from the direction they are traveling (so no go around to the back). How many hoops depends to some degree, because hoops CAN be substituted for jumps in a regular course, but that's not a change either - it's always been a possibility. Barrels are getting more use, I think. Oh and sometimes the course will do a 180 turn back onto the course via a hoop or jump or something which I don't recall happening before with anything but a barrel.

 


Regular agility is still contacts, tunnels, jumps, weaves (with barrels and hoops). Chances is weird, some of the games are very... unique, but I don't think there's been many changes to them overall, either, except again in SCTs (which was little), and maybe in things I don't run like hoopers and barrelers.

Or maybe I just haven't noticed. What kind of changes have you seen?

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Or maybe I just haven't noticed. What kind of changes have you seen?

 

There were no barrels last time I competed in NADAC, my first year or two competing you rarely saw hoops in regular agility, but they were becoming more and more common. The extreme games were just really getting going and were not offered regularly, but the influence was starting to be seen. Sharon Nelson had a very clear agenda for what she saw agility as, AKC, FCI, KC agility are very different beasts as they are run by committees and change is slow, that version of agility has evolved through course design rather than rule changes. NADAC at the time being owned and ran by one person she could change it to suit what she saw as right and for a period of time there were continuous minor rule changes.

To be honest I think NADAC is a love it or hate it organization, I only competed in NADAC as starting out it was the only organization that had a good number of trials locally that was not AKC, then a new indoor soccer facility opened and USDAA arrived, at the time I had no clue how different it was. I only continued to compete in NADAC as I liked the people who put on the trials and enjoyed the atmosphere, but I hated the courses. The only thing I miss is tunnelers which is a blast and maybe one of the funnest things you can play.

It is also a great venue for a dog starting out as you can train in the ring, but with the style of courses diverging that is probably harder to take advantage of. I know with my young dog I would not want to run him on a NADAC style course as it would cause him frustration as his foundation training so far has been geared for a very different style.

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I think barrels were actually introduced in 2013 - so just before I came along. I do remember seeing one the first time and going what do I do with THAT when it was in a course, but being told to treat it like a giant cone resolved it pretty fast.


I absolutely agree that course styles are very different, and that handling is radically different, and it's a love it or hate it thing - and I particularly get frustrated with some of the things Sharon Decides Are Changing (and then usually doesn't and ergo everyone is confused - it's just irritating) - and that it requires it's own stuff. And does NOT require some other things that are necessary in other venues.

 

But it hasn't really changed much in the past few years, which was mostly all I meant. . I've seen even very few minor course *style* variations/changes. In one way it's come back around a little in that the X-games aren't things anymore and Qs have been rolled back into the regular classes they came from. X-hoopers went this year, but the rest were things I never saw, anyway, so I'm not sure when they went but 'before now'.

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Looking at this I don't even see hoops used more often in regular now - That's actually MORE than I see in many regular runs, but not shockingly so, either. Though granted that's 2013, not 2014. I mostly just found it interesting and decided to share.

 

It's still a very different beast, there are still people who love it and people who hate it and it's all valid. It just hasn't gone many radical changes lately. Now, if Sharon would stop tinkering with the minor/administrative stuff .... (Actually she's created a new Thing separate from NADAC that seems to be keeping her happy and busy. I don't remember the name of the thing, but I should probably dig it up so I can know in the future)

 

...actually this did remind me of one major change. There are now markers around the barrels and if you turn wider than that 10 feet marked you get faulted.

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Please ignore the atrocious handling, poorly trained and stressed dog in the video - I knew no better back then it was our first ever trial. What the video does show is that the course looks like any organizations novice/grade 1 class, no hoops, no barrels and the spacing and handling is what you would think of in agility terms as "normal"

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Honestly, and I'm not saying this to be snarky, but because I've been n NADAC too long I consider hoops and jumps as interchangeable for handling/line purposes. And other than the barrel not being out there, and equipment being different I... see no major differences between that and the novice regular runs I did with Molly at the end of last month, though, yes, the obstacle spacing is closer than we use now and a-frame and dog walk seem more narrow.

 

Serps, pinwheels, 180s, discriminations, weaves - one barrel on the course, but there aren't always - and hoops, of course which handle like jumps and a lot of even bigger other venue trainers use to train handling to save wear and tear on the dog, anyway. They could put that out at my next trial with different spacing and I wouldn't think twice about it. Maybe 'where'd the hoops go' since there are usually a few, but replacing them for jumps in handling/the dog? Not really a big deal. They handle the same.

 

- This is Molly's last video. Novice Regular, Jumpers, Novice Regular, Tunnelers.

 

And Molly's first 'real' trial (running novice)

1st run is part of regular, second is regular , 3rd is part of a weavers run, 4th is regular again, the is regular (backwards - though spliced to show the whole course (we missed some stuff), and the last one's tunnelers.


And you will take tunnelers from my cold dead hands. I suck at it but omg it's fun. ;-)

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and to be extra clear - NADAC is weird. It is a lot weird. I just don't think it's changed that much in courses set in relatively recent years.

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Honestly, and I'm not saying this to be snarky, but because I've been n NADAC too long I consider hoops and jumps as interchangeable for handling/line purposes. And other than the barrel not being out there, and equipment being different I... see no major differences between that and the novice regular runs I did with Molly at the end of last month, though, yes, the obstacle spacing is closer than we use now and a-frame and dog walk seem more narrow.

Its good to hear it has stabilized, there was a period where it seemed like there where small rule changes every trail.

 

The obstacles are identical to standard equipment. Nothing has changed there.

 

There are huge differences in running a course with jumps and with the obstacles either being close or wide open like in your courses. In FCI we can face wide open courses, that mix in technical handling, in our local league we get tight and much closer spacing. As a handler you can easily be with your dog when the jumps are close, you can get front crosses in, but with a big dog it can be hard to make the turns. The handling style is very different.

Not having jumps changes the handlers timing, my dog jumped 20" in NADAC, in USDAA 26" and it there was a huge difference handling those courses, in USDAA I could get crosses in, In NADAC I got spins as I was not able to be as clear with my handling.

At the time if I had been committed to NADAC I would have spent a lot more time working on obstacle commitment and driving ahead of me, instead I had a dog who excelled at snooker as he was very responsive to my position and motion (still is, he is a challenge to drive). I regularly train at a lower height than he jumps at, if we can be fluid at a lower height I will have plenty of time at full height.

I have already mentioned last weekends seminar which was conducted by a Spanish World team member, I ran the course with no bars (my big dog has been having a training break and I have to keep how much we work down) and it was huge a challenge, there were some sections that without the bars made it almost impossible for the human and so we put the bars up in those areas and it made things possible, jumps also tighten up the turns, without the bars his turns are much wider as he is running flat out.

 

In my opinion the bottom line NADAC is its on style, specialized handling has evolved to run the courses (some of it transferable) many top trainers are not equipped to help students on NADAC courses, it is outside their comfort zone. The handling styles we started talking about have evolved to run "standard" agility, FCI, KC, AKC, USDAA UKI/UKA etc, most of the handlers that developed those techniques have never run a NADAC course.

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In CPE, I can use OMD style handling in the opening for Snooker. Many of the CPE Snooker courses have become quite tight, and that is a great place for backsides and wraps and staying very close to the equipment.

But that is one division out of seven. I am not shooting for a C-ATCH with Bandit, but I would like for Bandit and I to have the skills to fully enjoy all of the different games together.

 

So . . . . we are going to make that happen!!

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Absolutely, and the reason I said that systems don't work for NADAC was because... they don't work for NADAC, mostly, and I thought it worth mentioning since Kristen had originally mentoned some interest in it and know she's done some foundations work with Amanda Nelson.


My primary point was only that NADAC hasn't changed within itself much in recent years.


However.


NADAC is not, IMO, unrecognizable as agility and not so alien that you are entirely doing different things in NADAC than anywhere else. It is still a front, rear, or blind cross or variations there of. It's still obstacle performance - meaning weaves, starting on the dog's left at 24, hitting contacts, not dropping bars.

 

Not any dog who can do NADAC will be able to do AKC, because of equipment differences and things like treadles, but any dog who has the skills to complete a USDAA, AKC, CPE, course should be able to do a NADAC regular course. There are lots of reasons they may not want to that are very valid, but they are fully in possession of all the skills necessary to do so. Most foundation work includes 'go around the cone' and the barrel is a giant cone. Hoops will change timing and they do not have the same 'pull' for dogs as other obstacles so may require closer handling but getting most dogs to go through them is intuitive - and they do not require specialized handling to effectively handle. There is no distance requirement in regular, the SCT is not as high as it is in speciality classes - even at elite.


Basically, I agree that NADAC is weird and variable and specialized in its own ways, but it's not recently changed much and that it isn't quite *as* weird as you seem to find it, overall. At least not when compared to AKC which is the only other thing I've done rather than watched - on a regular to standard comparison. Compared games, or organizational or administrative things, and it gets much stranger.

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One of the challenges in agility is transitioning between obstacle and handler focus, "city" and "highway driving", etc. Many dogs are stuck in perpetual handler focus, which is an advantage for the tighter, more twisty courses. The NADAC courses are mostly or exclusively obstacle focus, so a dog that is stuck in handler focus won't do well. However, if the dog is trained to seamlessly transition back and forth between obstacle and handler focus, there is no reason why the dog can't be successful in NADAC and in other venues.

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One of the challenges in agility is transitioning between obstacle and handler focus, "city" and "highway driving", etc. Many dogs are stuck in perpetual handler focus, which is an advantage for the tighter, more twisty courses. The NADAC courses are mostly or exclusively obstacle focus, so a dog that is stuck in handler focus won't do well. However, if the dog is trained to seamlessly transition back and forth between obstacle and handler focus, there is no reason why the dog can't be successful in NADAC and in other venues.

 

Yeah, basically, though I wouldn't put Molly on another style course - primarily because she, unlike my other dog, has no teeter and has never seen a spread jump. Tire and table would be fine, she learned those in her early classes. Kylie's okay but I still have, uh, issues in giving AKC my money so I only do demos and mostly JWW with her.

 

But also why I specified regular. Regular SCTs are generous and regular allows 5pt Qs - so you can knock a bar or be up to 5 seconds over time and still get the Q. I have literally WALKED elite regular courses AND had to redo weaves in them ended with a Q. Dogs are more inclined to fly in NADAC because it's so open and you might break some handler focus doing it regularly and I can see how that would be an issue, but you don't need the distance or driving ahead/obstacle focus to succeed there.

 

Games, you need distance and a lot more speed (like a lot of independence to get that speed or my dog and I need it in Elite) and god knows Chances is a... thing unto itself, but. Basically what you said.

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Dogs should be able to drive ahead of their handler and work with lateral distance, and if they can't, its a training issue.

 

Agreed.

 

But that doesn't mean they can't not do it and still do regular in NADAC and Q ;-) Or heck, Q in most venues without it at lower levels, I think. At least from what I've seen of courses and dogs.

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