Thoughts...
          From Anne.
I want to share a video I have of a noteworthy run I had with Charley.  It was an AKC Excellent B standard course designed and judged by Kim Simmons on May 14, 2006 (Mother’s Day). The video will be easier to understand if you click here to take a look at the course first and think about how you would handle it. Click here to watch a video of Charley's 05-14-2006 AKC Excellent Standard run.  You will need Real Player to view the video.
For the opening sequence I decided that it was important for me to handle the A-frame on my right hand to help with the tunnel/A-frame discrimination.  Having him on my right hand would also put me in a good position to wrap Charley after #5 to the left to get him into the #6 tunnel.  Although the #3-4-5 sequence has an arc to the right, I thought I could get ahead of him when he was on the A-frame, but I was wrong.

As I came around on the down side of the A-frame the tunnel opening made me pull slightly to the left.  As Charley came down the A-frame he pulled to the left with me, but I wanted to get the jump to our right and he almost ran into me.  I like this run because I stayed focused on getting that jump and did not give up. A lot of times I see handlers give up before the “writing is on the wall”. He was a good dog, he tried his best to stay away from my feet, and he made the jump. 

It is common in agility, when a close call like that happens and the team succeeds to scrape by without a fault, that the handler lets down slightly and ends up making an easy error soon after having a great save.  Keep your focus, don’t let up.  You want that qualifying run! You can laugh about it later.
Another remarkable part of this course was the ending.  It seemed that a lot of dogs failed on this ending sequence.  Look again at the course map.  The handler is stuck at the end of the #13 dogwalk with the dog on their left.  There is a definite arc from the bottom of the dogwalk, over the triple and to the tire.  To handle this sequence the handlers of most dogs will have to stay with the dog on their left. After jump #16 there is a sharp, 180 degree turn to the left into the chute.  Handlers were having trouble communicating the turn to the chute well.

If the handler crossed between the #14 triple and the #15 tire, the dog turned to the left and went toward the chute without seeing jump #16.  It really is a straight line from the tire to the #16 jump.   A cross behind the dog between #15 and #16 appears to be the best choice, but the execution of the cross – exactly how you do it – was critical.  Just slowing down on the approach to jump #16 was enough to cause some dogs to turn to the chute before taking the #16 jump. If the handler decided to wait on the cross until the dog was clearly committed to #16 the dog went deep into the box and risked taking #3 or the back side of #2.

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I executed my plan for this challenge just as I visualized it.   I felt it was important to get Charley to look at me after the tire.  He didn’t want to, but I did get a glance from him toward me. By getting him to glace at me on his right caused him to change his lead when he turned back to take jump #16.  That turn of his head to me and then away, really made the ending sequence run very smoothly.
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      Thoughts...