Monday, June 3, 2013

I caved....

I did it. I caved. I have been as anti-barrel as they come (as it pertains to this obstacle appearing in NADAC courses) and today I finally said, "Screw it," and introduced it to the dogs.

Obviously it's not rocket science. My dogs had better darn well know how to go out and around something, but I still figured maybe we should do some official training with it and throw in into our first "sequence."

By the way, isn't our "barrel" pretty? I always knew that stupid wheel-less garbage can the last owners of this house left behind would come in handy after sitting in the garage for five years.

I learned that Family Dog Center had acquired a few sets of barrels while talking to Travis and Laurie at the AKC trial. Well there went the entire basis behind my argument of why we could not see barrels at Champs this year. I thought for certain they would hold out until the last possible minute before purchasing any new required equipment, but no, they went and threw my plan out the window.  ;o)  Laurie doesn't plan on asking for any courses with barrels any time soon, but she figures at least she's prepared now. And apparently they are toying around with offering EGC, which I've always felt would be hugely dangerous on that turf... To me EGC is for dirt and grass, and that's about it.

At the beginning of the year Sharon proclaimed that there would NOT be barrels at the 2013 Championships in Springfield, IL. I probably should have saved that post because I'm just waiting for the announcement that there will be barrels and that nothing of the sort was ever said. Regardless, I've decided to just suck it up and start working this stupid garbage can into our drills now and then.

It's most important for Kaiser to get the knack of them because he's my speed demon and also the only one of my dogs who is 100% attending Championships this year. Thankfully he took to the whole thing faster than either of the other two. The switch turn was a little harder for him, but the odds of seeing something like that are probably slim to none. Thus far the move I've seen used most with barrels at traditional NADAC trials is a silly L-shaped turn that I think is kind of pointless.

To start with I'm working on introducing a nice tight wrap back to me and driving straight on down the line. Secret has the "drive out of the turn" part totally nailed and doesn't even mind pushing the barrel around a bit to do so, but she was a bit slow to turn on to driving INTO the turn. She did get better, though.

Luke has no problem driving into the turn as fast as he can, but then he turns like the Titanic and doesn't give me much of a wrap. lol  He figured it out, but still wants to go wide -- So the L-shaped turns would be right up his alley. Both Secret and Luke did well with the flip/wraps and that's actually when I got the best drives into the turn out of Secret!

I just did all of this while playing fetch with the Chuck-it, which was part of the reason for some of the super wide turns we got -- but also the best method for getting good drive out of the turns. I started with just the "barrel" and added the hoops to try to help them get the idea of a tighter turn. It worked nicely.

I had Kaiser's V-NATCH bar delivered to me at the USDAA trial this weekend because our super awesome bar provider won't be able to make it to the NADAC trial this month. That's not bad luck or anything, right? To get one's bar before the award has been earned?  ;o)  If it helps, I haven't unwrapped the paper off the name/date part because surely THAT would be bad luck. And yes, I said date. Boy, that's not getting cocky, is it? Ha! Kelly did throw an extra six on there in case Kaiser doesn't finish it on the 15th (Saturday). Considering that we have three shots at the one Touch-n-Go Q we need and two shots at the one Tunnelers Q we need, I figure we'd have to have a REALLY BAD WEEKEND to not get it. But hey, he is a Klee Kai... So you just never know.

One of these days I should send in Kaiser's Champs entries and make it official. Then I can continue to waffle over what to do about the other two.


  1. Damn barrel. I'm going to have to convince myself to practice Vito driving to it from the dogwalk as I know the MAC trial in July is having barrels and from what I've seen they're also very likely to be after dogwalks. I've also seen someone post that they even crawled into a tunnelers course...

    1. That's where I've seen them too (in videos): dogwalk, wrap a barrel, back to the tunnel under the dogwalk.

  2. My dogs have only seen barrels at funraisers. They had to learn it right there in the ring during actual competition. Went ok. They seem to "get it" so I guess when they show up at champs we'll be ok. You know there is lots of time for sharon to change her mind. She'll probably change it halfway through champs!

  3. Do you do the Dog Agility Blog Action Day thing? It is tomorrow and the topic is "Improving Agility Organizations." I immediately thought about NADAC... I basically feel the same way you do about a lot of this stuff... Ugh. :)
    I will not be surprised if there are barrels at Champs.

  4. If NADAC keeps it up, soon it will just be running your dog on a painted line on the ground. My wife has recently gotten back into doing some NADAC and they were talking about how curved tunnels are kind of dangerous so they may use more barrels instead of tunnels in some courses. Sheesh!

    1. Agreed. I like NADAC. My dogs like NADAC. Bit at some point it's just handling, or obedience at a distance. Not agility.

  5. I do participate in the blog action day events (well, usually...) and I have so much swimming around in my head for this one that I have no idea how to put it together into a coherent post!! lol And yes, it would largely focus around the cluster#*(^@ that is NADAC these days.

    Greg, that is how barrels have made their way in to regular trials -- because apparently now tunnels with anything less than a very slight curve are "dangerous" and dogs are falling in them. That way "the dog gets to choose their own path" and it will be much safer. Blah, blah, blah. But as I mentioned, I'm very concerned about running around barrels on certain surfaces because I can see a lot of slipping and pulled muscles coming from it.

    When hoops were introduced Sharon said that they would not be used in Tunnelers because Tunnelers would never have anything but Tunnels. That was the original statement with the barrels, but I, too, have heard of a barrel sneaking into a few Tunnelers courses.

    As soon as EGC was introduced I said just wait, that will be the future of NADAC -- but oh no, Sharon said it was it's own thing; totally separate. Well, then points were combined. And now EGC classes are being offered amongst the normal classes at a NADAC trial (up to EIGHT runs per day now!). We are seeing fewer and fewer jumps. Give it five years and they'll be gone completely, I bet. We'll have to see what happens to contacts and weaves.

    If that's where Sharon wants to take NADAC that's fine -- but at some point she needs to stop calling it "agility."

  6. Weaves are dangerous - they stress the back and you can jam a shoulder or hip on them so they should be removed, or maybe NADAC will invent 36" weave spacing so those can be safe. Actually maybe just 12 small barrels in a row they can go in and out of!

    I actually started in NADAC and did it long enough to get Skye into Elite but then then there were just too many changes going on and I havent been back to it since 2008. I think it had been almost 4 years since my wife did it, and she & her dog Baby actually won the 16" division at Champs one year, and came in 2nd I think twice, so she was a big NADAC person until so many changes happened. She decided to do some again for her dog Ice who doesnt like tight twisty courses so much.

  7. Well, there was that period of time where hoop weaves were in fashion -- at least in the Hoopers courses. Hoops are 36" wide, so there you go. ;o) Luke LOVED hoop weaves. I never could get Kaiser to do them...

    Now we see Hoopers once in a blue moon and it's usually the numbered variety. I haven't seen hoop weaves for probably a couple of years. Probably since Sharon decided that in order to have proper "hoop weaves" they had to be built on a base so that the dogs weren't "jumping" over the PVC hoop bottoms.

    NADAC is it's own flavor. Kaiser just shines on NADAC courses, which is why I continue to do it -- despite the fact that I don't really feel challenged in the least by the course design lately (but wasn't it about a year ago that Sharon said she felt "saddened" that there were people who felt the course should challenge them, and that we should all be able to step to the line and challenge ourselves every time even if we are running the same course for the 10th time?). Yes, really.

    And if it was just what it was it would be one thing -- but some of the stuff that comes out of Sharon's mouth as justification for the changes she makes just makes me want to pull my hair out. Or that the fact that International agility is "boring" to watch because everyone uses the same handling moves and comes within 0.05 seconds of each other... Oh yeah, well I think watching people do nothing but rear crosses all day is pretty darn exciting, too...

    I do think being able to successfully run NADAC is part of being an all-around handler, though. It says something if your dog(s) can be successful in multiple venues, especially one with a skill set so different from the others like NADAC.

  8. Speaking of rear crosses being so prevalent in NADAC - I can't do a rear cross in AKC anymore because Porter takes it as a sign to send out to the farthest obstacle on that part of the course... I have been screwed by that numerous times. But it helps me get the Chances! :)