Saturday, April 07, 2007

New games in town

I'm in the thick of a full calendar of agility and flyball--so busy doing dog stuff that I don't have time to write about dog stuff. Or maybe I'm just lazy. Anyway I've got more NADAC and USDAA agility trials to choose from than I can possibly afford (especially if I try to run both dogs). In addition, we have more venues in this area: ASCA, which previously was available here when they co-sanctioned NADAC trials; and CPE, which hasn't been available locally before.

I competed in an ASCA trial yesterday--I didn't bother to register with them because I really just felt like running for fun, and they let you play without registering (they just don't track your Qs). It was a lot of fun--they use the old NADAC rules from back when NADAC had a gamblers class and there was no distance challenge in regular (and WITH a teeter, which has now been removed from NADAC courses for "safety review). Lucy and I did very well, Q-ing in 4 of 5 runs (they offered 2 Gamblers, 2 Regular and one Jumpers). But I really felt the lack of fun games--the whole reason I do NADAC is because I love Tunnelers, Weavers and Touch & Go. USDAA offers Standard, Gamblers and Jumpers, and because I'm most serious about pursuing titles in that venue with my agility time and money, I'm not sure how often I will enter ASCA trials. But I want them to succeed and grow simply because I like having agility choices.

Our area's first CPE trial will be held in three weeks on my "home turf" at PBH. I still haven't decided whether I will enter because I've got a lot of USDAA trials coming up, and I think I should save my funds for those entry fees. I may find a way to enter at least one day of CPE, if only to try out some of the wacky games. Last week's run-through at PBH was a CPE "Wild Card" course, and while I thought it was too short (only 14 obstacles), I like agility games that make me strategize and work through a lot of possibilities.

There's also a new NADAC game called "Hoopers," and I was able to see it in action today at a trial. Actually, I could have entered it for only $6, but I didn't want to ask Lucy to do a seventh run when she had done five on Friday plus six today--and I'll need her for six more tomorrow. Also, I didn't think the game looked very exciting at all: the only obstacles are hula hoops clipped to little frames. The bottom of each hoop is no more than two inches off the ground, so the dog doesn't even have to jump to get through them. There are no jump bars to keep up, nothing to climb ... I didn't see what the challenge was. I asked a fellow competitor who is also a NADAC judge, and she said the course is set up in the style of a jumpers course, so it's a handling challenge. In that case, why don't they just spray-paint little white boxes on the ground and say "You must run your dog from box to box in less than XX seconds"? Why make up a bogus little obstacle and call it a new game? Besides, sooner or later some dog is going to trip on one of the little hoops and break a nail, and the next thing you know NADAC will be pulling them for "safety review."

Anyway, I watched others run their dogs on the Hoopers course, and the only handler I saw having any issues at all was a young boy who was running someone else's dog. The dog had decided that she didn't really want to run with him, and kept heading for the exit. So I suggested that to be a true challenge, perhaps we should all be required to run someone else's dog, assigned by random draw. Someone else suggested that we also should not be allowed to know the dog's name, but I think maybe that should only be at the Elite level.

Anyway, if Lucy seems peppy enough by the end of the day tomorrow, I'll enter and try to earn my first Hoopers Q. Because next thing you know the stupid thing will be required for a NATCH, so I may as well start getting it out of the way early ...


Elf said...

I can see that even people who still compete in NADAC have the same cynical view of some of their choices--but it sure makes for some entertaining speculation, as you described here. Thanks for my morning chuckle.

I like CPE for the relaxed, friendly atmosphere and for the variety of classes, from fairly simple and relaxed like Colors (although we have trouble Qing because we can't keep our bars up), to challenges for me to pick the absolutely optimal, highest-possible-point, intense, fast run like Full House--which, at the same time, people with slower dogs or more rational approaches to competition or even a need to work on a specific handling or training issue can also do well on.

Still, like you, I use my weekends and dollars on USDAA given the choice.

-ellen (Taj MuttHall)

Misa said...

Hoopers, eh? I do love NADAC but I'm still thinking I'm not going to do this just yet....thanks for the descriptioon!