NADAC Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Kyle on February 20, 2018, 09:41:05 AM

Title: Distance Challenges
Post by: Kyle on February 20, 2018, 09:41:05 AM
I'd like to try and qualify my "young" dog for Starter Stakes at Champs this year so I'm wanting to try the Distance Challenge lines/boxes. The last two that I have encountered have both had parts of the course that would be a true challenge for a Silver or Super Stakes dog. The most recent course we had, "Latigo", was great for the "forward" version of the course (had a strip going horizontally across the middle of the course) but was (in my opinion) *much* too challenging on the "reverse" version where the line only allowed about 1/4 of the course on one side and the hardest portion had the A frame and a tunnel in between you and the dog's path about 30 feet away. This wouldn't be a "normal" challenge we'd see for Novice or Open Chances nor would it be a "normal" challenge we'd see for Starter Stakes.

I do remember when the Distance Challenges were first put into place, they were very fair for a Starter dog and handler. Where I live, we saw *lots* of people giving them a try. They loved the opportunity and (I think) were pleasantly surprised at how well they and their dogs could do! It was fun to have people get a nice first step into Bonus work - a step that was doable but still a challenge *for that level*. Since they've gotten much more difficult, people don't even consider trying them any more. This is a very sad thing for me to realize as I love the Bonus program and would like to see it grow rather than shrink.

So, at this point, I'm wondering what the criteria is for the design of a Distance Challenge so I might better prepare for it? I do realize that not all courses lend themselves to a Distance Challenge but I would think many more would than for a Bonus box - so please give us more!  ;D I don't know who is designing the courses and setting the lines/boxes, but my suggestion might be to keep the Distance Challenges towards the middle-ish of the course, either in a (larger size) box, strip or line and be cautious of what might have to be layered when handling.

Many thanks for listening and I'm looking forward to lots more Distance Challenges!

-Kyle
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Cathie Cage on February 20, 2018, 02:45:55 PM
I agree with you Kyle!! I have noticed that also, I always loved bonus lines but with the course sets that I have encountered lately with the new course designs have taken a back seat for me. I will still work my distance with Coleby but won't be doing bonuses anymore.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Linda W. Anderson on February 20, 2018, 03:05:34 PM
I agree with Kyle and Cathie.  I am concerned that anyone who "might" want to get into Stakes will be discouraged by the new course designs.
Linda
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 20, 2018, 03:47:58 PM
So I am going to jump into this conversation.

Distance challenges and bonuses are determined by each course individually. Where the boxes or lines are placed depend on the courses design, handler position, distance challenge, and directional challenges, some courses meet this requirements and some do not. Some courses will have bonuses and no distance challenge, and some may only have a distance challenge.

I would like to talk about the course that Kyle is referencing. The distance challenge line on the Regular version of that course was a vertical line that ran through the entire course. The furthest obstacle away was 40 feet, with that in mind, most Elite Chances course range from 20-30 feet from the line to the furthest obstacle.  If you go back and look at last years Championship courses, the Starter stakes line was an average of 40 feet from the furthest obstacle, and sometimes that line was as much as 60 feet.  So I do not feel that the distance challenge on that course was unfair to starter stakes level dogs.

And I would also like to give my opinion on bonuses and distance challenges in general. Bonuses and Distance Challenges are something that is not going to be for every dog, and I like think of them as their own level and something I work towards once I have achieved my goals in Elite. (NATCHes, Speed Stars, whatever they may be)

So yes, they are going to be hard, and no, in my opinion they should not be something that every dog at the trial will earn. But I will say that I have changed the boxes and the lines A LOT from what they were in previous years, they are bigger, more lines, and less distance between handler and dog. Yes, each course will vary a little, But I have been working towards making sure boxes are bigger and give the handlers more “room”.

And with the larger lines/boxes and the “new” courses (And I will say that term bugs me a little bit) I have had more bonus submissions in the last couple of months, then almost all of last year.

Those are my .02 and some facts. I shall be ready with my flame suit.

-Amanda
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Title: Distance Challenges
Post by: support on February 20, 2018, 03:48:10 PM
I’m a little discouraged to be honest by this whole thread.   The bonuses have come down in difficulty in a huge way.

Chris


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Kyle on February 20, 2018, 04:48:06 PM
I think some folks may have misunderstood what I was talking about and I am sorry about that! I am not talking about the 20-30 point Bonuses, I am *only* talking about the 15-20 point Distance Challenges. I have been really happy - SUPER DUPER HAPPY - about all the Bonuses I've been seeing and feel that their placement and size are just fine. I have no problem with them!  I'm just asking that perhaps some of the Distance Challenges need a second look. That's all.

The "Latigo" course on the reversal - yes, the line goes all the way up and down the ring but, no handler would *go* where I think you're talking about Amanda.  :) There were 3 of us (Bonus type people) who chatted about it and we all agreed that for a dog and handler team starting distance work, that line just didn't work for that course. (Just FYI - those two Bonus folks did try the Bonus box on that course.  ;D)

Honestly, I don't know about the whole "new" courses idea, I'm not seeing "new", so please don't think that's where I am coming from.  I certainly did not want this to be a beat down on the Bonus courses, it was absolutely not my intent. My Bonus dog is permanently retired from agility and I really want my young dog to hurry up and get ready to do them!  ;D One good way to do that is through Distance Challenges and I was kind of hoping that my input might help.

Thanks,
Kyle
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 20, 2018, 05:04:24 PM
I am talking about the Distance Challenges as well and I don’t feel that they are beyond the scope of a Stater Stakes level dog. As I said above, the Championships lines for Starter Stakes averaged around 40-50 feet, which is what the Distance Challenge lines on weekends are now. (And yes, there will be some courses where they are further, depending on the course)  I would be very hard pressed to make the Distance Challenge lines easier. Again, I view the Stakes program (Bonus and Distance Challenge lines/boxes) as another level after Elite, and I think moving the distance challenge lines even closer than 40 feet is basically making them a glorified Chances line and I don’t feel that is a direction Chris and I want to go.
Amanda 


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Marj Vincent on February 20, 2018, 05:25:27 PM
  I judged courses this past weekend that had many Distance Challenges and Bonus boxes on the course and the DC were about 45' from the farthest obstacle. I found the boxes to be more central on the courses, huge and very doable IF you had the right skills. And I am not talking about just lateral 45' distance skills. A bonus/DC dog has to have many more skills in their tool box then the average 20' distance handler. I had many people attempted the Bonus/DC boxes at the trial, not all were successful. But I saw way more people trying them then ever before. People that are not trying to get into the Stakes at Champs. They just wanted the challenge. 

I did observe that if a barrel was required at a distance, handlers will not even attempt the boxes.  I asked them why. And they said,  they haven't trained the skills required to perform a barrel at a distance or they didn't trust their dog to do them correctly (it's all about the Q sometimes). But it was never thought of undoable, just something that was not in their dog's skill set.

 

   
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Kyle on February 20, 2018, 05:35:30 PM
The distance away from the dog wasn't my concern on this course. It was the dog not being able to see the handler on what we considered the hardest part of the course due to the layering of the A frame/tunnel, that was the issue. Once again - pure distance isn't my hang up for starter dogs, it's what they are required to do.  ;D

Thanks,
Kyle
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 20, 2018, 05:38:48 PM
Sometimes that will be part of the test :-)  Some dogs excel on those types of courses (handler not being as visual) because they have stronger verbals, and other dogs will not. I have one of each, so i choose courses/lines that will work best for each one. 
Amanda


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: JimmyS. on February 20, 2018, 06:01:32 PM
From the very beginning I was always taught that some courses just weren’t gonna be a course for you and/or your dog, ESPECIALLY when talking about Bonus’/ Distance Challenges. It kind of goes along with the old saying of “you win some you loose some”

I can completely see the layering of the A-frame/tunnel being difficult for a younger dog on Round 2 with the horizontal line, but I do not see the issue with Round 1 that has the vertical line. It gives you all the freedom to get up and help them on the other side of that A-Frame/Tunnel.


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: LFuller on February 21, 2018, 07:22:29 PM
I have been an active proponent of the bonus program for a decade.  It all started at my first Champs in 2008 when I saw all the amazing handlers and their dogs working from such incredible distances.  I remember thinking to myself . . . I REALLY, REALLY want to be able to do that.  I was hooked! Ten years later and three wonderful distance partners and that feeling hasn’t changed.  I still love it and I want the people that I work with to feel that same excitement that comes with giving a bonus attempt a try.

I have been in sports all my life and I love NADAC and the sport of agility and the bonus program.  I am concerned, however, with the lack of new, excited people stepping into our bonus/distance program. Where are these new people?  In my area alone, I would hope to see at least a half a dozen new Starterstakes teams each year. Unfortunately, that’s not at all what I am seeing.  Amanda, I know that you have looked at the bonus program and have tried to increase bonus area sizes, change locations, and add more distance lines in the hope of encouraging more participation at all levels. I certainly believe that this helps, but, my concern is that I think we are missing a “place” for the Starterstakes team.  There is an area between the Elite Chances line and the Distance Challenge line that would fit them. The area would be hard enough to present a challenge, yet a team could be successful if they had solid skills and proper timing.  A beginning team needs a chance to succeed. As it is set up right now, I don’t think there is that chance. I don’t believe that a beginning Starterstakes dog and a Silverstakes dog have the same skills to operate from the same location as is currently required. Like the Chances class, there is a progression of distance needed to move from Novice to Open to Elite.  Why not have a progression of distance and area size to move from Starterstakes to Silverstakes, to Superstakes?

I’d love to see trials that are crowded with people excited about taking a shot at a course from an area where they will definitely be challenged and will need to have it all together to succeed.  I think a scenario like this could happen.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Linda W. Anderson on February 21, 2018, 07:53:38 PM
I have been an active proponent of the bonus program for a decade.  It all started at my first Champs in 2008 when I saw all the amazing handlers and their dogs working from such incredible distances.  I remember thinking to myself . . . I REALLY, REALLY want to be able to do that.  I was hooked! Ten years later and three wonderful distance partners and that feeling hasn’t changed.  I still love it and I want the people that I work with to feel that same excitement that comes with giving a bonus attempt a try.

I have been in sports all my life and I love NADAC and the sport of agility and the bonus program.  I am concerned, however, with the lack of new, excited people stepping into our bonus/distance program. Where are these new people?  In my area alone, I would hope to see at least a half a dozen new Starterstakes teams each year. Unfortunately, that’s not at all what I am seeing.  Amanda, I know that you have looked at the bonus program and have tried to increase bonus area sizes, change locations, and add more distance lines in the hope of encouraging more participation at all levels. I certainly believe that this helps, but, my concern is that I think we are missing a “place” for the Starterstakes team.  There is an area between the Elite Chances line and the Distance Challenge line that would fit them. The area would be hard enough to present a challenge, yet a team could be successful if they had solid skills and proper timing.  A beginning team needs a chance to succeed. As it is set up right now, I don’t think there is that chance. I don’t believe that a beginning Starterstakes dog and a Silverstakes dog have the same skills to operate from the same location as is currently required. Like the Chances class, there is a progression of distance needed to move from Novice to Open to Elite.  Why not have a progression of distance and area size to move from Starterstakes to Silverstakes, to Superstakes?

I’d love to see trials that are crowded with people excited about taking a shot at a course from an area where they will definitely be challenged and will need to have it all together to succeed.  I think a scenario like this could happen.
I love your thinking, Linda.  2009 was my first Champs and my first exposure to Stakes.  Zia was already great at Chances, so I tried my first bonus and was successful!  At that point I was hooked.  Had I failed, I might not have continued.  That's why I love your idea of progression.  While the Distance Challenge lines/boxes are easier than Bonus Boxes, they are still considerably harder than Elite Chances.  Perhaps there could be several "challenge" areas within the Regular course similar to the ones on the Champs courses rather than having most of the course "off limits".   We need to help anyone who shows interest Stakes be successful.
Linda
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Chris Nelson on February 21, 2018, 08:42:58 PM
I guess I really only have one question.

Why do the boxes and lines need to be so much easier in 2018 then they were ten years ago?
We are supposed to be improving, or at the very least staying the same in our skill levels.

Why has the bonus program gotten to the point where in order for people to be successful it needs to be set at a distance comparable to a hard elite chances line?

I think the problem lies elsewhere personally.   I am not fully accepting that in order to get people into the program we have to make it easier then it's ever been.   

Bonuses are essentially a entire level above Elite.   I would absolutely love for there to be a rule that you cannot even attempt a 'bonus anything' until you have a superior title on your dog in that class.   Because doing bonuses is not a given right for every dog.    It's something exponentially harder than running a normal Elite level course and something that is earned.       It is not something you can just go out and do because you want some distance with your dog.

So why are we trying to make it like that.    If it's just going to be a glorified chances course, which is what everyone is proposing.   30 feet is just a hard chances line.  then just dump the bonus program and give them a chance at some extra points by running at a distance.  But remove the special awards, remove the special divisions at champs.      Remove everything that is making people do it for the wrong reasons.

Go back to the basics and stop giving out awards and titles for a skill that started out PURELY by elite level handlers who were bored running elite level courses and wanted an EXTRA challenge.    And were more than happy to fail 90% of the time because failing but being challenged was better than succeeding but being bored.

If everyone wants the lines to go back to where they were at the very inception of the bonus program, then great.   But so will the titling program for bonuses, which is to say there wasn't one.   

Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: LFuller on February 21, 2018, 09:23:17 PM
Oh, Chris . . .
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 21, 2018, 09:28:50 PM
I will say that I agree wholeheartedly with Chris, he put into words what I've been trying to get typed up for the last hour.  :-)
Amanda


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: dogrsqr on February 22, 2018, 06:44:52 AM

So why are we trying to make it like that.    If it's just going to be a glorified chances course, which is what everyone is proposing.   30 feet is just a hard chances line.  then just dump the bonus program and give them a chance at some extra points by running at a distance.  But remove the special awards, remove the special divisions at champs.      Remove everything that is making people do it for the wrong reasons.

Go back to the basics and stop giving out awards and titles for a skill that started out PURELY by elite level handlers who were bored running elite level courses and wanted an EXTRA challenge.    And were more than happy to fail 90% of the time because failing but being challenged was better than succeeding but being bored.

 

Those elite handlers who wanted an extra challenge could have given themselves the extra challenge without the bonus program as well.  Everyone wants validation.  Its human nature.  As soon as you add titles you are going to get interest from people who otherwise wouldn't have been interested.  Its human nature.

I don't know what kind of training opportunities there are in other places but I know in the Midwest there are really no opportunities, other than seminars, to train bonus distance and skills.  We are lucky if we can find training for Elite Chances distances and skills.  We rarely have anyone attempt a bonus.

I personally don't want to throw stuff at my dog at a trial that we haven't been able to train for.  If the bonus concept was something that was important to me I guess at trials I would just choose a line/box that I thought we could attempt and continue to push distance as we were successful.  Yes, I would be handling at a distance and not get any "extra credit" for it, but it would be working towards that final goal.  No one is preventing anyone from setting their own goals.

I do think the bonus runs at regular trials are harder than Stakes from the perspective that the line/box is typically behind the start/finish line.  I think I understand that this a result of trying to get the required distance on a regular size course, but in my opinion it does present some different challenges.

Gina

Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Chris Nelson on February 22, 2018, 06:49:50 AM
Just so we’re clear,  I’m not trying to make threats here.  Just proposing a solution.

If the general consensus is that the bonuses need to be drastically less challenging then that can happen.   But the decreased challenge that the bonuses used to have also came with a decreased reward.

We never used to have 30 point bonuses.
We didn’t have as many awards.
So I do think a decrease in difficulty would need to reflect those.




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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 22, 2018, 06:52:11 AM

So why are we trying to make it like that.    If it's just going to be a glorified chances course, which is what everyone is proposing.   30 feet is just a hard chances line.  then just dump the bonus program and give them a chance at some extra points by running at a distance.  But remove the special awards, remove the special divisions at champs.      Remove everything that is making people do it for the wrong reasons.

Go back to the basics and stop giving out awards and titles for a skill that started out PURELY by elite level handlers who were bored running elite level courses and wanted an EXTRA challenge.    And were more than happy to fail 90% of the time because failing but being challenged was better than succeeding but being bored.

 

Those elite handlers who wanted an extra challenge could have given themselves the extra challenge without the bonus program as well.  Everyone wants validation.  Its human nature.  As soon as you add titles you are going to get interest from people who otherwise wouldn't have been interested.  Its human nature.

I don't know what kind of training opportunities there are in other places but I know in the Midwest there are really no opportunities, other than seminars, to train bonus distance and skills.  We are lucky if we can find training for Elite Chances distances and skills.  We rarely have anyone attempt a bonus.

I personally don't want to throw stuff at my dog at a trial that we haven't been able to train for.  If the bonus concept was something that was important to me I guess at trials I would just choose a line/box that I thought we could attempt and continue to push distance as we were successful.  Yes, I would be handling at a distance and not get any "extra credit" for it, but it would be working towards that final goal.  No one is preventing anyone from setting their own goals.

I do think the bonus runs at regular trials are harder than Stakes from the perspective that the line/box is typically behind the start/finish line.  I think I understand that this a result of trying to get the required distance on a regular size course, but in my opinion it does present some different challenges.

Gina

You make some excellent points Gina!!

In regards to placement of the bonus boxes and distance challenges, they have been getting moved further "into" the course so that they are not always behind the first jump as they have been in years past.   And the distance challenges are even closer yet, each course will vary, but I'm trying very hard to get away from the "box is always behind jump #1"  :-)

Amanda




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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Janice_Shavor on February 22, 2018, 06:53:07 AM
A Perspective from someone who has never even attempted a bonus box/line or a distance challenge:

Bella now has her Elite All Around award, all her NATCH-2 titles which include 2 15 point hoopers Qs.  Now I am looking at the distance lines and bonus boxes.  All the ones I have seen at trials feel far beyond our current skills. 

And make no mistake, I infinitely prefer the bonus / distance challenge to other agility venues which just make it too difficult for  the weekend enthusiasts.

So, what are the skills for bonus boxes / distance challenges?  The first one I noticed was being able to send your dog the length of the course while only being able to go maybe 30 feet deep.  Gotta have weaves coming at you.  I believe Chris and Amanda when they talk about requirements for putting a box / line on a course.  Could those requirements and team skills be discussed on the Training topics and pinned to the top? 

I am still considering what do I need and how do I train that.  Once we start attempting the lines, then I don't care about the Q.  This challenge will be sufficient to keep us running.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 22, 2018, 06:55:17 AM
A Perspective from someone who has never even attempted a bonus box/line or a distance challenge:

Bella now has her Elite All Around award, all her NATCH-2 titles which include 2 15 point hoopers Qs.  Now I am looking at the distance lines and bonus boxes.  All the ones I have seen at trials feel far beyond our current skills. 

And make no mistake, I infinitely prefer the bonus / distance challenge to other agility venues which just make it too difficult for  the weekend enthusiasts.

So, what are the skills for bonus boxes / distance challenges?  The first one I noticed was being able to send your dog the length of the course while only being able to go maybe 30 feet deep.  Gotta have weaves coming at you.  I believe Chris and Amanda when they talk about requirements for putting a box / line on a course.  Could those requirements and team skills be discussed on the Training topics and pinned to the top? 

I am still considering what do I need and how do I train that.  Once we start attempting the lines, then I don't care about the Q.  This challenge will be sufficient to keep us running.


Hi Janice!!
    That is a very good idea and I could definitely work on some training articles to post here on the forum, skills needed, how to train them, etc.

Fantastic idea! I'll get to work!
Amanda


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: dogrsqr on February 22, 2018, 07:27:59 AM
I am not complaining Amanda, and I did notice that at the last trial. 

As you know working away from me is not Abbey's issue.  Her issue is remembering that it's not always the line she sees.  ;)

Gina
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 22, 2018, 07:31:45 AM
I am not complaining Amanda, and I did notice that at the last trial. 

As you know working away from me is not Abbey's issue.  Her issue is remembering that it's not always the line she sees.  ;)

Gina

Oh no I definitely didn't read it as complaining! I just wanted to make sure and clarify that we are trying to move the boxes/lines closer and add variety to the kind of boxes and lines seen. :-)

Abbey and Nargles should start a club........ LOL I have the same issue with her.  :-P

Amanda


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: KarissaKS on February 22, 2018, 08:13:21 AM
Gina touched on the main reason for why you don't see more new folks in the bonus program -- it's trainers (or lack thereof). If nobody is training the skills needed to work at a distance then you aren't going to see it at trials. If you don't see it at trials then you never even know it exists. We keep saying that the reason you don't see more people at NADAC trials is because there aren't enough people training NADAC skills. Those are BASIC skills, never mind bonus-level distance skills.

You see the occasional bonus line attempt here, but in my experience people watch, they admire, but I'm not seeing, "Oh, I want to do that" as a reaction. Most people are fine with the status quo and feel challenged enough by the normal course requirements. The comment that someone would expect to see "6 new bonus handlers each year" is mind-boggling to me. That's just not a reasonable expectation in either area of the country where I've lived (WI and now TN).

When my first group of students went to their first NADAC trial and saw Chances for the first time they got excited and asked for a class to focus on distance -- but do you know how many people actually signed up? One. And she had fun, but then decided she would rather do AKC. So.... Yeah.

I'm tired of the participation ribbon mentality. I used to try bonuses with Luke years ago. I spent a lot of money on those NQs but we had fun trying. Kaiser likes distance, but I never bothered to try bonus lines with him because I don't think they are appropriate for him. Now Jedi is up and coming and he has the skills to potentially be successful at bonuses. There were lines at our last trial that I thought were totally doable, but I didn't feel like doing video (I really dislike that bonuses need to be submitted for video review) and instead I just decided to make my own line and see how successful we were. I don't need "extra" points to validate my effort.

In a way I feel this is going down the road of the VT discussion where people feel they deserve something for every little effort they put forth. Titles! I want all the titles!    :-X
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Jeannie Biggers on February 22, 2018, 08:31:03 AM
I am disappointed in this thread.  I have been racking my brain as to why anyone would think the current DCs need to be easier…. Especially the ladies that have commented!  These are ladies that know how to train distance and have and have been very successful!!  Huge respect for them and their ability to work distance!  Kyle I get that you want to qualify your young dog… I want to qualify both my pups but they seriously may not be ready for it! 

I also think maybe you all forget how flippin hard bonus opportunities used to be and how far and few between we got to see them!  Remember “stay behind first and last”…. How many times have you heard that during your distance career?  I would say at least 75% of Saiges bonuses were just that.  We trial mostly on 80x120 so I was working 80 to 100 feet from her every single time!  In her early years we might have seen a 15 pointer that was usually around the 2nd and 2nd to last obstacle…. Not a ton easier and we still had several folks step up to this challenge, learn how to train for it and just did it!  So when Amanda is giving us the opportunity to get these young dogs going and working and only have to work 40 feet away… holy cow I feel blessed!  And the amount of bonuses we are seeing is huge! 

Also another thought.  Not sure if any of you have ever tried to design courses or look at a course ON paper and try to figure out a good place to put bonus opportunities.  Think about how many courses ON screen Amanda has to look at and come up with a fair box!  Sometimes you design something and then you set it and it is great… other times you go oh Lord that sucks.  Same with these lines and boxes.  It is sooo different looking at something on screen/paper vs setting it up.

Janice here is what I think you need before ever trying any kind of distance…. Even Chances. 
1.   Independent weaves (going away, coming at you, side to side etc.)
2.   Independent contacts (going away, coming at you)  Also need them to be able to continue on and not turn towards you.
3.   A startline (because you need impulse control and a teammate)
4.     The ability to bring your dog to you and send them away (at a distance)
5.     Independent barrel performance
6.   And most importantly a thinking, problem solving, confident dog.
 
Distance is NOT for every person or every dog.  I truly think it is for a small majority of those that are trialing.  It is taking what you train to another level.  If everyone could do it then even at the current DC lines we would see many more.  I would hate to see these lines become easier and give people false hope that their dog enjoys distance.  My first dog Paisley actually has several 15 point bonuses to her name… is she a distance dog?  Absolutely NOT!!!  If I would have asked her to continually work at those distances I would have fried her and she would have come to hate the game.  I really don’t want to see people push dogs that don’t want to do it just because the line looks easy enough to do.

Thanks for listening….

Jeannie
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 22, 2018, 08:48:33 AM
I just decided to make my own line and see how successful we were. I don't need "extra" points to validate my effort.


And that is how the bonus program started!  None of us wanted any titles or special awards.  There was a group of us that challenged each other.  We would walk a course and someone would say, I can do 10-14 from this side of the dog walk.... and anyone that wanted to challenge that put a quarter on the table.  All that could do that split the pot.  And someone else would say I can do 3-10 without passing obstacle #2 and that challenge would go down.  Sometimes we would have 4-5 different "challenges" on courses.  Within a short time, someone would step up and say I can do the entire course and stay in this area..... and so would others.  And we are talking basically EVERY elite competitor at the trial.  We started in Las Cruces during March and then we would move to Idaho by the summer.  And at the end of summer and 5-6 camps, we had 30-40 "challenge" handlers that went back and introduced it to people in their areas.  And it grew and grew.  No titles, just the fun of the challenge.  And many of the challenges were WAY tougher than what people now do for a title and awards.  And people did them with beauty and grace.  No screaming or waving hands frantically.  Smooth beautiful flow between dog and handler.  When I used to travel all year doing seminars we had upwards of 100 handlers doing "challenges".  It was based on fun between competitors.  And you would get teased if you had to give multiple commands or ever got frantic when handling.  It was friends having fun together.

And then it became worth more points and titles and awards and I have to admit that it started to get less interest than when it was a "challenge" between competitors.  Jealousy arose and negativity arose.  There was so much pressure and judges started giving bonuses for any handler that could do any basic distance and flow wasn't necessary.

Bonuses were described from the beginning as "possible but HIGHLY unlikely" (Steve Stochaj said that!) and everyone attempted them knowing that it was highly unlikely that they would be successful.  But the thrill of that level of connection between dog and handler was worth it.  No one ever paid any attention to Q's.  It was the thrill.  Now it is the title.

This past year I stopped trialing for Q's.  I ran Busi and I succeeded at many bonus runs.  Busi is amazing on bonuses and she is right up there with Lucky.  But I was so tired of the jealousy and resentment from others that I never once recorded her runs, not even for a normal Q.  And she earned more bonus runs than all other handlers combined.  But for me, I was finally having fun again.  Challenging myself, doing what we do best together, having fun and enjoying the "challenge" of pushing ourselves.  No titles, no awards, just something between us.

If people would go back to "quarter challenges" with the idea of fun together, and require smooth non-screaming runs in order to get your quarter, "I" think that the bonus program would explode again.  It would take a year to spread, but it could get there again.  But as long as the "expected" qualifier is there, I believe that the dogs won't excel under that pressure.  For me, bonuses are about FUN together.  A challenge that is FUN!

And I know 3-4 handlers that still feel that way.  But the majority want the recognition, titles and awards of being "special".

Bring back the FUN and you will bring back the bonus  handlers, in my opinion.

Good posts, Chris and Amanda.

Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Edraith on February 22, 2018, 09:04:32 AM
I am not complaining Amanda, and I did notice that at the last trial. 

As you know working away from me is not Abbey's issue.  Her issue is remembering that it's not always the line she sees.  ;)

Gina

Oh no I definitely didn't read it as complaining! I just wanted to make sure and clarify that we are trying to move the boxes/lines closer and add variety to the kind of boxes and lines seen. :-)

Abbey and Nargles should start a club........ LOL I have the same issue with her.  :-P

Amanda
Edraith can join that club.  I swear she makes up her own courses half the time for fun of it.  ;D I may mess up handling and start her on a bad path, but she will take it and do 3-5 obstacles before finally coming back despite all my attempts to get back on course!

2.   Independent contacts (going away, coming at you)  Also need them to be able to continue on and not turn towards you.
I would love ideas on how to train this - it is actually a tunnel issue more than contact. She always always always turns towards the side I was on when she entered. She is way faster and I do a lot of rear crosses. I continually lose her to the wrong obstacle coming out of tunnels because I couldn't make it to the side I needed her to turn out of the tunnel, so she comes back in, and takes an off course. (and then keeps going, a-la-my-reply-to Amanda haha). I have tried verbal cuing the cross at various points (tunnel entry, in the middle, as she is towards the end of it), nothing seems to work. I will say, If I can somehow beat her through the tunnel with my line to get in a blind, she will turn the correct way coming out of it, I suspect as she can see me make that change. Me forgetting this is how she currently works has lead to many a NQ haha.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 22, 2018, 09:56:32 AM
a skill that started out PURELY by elite level handlers who were bored running elite level courses and wanted an EXTRA challenge.    And were more than happy to fail 90% of the time because failing but being challenged was better than succeeding but being bored.


For the group I was involved with, I will say, we were never bored.  We loved NADAC and the courses presented to us.  We started doing distance because that is the type of people we were.  We always challenged each other to be better, get better and always look at how to improve.  We didn't do it from boredom.  We loved challenge and the camaraderie gained from challenging each other.  Maybe people in other areas were bored, but we weren't.

Sharon
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Shirlene Clark on February 22, 2018, 12:05:42 PM
I think the little tweaks to the program that Amanda and Chris have implemented need to have some time before any judgement is made about them.  I also think a couple of the key ingredients to the success of the program is passion and grit from those aspiring distance teams.  To do hard stuff one has to really, really want  to do it.  Hard stuff is never accomplished by people saying i wouldn’t mind trying that or I might give that a go....hard stuff is accomplished by those who say I really want to do that.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: BeckyAH on February 22, 2018, 12:11:48 PM
First my disclaimer: I don't think bonus boxes need to be made easier, and I have never run for one and quite frankly probably never will.  So discount absolutely everything I say here.

People like to say that distance isn't hard.  I've heard this time and again from people who do well with distance.  The reality is two fold:  1-) Anything can be hard for a given dog and handler team, based on challenges of the individuals and, relevantly here, 2-) Anything you don't have access to training for is really freaking hard.

Distance - any distance, even Novice Chances - requires at least some foundation training skills to be successful at.  At Novice, you can mostly, with most dogs, get away with general agility training foundations and verbals to make it work.  Beyond that, you start needing both more confidence and obstacle commitment in the dog, and some handling changes.  The further the distance grows, the more skills the handler and dog both need.

If there is no one there to guide and teach you, and your only exposure is watching other people occasionally run it, it may as well be magic.  A lot of people aren't just missing the skills for bonus boxes - or access to get those skills!- they are missing the skills and access to training for **Chances**, period.

That isn't to say I think it needs to be made easier, but I do think you need to accept that large portions of NADAC's competitors, even those who would like to do it, simply aren't going to have the skills to.  There shouldn't be a mystery as to why the competitors aren't there/new competitors aren't coming in.

I love NADAC.  I love agility.  I  cannot teach myself to do bonus box handling.   I don't have a dog ready for it, but even if I did, it's not something I'm going to figure out on my own or through watching other people.    And a whole lot of people are in that boat  - some of them with the bonus boxes, some of them with distance lines, some of them with elite chances, some of them with chances at all, depending on what  kind of training they have access to.

Saying 'just challenge yourself' is all well and good, but when you don't have a clue where to start the challenge is a lot closer than the bonus box lines.   And that's before accounting for individual dog/handler challenges beyond training access.  I don't need a thing needs to be made easier - I like my challenges, dammit, and quite aside from that I recognize the Bonus program as one that's for the truly elite and not me - but... awareness and compassion are good things.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 22, 2018, 12:22:08 PM

Saying 'just challenge yourself' is all well and good, but when you don't have a clue where to start the challenge is a lot closer than the bonus box lines.   And that's before accounting for individual dog/handler challenges beyond training access.  I don't need a thing needs to be made easier - I like my challenges, dammit, and quite aside from that I recognize the Bonus program as one that's for the truly elite and not me - but... awareness and compassion are good things.

Challenges are comparative.   One person's challenge can be "I can do a dog walk from 3 feet away, this next trial, I am going to attempt a 5 foot distance from the dog walk" while another person is going to attempt a 30' dog walk, after being successful at 25'.

Each of those would be great successes for each person and each one set a challenge that is appropriate to them and their dog as a team.  With each successful challenge, you grow and can push even further with success and confidence.  Maybe it is a challenge about a 5' send to a tunnel instead of a dog walk.  Then building to 8' and then 10'.

Every person can set challenges for themselves.  And each person's goals are different and they will set challenges to get them closer to their goals.

Sharon
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Kyle on February 22, 2018, 08:48:43 PM
Just so we’re clear,  I’m not trying to make threats here.  Just proposing a solution.

If the general consensus is that the bonuses need to be drastically less challenging then that can happen.   But the decreased challenge that the bonuses used to have also came with a decreased reward.

We never used to have 30 point bonuses.
We didn’t have as many awards.
So I do think a decrease in difficulty would need to reflect those.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Please do not interpret what I have said as wanting "drastically less challenging" Bonuses. Personally, I think all the Bonuses I have been seeing are great and don't need any changes (and I have stated that already). Since I have never cared about awards, Chris, Amanda and Jimmy may do what they wish with those IMHO but, others may feel very differently.  ;D As Chris and Amanda should know (and I think that Sharon already does), I love the Bonus program for giving those of us who choose not to run alongside our dog for a full course, the opportunity to do "our thing" in an organized kind of way.  ;D

-Kyle
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: dogrsqr on February 23, 2018, 06:10:30 AM
Kyle the comment about those of us that choose not to run alongside our dogs for an entire course sounded a little snotty.  I don't run along side my dog and I don't attempt bonuses.  I think we all do what works for our team; no need to be judgemental.

Gina
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Kyle on February 23, 2018, 07:37:06 AM
Kyle the comment about those of us that choose not to run alongside our dogs for an entire course sounded a little snotty.  I don't run along side my dog and I don't attempt bonuses.  I think we all do what works for our team; no need to be judgemental.

Gina

I apologize to anyone who may have taken what I said as being snotty. It certainly was not my intention. To be honest, I was trying to find the right words to describe running bonuses and those were the best I could figure out at the time. Once again, I apologize. I love NADAC agility because it allows for all kinds of "flavors" of agility...it's kind of like people who like cream and sugar in their coffee can have it their way, people who like just cream or just sugar in their coffee can have it their way and those who like it black can have it their way. Something for everyone.  ;D Yay!  ;D (Please exchange tea for coffee if that's your preference.  ;))

It's really interesting when you ask folks why they attempt Bonuses, there's soooo many different thoughts and reasons. Mine is that I am most comfortable with my dog working "away" from me. That comes from my herding background most likely, maybe, I dunno.  :-\ It has nothing to do with being "bored" or having an extra "challenge". It's just where I'm comfortable.  :) (I have been known to say that I am allergic to running! hahaha!) I have the highest regard for the folks who can be where they need to be to help their dogs make great turns, it's kind of an art form to me and I applaud how they handle. I also applaud the folks who do some close and some distance work - that takes thought and lots of training effort.

Once again - thank you NADAC for providing the "flavor" of agility that fits me and my dogs and continues to provide all kinds of flavors that fit others.

-Kyle

Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: LFuller on February 23, 2018, 01:08:44 PM
I was taken by the following comment in a recent post by Kyle:  "Once again - thank you NADAC for providing the "flavor" of agility that fits me and my dogs and continues to provide all kinds of flavors that fit others." I don't know if I have ever heard a better description of NADAC.  It definitely is the variety that NADAC offers that keeps me enthusiastic and interested in the sport.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: AndreaEntin on February 23, 2018, 01:53:59 PM
Hi Everyone

Time for my 2 cents on the subject.  I hope this comes out as encouraging to everyone.  My journey in the bonus program is most likely different from everyone else. 

As a few people might know, but most of you won't know I started my bonus journey in Florida.  I am actually "the" bonus handler for this state.  In the past 8 years I can count on two hands the people who have tried for a bonus in this area, including local and snowbirds.  People just don't do big distance out here, except for the crazy one.....Me! 

My journey with bonus attempts was two fold, I loved the challenge of it for one.  Second I found being an overactive teenager has affected me greatly in my 40's.  My very first taste of big distance was in Calgary I think.  I remember having to send my dog Rebel on a large circle of jumps probably 50 ft in diameter.  I did not get the farthest jump, but boy was it freaking fun.  And I knew this was something I would keep trying. 

Keep in mind, there really were no trainers of NADAC in Fl in 2004 and today there still are not.  Essentially everything I have learned about distance I have figured out on my own thru trial and error, and a handful of clinics (when I could convince Sharon to come out and twice with Amanda). With Bang I got the bug, and it took me several years to learn that less is more.  There were weekend I would go out and to 3 to 6 bonuses in a two day trial.  Now If I try 3 over a three day trial it is a lot, I usually do one or two.  With every unsuccessful bonus attempt, I learn the skills I need to become a more complete bonus handler.  I file everything in my head at a trial and go home and train it, if I am missing a skill I add it on.  If I don't know how to train it I figure it out or find someone that is a good resource for information. 

Just because you don't have a training peeps, doesn't mean it cannot be done.  I am proof of that.  Make sure people are taking videos of your runs and handling that you can analyze.  Watch video of other people doing bonus runs and ask yourself why or why not did those runs work or not work?  And don't be in a hurry.  I agree that it would be great to have some kind of bonus in open, but there are lots of people that will ask to much of their dogs before they are ready and that is probably why the bonuses are only available in elite.  If you want a challenge drop you imaginary line on the course and work from there. Take your chances line and add 10 or 20 feet to it, drop a line in your head for jumpers and work with that.  It will come! And it will be great. 

Andrea and Linkin
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Sandy Langan on February 23, 2018, 03:05:56 PM
Well said Andrea . You were so much fun to watch at champs in Ohio last year. Very inspiring! I’m getting close to trying them myself. Sandy
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: cherhart on February 23, 2018, 04:42:11 PM
So, I am a distance challenge person who has a goal of becoming a bonus person someday with my new dog. I guess my  take away from this thread is that it would be good to have a Bonus/DC Thread that contains some information and encourages new people to try. This may not be possible or it may be too time consuming but...

1) It sounds like many people would like to run bonuses but lack access to training. I like the idea of posting needed skills and how to train them with pertinent articles - that is very exciting.
2) I also miss watching videos of people who attempt and make bonuses. I know this helped inspire me because when you see what is possible you just have to try it. It also keeps you in touch with other people trying the same thing that you are trying and builds the feeling of camaraderie.
3) I would also like to have someone re-post what are the criteria for a  bonus and distance challenge. This was posted somewhere (and may still be on the website somewhere) but it helps to know why one course has a bonus and another course does not. For instance, I think a bonus course has to have the dog coming at you and turn away, a discrimination , etc.  Unfortunately, I have forgotten these rules and would like to see them again, are they different for different classes?

I too love all the options that NADAC offers and I certainly hope that the bonus/dc program continues to grow.

Cheryl






Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Janice_Shavor on February 24, 2018, 06:48:12 AM
I flat out love the idea of a distance challenge / bonus thread.  Especially if folks post links to video of attempts, successful or not.  Sometimes you can learn a lot from not quite successful!!  And especially if there are comments from the handler about specific sequences on course.

My current strategy is simply to work for a bit more distance with all dogs.  Figuring out how much more is a challenge since we have a lot of rainy weather and no place indoors to work.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 24, 2018, 07:03:39 AM
I flat out love the idea of a distance challenge / bonus thread.  Especially if folks post links to video of attempts, successful or not.  Sometimes you can learn a lot from not quite successful!!  And especially if there are comments from the handler about specific sequences on course.

My current strategy is simply to work for a bit more distance with all dogs.  Figuring out how much more is a challenge since we have a lot of rainy weather and no place indoors to work.

I too think this is a fantastic idea and I'm currently working on getting one added!!! :-D

Amanda


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Amanda Nelson on February 24, 2018, 02:08:40 PM
I wanted to make a note that the NADAC Training Group does discuss distance/bonus line training (I just uploaded a video review of a bonus/distance course with my handling analysis) and members of the group can submit videos, ask unlimited questions and there is tons of training info on there! This link has more info: https://nadacshop.com/collections/frontpage/products/nadac-training-group  (https://nadacshop.com/collections/frontpage/products/nadac-training-group)

I will also be adding a Distance Training section here on the forum with training ideas, courses, and video analysis. Chris and I are meeting this week and we will get the details set up then! :-D

Thanks!
Amanda
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Janice_Shavor on February 25, 2018, 07:44:19 AM
What fun!
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Marcy Matties on February 26, 2018, 01:54:53 PM
Not late to reading this thread, just been away from my laptop for awhile and my skills at replying are not great on my phone.

When I first started reading the posts I agreed that alot of the DCs that I had seen appeared more challenging than what I recollect seeing in Starter Stakes at Champs (though recollections are always iffy).  And Amanda wrote that she was working hard on making bigger and closer DCs.  And I believe her.  My gut feeling was that a lot of these people (including myself) just hadn’t seen those “bigger, closer” distance challenge lines YET.  With YET being the operative word.  Every course set every week is not a brand new “created this hour” set.  They get shared around different zones over different weeks. 

So anytime Person A starts sharing about what they have seen or not seen, and Person B says – don’t know what you’re talking about – that’s not what I’ve seen …  well it’s highly likely that they are BOTH right.   Has a lot to do with what zone(s) you trial in, how often you trial, how long it’s been since your last trial, etc.  Since it appears that Amanda has been working on this recently, it is highly likely that there might be trials that haven’t seen the “bigger/closer” lines …  YET. 

When I first started reading this last week I was in that camp.  I hadn’t seen any bigger/closer boxes.  And then lo and behold at a 3-day trial this weekend I saw them on all 6 regular courses that were set. 

All of them were no more than 45 feet at the furthest.  Definitly some tricky things to handle in between “here” and “there,” but that’s true in Chances as well.  And the Chances line was 35 feet at one point, though sending to a tunnel not that tricky … lol   

Were there places that I thought – hmmm  we might could do that, and might not?   Yes.  But they were all within the realm of possibility.  And that’s all I want.  Something that is somewhat possible.  Even knowing that we wouldn’t get it in flow at this point in time, it sure makes it fun to try it knowing that if I kept working on it, someday we might get it.  And that turned out to be the case.  Those areas that I knew would be tricky for us, were tricky for us.  Those areas I thought we could do smoothly, we did smoothly.  But the fun of attempting those tricky parts and getting some of it (even though without flow) were so much fun.  Makes you want to keep trying to push that boundary just a little bit more each time.

So if you haven’t seen any “new” (sorry Amanda) distance challenges yet, keep your eyes open.  You probably will soon.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on February 28, 2018, 08:18:56 AM
I am disappointed in this thread.  I have been racking my brain as to why anyone would think the current DCs need to be easier…. Especially the ladies that have commented!  These are ladies that know how to train distance and have and have been very successful!!  Huge respect for them and their ability to work distance!  Kyle I get that you want to qualify your young dog… I want to qualify both my pups but they seriously may not be ready for it! 

I also think maybe you all forget how flippin hard bonus opportunities used to be and how far and few between we got to see them!  Remember “stay behind first and last”…. How many times have you heard that during your distance career?  I would say at least 75% of Saiges bonuses were just that.  We trial mostly on 80x120 so I was working 80 to 100 feet from her every single time!  In her early years we might have seen a 15 pointer that was usually around the 2nd and 2nd to last obstacle…. Not a ton easier and we still had several folks step up to this challenge, learn how to train for it and just did it!  So when Amanda is giving us the opportunity to get these young dogs going and working and only have to work 40 feet away… holy cow I feel blessed!  And the amount of bonuses we are seeing is huge! 

Also another thought.  Not sure if any of you have ever tried to design courses or look at a course ON paper and try to figure out a good place to put bonus opportunities.  Think about how many courses ON screen Amanda has to look at and come up with a fair box!  Sometimes you design something and then you set it and it is great… other times you go oh Lord that sucks.  Same with these lines and boxes.  It is sooo different looking at something on screen/paper vs setting it up.

Janice here is what I think you need before ever trying any kind of distance…. Even Chances. 
1.   Independent weaves (going away, coming at you, side to side etc.)
2.   Independent contacts (going away, coming at you)  Also need them to be able to continue on and not turn towards you.
3.   A startline (because you need impulse control and a teammate)
4.     The ability to bring your dog to you and send them away (at a distance)
5.     Independent barrel performance
6.   And most importantly a thinking, problem solving, confident dog.
 
Distance is NOT for every person or every dog.  I truly think it is for a small majority of those that are trialing.  It is taking what you train to another level.  If everyone could do it then even at the current DC lines we would see many more.  I would hate to see these lines become easier and give people false hope that their dog enjoys distance.  My first dog Paisley actually has several 15 point bonuses to her name… is she a distance dog?  Absolutely NOT!!!  If I would have asked her to continually work at those distances I would have fried her and she would have come to hate the game.  I really don’t want to see people push dogs that don’t want to do it just because the line looks easy enough to do.

Thanks for listening….

Jeannie

I agree with most of what you say, but I adamantly disagree about a start line stay.  I HAVE a start line stay with my one dog, but she HATES it.  Not because of impulse control but because she doesn't like it.  She is also my bigger distance dog.  I don't do bonuses just because she actually shuts down with a start line stay.  Why do it if it isn't fun for her?  Not to mention that if I do it, she simply trots around the course....  Yes, MAYBE I can "train" it, BUT the reality is, she HAS it, she doesn't LIKE it......  And she is almost 11 years old, I am NOT going to change that.  I did a stay with her for YEARS because I was told I absolutely NEEDED it.  I almost retired her because she wasn't having fun and realized a good majority of it was because I was forcing a stay at the line.  I now do a sling shot start and we have a blast and she is still running and loving agility again.

My one and only bonus attempt was a few years ago.  I was able to slingshot my girl to the start line from the box.  We didn't get it, but it was fun to try.  Not every dog requires a stay at the start line. Many dogs are connected and have impulse control without it.     I would love to do more bonus runs with her, but I won't do one that requires a stay at the start line.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Jeannie Biggers on February 28, 2018, 08:42:54 AM
I am disappointed in this thread.  I have been racking my brain as to why anyone would think the current DCs need to be easier…. Especially the ladies that have commented!  These are ladies that know how to train distance and have and have been very successful!!  Huge respect for them and their ability to work distance!  Kyle I get that you want to qualify your young dog… I want to qualify both my pups but they seriously may not be ready for it! 

I also think maybe you all forget how flippin hard bonus opportunities used to be and how far and few between we got to see them!  Remember “stay behind first and last”…. How many times have you heard that during your distance career?  I would say at least 75% of Saiges bonuses were just that.  We trial mostly on 80x120 so I was working 80 to 100 feet from her every single time!  In her early years we might have seen a 15 pointer that was usually around the 2nd and 2nd to last obstacle…. Not a ton easier and we still had several folks step up to this challenge, learn how to train for it and just did it!  So when Amanda is giving us the opportunity to get these young dogs going and working and only have to work 40 feet away… holy cow I feel blessed!  And the amount of bonuses we are seeing is huge! 

Also another thought.  Not sure if any of you have ever tried to design courses or look at a course ON paper and try to figure out a good place to put bonus opportunities.  Think about how many courses ON screen Amanda has to look at and come up with a fair box!  Sometimes you design something and then you set it and it is great… other times you go oh Lord that sucks.  Same with these lines and boxes.  It is sooo different looking at something on screen/paper vs setting it up.

Janice here is what I think you need before ever trying any kind of distance…. Even Chances. 
1.   Independent weaves (going away, coming at you, side to side etc.)
2.   Independent contacts (going away, coming at you)  Also need them to be able to continue on and not turn towards you.
3.   A startline (because you need impulse control and a teammate)
4.     The ability to bring your dog to you and send them away (at a distance)
5.     Independent barrel performance
6.   And most importantly a thinking, problem solving, confident dog.
 
Distance is NOT for every person or every dog.  I truly think it is for a small majority of those that are trialing.  It is taking what you train to another level.  If everyone could do it then even at the current DC lines we would see many more.  I would hate to see these lines become easier and give people false hope that their dog enjoys distance.  My first dog Paisley actually has several 15 point bonuses to her name… is she a distance dog?  Absolutely NOT!!!  If I would have asked her to continually work at those distances I would have fried her and she would have come to hate the game.  I really don’t want to see people push dogs that don’t want to do it just because the line looks easy enough to do.

Thanks for listening….

Jeannie

I agree with most of what you say, but I adamantly disagree about a start line stay.  I HAVE a start line stay with my one dog, but she HATES it.  Not because of impulse control but because she doesn't like it.  She is also my bigger distance dog.  I don't do bonuses just because she actually shuts down with a start line stay.  Why do it if it isn't fun for her?  Not to mention that if I do it, she simply trots around the course....  Yes, MAYBE I can "train" it, BUT the reality is, she HAS it, she doesn't LIKE it......  And she is almost 11 years old, I am NOT going to change that.  I did a stay with her for YEARS because I was told I absolutely NEEDED it.  I almost retired her because she wasn't having fun and realized a good majority of it was because I was forcing a stay at the line.  I now do a sling shot start and we have a blast and she is still running and loving agility again.

My one and only bonus attempt was a few years ago.  I was able to slingshot my girl to the start line from the box.  We didn't get it, but it was fun to try.  Not every dog requires a stay at the start line. Many dogs are connected and have impulse control without it.     I would love to do more bonus runs with her, but I won't do one that requires a stay at the start line.

I agree, bonuses are not for every dog.  I guess I should have added to the startline needed is also because you need to get into a box :) 
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Richard Wolfe on February 28, 2018, 04:28:43 PM



[/quote]

I agree, bonuses are not for every dog.  I guess I should have added to the startline needed is also because you need to get into a box :)
[/quote]

I agree about bonuses.   And also that startline stay is needed but not mandatory unless you need to get into the box.  Also, no matter what division you're in, if you ever go to Champs you'll find one course that will make you wish you had one!!!!!
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on March 02, 2018, 01:50:04 PM




I agree, bonuses are not for every dog.  I guess I should have added to the startline needed is also because you need to get into a box :)
[/quote]

I agree about bonuses.   And also that startline stay is needed but not mandatory unless you need to get into the box.  Also, no matter what division you're in, if you ever go to Champs you'll find one course that will make you wish you had one!!!!!
[/quote]

The thing is, she could probably do some of the bonuses and in the past, you didn't need a start line, so I attempted one, but then they started having the box where you needed it.  Truthfully, I could do a slingshot and get to the box before she gets to the first obstacle, but I was told that wasn't allowed. 

As for Champs, I have only had 1 course in 3 times there where I used a start line with her.  Mind you, she isn't terribly fast and I usually slingshot her, although at Champs I don't have the same amount of room that I do in a regular trial :-) .  She is also quite in tune to what I want her to do so I am usually pretty good.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: knittingdog on March 03, 2018, 07:03:29 AM

I think Surge and I may try bonus boxes at some point, but I don't think we are ready just yet.  We practice a lot of distance at home, but not to that level.

I love Jeannies list of things to work on!  And the other things people have contributed!

One of the things I'm hesitant about is that the Bonus runs need to be videoed.  Why can't judges judge them on the spot?  Seems like they should be able to do that with some training.  From what I understand, only one video/run is required now - is this correct? 

There is also some subjectivity in them in that they have to be in flow.  I can see it being obvious if the dog is running around all over the place and in the middle of a run, but what exactly is a "wide turn" in some cases?  My dog goes through a hoop at full speed and makes a "wide turn" to the dogwalk because my turn cue was slightly late for example.

Robin


 
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Chris Nelson on March 03, 2018, 07:20:54 AM
Subjectivity is the exact reason videos have to be sent in.

Getting 70 judges to all judge a wide turn the same way is quite impossible.   We know because judges used to judge bonus runs,   There are very valid reasons we stopped.

It’s much easier to get 3-4 on the same page.

Also,  if you’re going to be earning double or even triple the points of anyone else at the trial, you’ll have to put some more effort in to make it happen


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: knittingdog on March 03, 2018, 08:32:30 AM

Subjectivity is the exact reason videos have to be sent in.

Getting 70 judges to all judge a wide turn the same way is quite impossible.   We know because judges used to judge bonus runs,   There are very valid reasons we stopped.

It’s much easier to get 3-4 on the same page.



I hadn't thought of it that way Chris.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: DebbieB on March 03, 2018, 09:01:45 AM
Hello all, just a few thoughts from a relative newcomer..  I don't feel the original responses were saying the bonus program should get easier, it sounded to me like they were saying it would be nice to have some sort of stepping stone to the eventual goal of attempting bonus boxes.  I am wondering if more people would then think about training for distance. 

I have a young dog that would much rather work away from me so distance handling is intriguing.  I understand the original intent of the bonus program was to have a challenge above elite.  I think I would rather train my dog for distance from the start and work our way up to the bonus box if we become skilled enough. (Yes, we can just make an imaginary line even starting in intro :-)   It would be fun to have different lines even beginning in Open so you could graduate your distance skills with the goal of attempting the bonus box. it may be less intimidating and more enticing to be able to work up to it.  Having a distance/training section in the Forum would be so helpful, especially for the folks that don't have access to a local trainer that teaches distance skills. 

I guess it just depends on whether you want to encourage distance, which does add a whole other facet to agility.  For me, what sets NADAC apart from other venues is the attention to dog safety, fun games and distance handling/challenges.  Keep up the good work!
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Chris Nelson on March 03, 2018, 09:10:28 AM
I would be way more open to the idea of lines in other levels strictly as a guideline for training.    But not extra points.   Because when 10 extra points are on the line a lot of people will ask way more of their dog then the dog is ready for.   Which in turn typically makes the dog hate distance.

So maybe if points weren’t involved and it was just a helpful guide for what a decent goal is,   Then I don’t think people would push their dogs as hard and turn them off from wanting that challenge


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: BeckyAH on March 03, 2018, 10:53:12 AM
I would be way more open to the idea of lines in other levels strictly as a guideline for training.    But not extra points.   Because when 10 extra points are on the line a lot of people will ask way more of their dog then the dog is ready for.   Which in turn typically makes the dog hate distance.

So maybe if points weren’t involved and it was just a helpful guide for what a decent goal is,   Then I don’t think people would push their dogs as hard and turn them off from wanting that challenge


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I would LOVE to see some bonus lines on Novice courses.   No points, no just.  An opportunity to see where they'd be and maybe try.  I wouldn't even care if they were actually marked.  Drop my elite dog down to novice and practice would be a pretty awesome opportunity.  I mean, I fully intend to do basically that once we finish regular natch points (or sooner, depending) but it'd be nice to have something on the map I could look at to get a general idea.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Sara Langston on March 04, 2018, 06:38:15 AM
I would be way more open to the idea of lines in other levels strictly as a guideline for training.    But not extra points.   Because when 10 extra points are on the line a lot of people will ask way more of their dog then the dog is ready for.   Which in turn typically makes the dog hate distance.

So maybe if points weren’t involved and it was just a helpful guide for what a decent goal is,   Then I don’t think people would push their dogs as hard and turn them off from wanting that challenge


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I really like this idea!!!!

Sara
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: cheyaut on March 05, 2018, 09:26:41 AM
I just wanted to pop in and say that this past weekend, I finally got brave enough to try the distance challenge in regular, and the bonus box in jumpers. Now, I went in to this knowing it was going to be tough for my dog and I, and that it would likely take away a Q we could earn. But I didn't care, I was doing it for the challenge, for fun. It was double run, so I got to try it twice.

The first round of regular, I found out where we struggled. And that was ok! Rather than make it clean for a Q (minus the DC), I stayed where I was and had him take jumps over (just a couple) to get back in the flow, and at the end, he didn't get the right obstacle at the discrimination, but I went with what he took (because I'm positive he went where I directed him on accident!). So on round 2, I again stayed in the DC area, except those two spots, where I went in to help him out. We did Q that round, but that wasn't why I went in to help him, I knew what we were and weren't capable of so I figured I would help him out. But even when we take things incorrectly, it's not my dog's fault, so we just roll with it :)

On jumpers, we didn't Q either time, and that's ok. Again, I sent him back over a couple jumps to get the line right so I could handle it better, and he did great :) (I also went with him at the end, as that was beyond our current capabilities).

But anyhow, my point of this post was, I finally decided to go for it, with no expectations other than fun and a challenge, and those four runs were some of the funnest runs I've ever had! I only wish I asked someone to video the regular runs (again, I wasn't doing this for the points, I was doing this to see what we could do, so I didn't bother). But I did get a volunteer for the jumpers videos at least :)

Just in case you'd like to watch... in round 1, me throwing my hands up was when I said, what the heck am I doing? I had one of those brain fart moments haha :) And at the end, I ran out of space to move, my bad (plus, that was a little beyond our current capability, to keep going that far while I"m back... but if I didn't get myself stuck, it would've been better). In round 2, I got myself stuck and wasn't able to keep him going to the tunnel, my bad... and at the end I just went with him more so he wouldn't be confused :)

I look forward to working on some things I learned from this, and continuing to try some DC and bonus boxes for fun!

https://youtu.be/vudEokzaYKg

https://youtu.be/1a1zXAz3_Zg
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Janice_Shavor on March 06, 2018, 06:31:42 AM
Thanks for the videos and the explanations!
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Lorne McGee on March 06, 2018, 08:13:51 AM
Perhaps it is an oversimplification to say that a more generous distance challenge line would be no different from an elite chances line. Why?  Number of challenges and obstacles. It is WAY easier to keep your s**t together for 11-14 obstacles and 2 challenges than it is for 19-22 obstacles and 5-6 challenges.  The 30-40’ you may see in elite chances is usually the apex of an arc or the dog going forward from a contact etc. Rarely do the dogs have to “do” or execute some type of handling move (except come) when they are out that far in chances. The distance line requires sustained connection and flow where chances does not.

I don’t understand why it is seen as dumbing down the program. I see it as a step wise opportunity for handlers to get hooked on big distance.  Not everyone has the opportunity to train at home with a yard full of equipment like a fair number of bonus handlers do.  I did StarterStakes at champs with a dog who only had 1 group lesson a week - but he had the right mind for it. Why not give the rest of the handlers an extra 5 points for keeping their team’s poop in a group for 21 obstacles at 30-40’?

Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Chris Nelson on March 06, 2018, 08:16:00 AM
I think folks need to see the new courses going out before changes are even considered.   We have over ten submissions from this past weekend,  which is a huge number.   I know of one trial that had over 14 attempts at bonuses or DC.   So I think we need some time with the new courses and DC before any changes are considered


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Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: LFuller on March 07, 2018, 08:01:21 AM
Jessi,

I loved watching your distance attempts! You should be proud of your team . . .  great attitude. You are exactly what the bonus program needs. Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: cheyaut on March 12, 2018, 01:19:28 AM
Thank you very much :)

Jessi
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Dev Sperber, Jake, Lil, and Takoda on March 16, 2018, 03:20:55 PM

[/quote]

I would LOVE to see some bonus lines on Novice courses.   No points, no just.  An opportunity to see where they'd be and maybe try.  I wouldn't even care if they were actually marked.  Drop my elite dog down to novice and practice would be a pretty awesome opportunity.  I mean, I fully intend to do basically that once we finish regular natch points (or sooner, depending) but it'd be nice to have something on the map I could look at to get a general idea.
[/quote]

When I first started training distance with my terrier Lil 6 years ago, Lynn Smitley gave me a lot of great advice.  One awesome tip was to think about the Bonus Box as a "hint" of where to handle from.... and then expand the box to the extent needed to test my dog's skill level and confidence but not to over-face her.   That worked like a charm.  I used that same strategy with my BC Takoda starting in Intro, then Novice, and Open and onto Elite.  I would look at the bonus box on the Elite course... and then apply it and enlarge it if needed for Novice and Open Courses... and even for most Intro courses.  His experience running agility with me from the Get Go has been with at distances he was comfortable with a tiny bit of stretching out of our comfort zones....  because one thing I didn't (and don't) want him to think at any point is WE HAVE ARRIVED which can happen if training stagnates too long IMHO.   

Our journey has not been linear... more like add some distance... subtract some distance.. add a bit more..take some away.... We have ping ponging our way towards Bonus Boxes on Elite Courses which we recently started attempting.  We've gotten super close to a few Bonus Qs but as someone else stated... its one thing to do big distance on a short Chances course... its quite another to hold it together for 21-23 obstacles on a Regular course.  Its been a super fun journey so far and I hope to continue along this path which I will as long as my dog continues having a blast running agility at a distance... which I think he will.

Dev Sperber
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: lorriemaxx on April 13, 2018, 09:21:26 PM


I agree with most of what you say, but I adamantly disagree about a start line stay.  I HAVE a start line stay with my one dog, but she HATES it.  Not because of impulse control but because she doesn't like it.  She is also my bigger distance dog.  I don't do bonuses just because she actually shuts down with a start line stay.  Why do it if it isn't fun for her?  Not to mention that if I do it, she simply trots around the course....  Yes, MAYBE I can "train" it, BUT the reality is, she HAS it, she doesn't LIKE it......  And she is almost 11 years old, I am NOT going to change that.  I did a stay with her for YEARS because I was told I absolutely NEEDED it.  I almost retired her because she wasn't having fun and realized a good majority of it was because I was forcing a stay at the line.  I now do a sling shot start and we have a blast and she is still running and loving agility again.

My one and only bonus attempt was a few years ago.  I was able to slingshot my girl to the start line from the box.  We didn't get it, but it was fun to try.  Not every dog requires a stay at the start line. Many dogs are connected and have impulse control without it.     I would love to do more bonus runs with her, but I won't do one that requires a stay at the start line.

I have seen a few distance challenges/bonuses recently that were very close to the start line.  I have the same issue with my dog.  She stresses heavily if I leave her.  BUT, we have had a couple of successful "big distance" runs where I could get in the box without going very far away.  Most of the time, I start with her, and then stay in the box if I want to try the challenge :-).  No, it doesn't "count" but it is still lots of fun!

Lorrie
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: lorriemaxx on April 13, 2018, 09:25:36 PM
I wanted to make a note that the NADAC Training Group does discuss distance/bonus line training (I just uploaded a video review of a bonus/distance course with my handling analysis) and members of the group can submit videos, ask unlimited questions and there is tons of training info on there! This link has more info: https://nadacshop.com/collections/frontpage/products/nadac-training-group  (https://nadacshop.com/collections/frontpage/products/nadac-training-group)

I will also be adding a Distance Training section here on the forum with training ideas, courses, and video analysis. Chris and I are meeting this week and we will get the details set up then! :-D

Thanks!
Amanda

To add to what Amanda said, she posted a link to the new NADAC training website in a forum post.  I also have an analysis of one of Pixie's successful distance challenge runs in the free area.  In the subscription area, I've posted the first six articles that go through my distance seminars, with accompanying videos for three of them so far.  They cover the areas we have been talking about here (independent contacts and discriminations, directionals at a distance, etc.).  It might be worth your time to check out the free stuff and decide if you would like to subscribe :-).

Lorrie
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: lorriemaxx on April 13, 2018, 09:47:28 PM
Here's my take on the bonuses/distance challenges.  I have had two dogs that are/were capable of that kind of distance.  My "stepping stones" were to see where the box was and handle as close to it as I could, understanding that I would have to deviate from it in some places where we didn't have the skills or confidence yet.  My ultimate goal was not to be in stakes at Championships, but to step up my game and have fun at challenging myself.  Once we got to the point that we had all of the skills, I started trying some that I thought were within our capabilities, but something Sharon said years ago was always in my head.  She said that nobody tries the bonuses with the expectation that they are going to qualify on the run.  You should expect NOT to qualify and to rejoice on the rare occasions that you do.

My retired dog was during the era of "the line is behind the start/finish obstacles".  I've got a video of him doing a weavers bonus when the weaves were at the opposite end of the ring.  I don't remember if those points finished a title, or got us an award, but I remember the rush of having done it successfully!  Same thing with my current girl.  We don't try a lot of them because we have start line issues and I don't like stressing her out by insisting she stay.  The ones we have tried and done successfully have been over-the-top FUN, but I actually remember a few that didn't count (because I got into the box after the first obstacle) with even more joy.  I'm not saying that the extra points aren't a great motivator, but for me the true motivation is in the amazing feeling I get from working as partners with that much space between us.  If the motivation was points, I would never try them, because I rarely succeed!

I'm in the camp of "don't fix it just because it is not attainable by all" only because it was never intended to be something that most competitors could do, nor was it supposed to be easy for the people who DO excel at distance.  If I want to run closer to my dog (ha, ha - I don't actually ever run), I can do that, or if I want to do big distance but not necessarily the box, I can do that too, and if I qualify I still earn 10 points :-).

Lorrie 
Title: Re: Distance Challenges
Post by: Karen Birdsong on April 18, 2018, 12:46:35 AM
I wish I knew the names of the courses that were used at the Purple Sands 3 day trial in Norco, CA April 6-8, 218.   I think many of these courses had distance lines/boxes are along the lines of what Kyle is referring.  I believe I tried more distance lines in this one 3 day weekend than I’ve done in all the years I’ve done NADAC….and I’ve been doing it, (and loving it) since NADAC’s first trial in Southern California.

I usually check out the bonus boxes whenever offered, but most of the time decide it is just too big a leap for me and my dog.   

The courses I saw at the April trail gave me hope of being able to bridge the gap between Chances and Bonus Boxes.