NADAC Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 06:07:22 AM

Title: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 06:07:22 AM
Both my dogs ran this NADAC Elite Jumpers Course in March. For clarity sake, several of my friends have run this same course at different trials but it was set up differently and ran differently as a result. This post only refers to the opening sequence seen on this map which I think matched the course we ran in March very well. 

The opening sequence reminded me of the types of handling challenges I used to see on AKC courses back in 2012 when I still competed in multiple venues. But lately I've been seeing more and more NADAC course maps with this same type of challenge thrown into otherwise fast and flowing courses.... which IMO changes the challenge tremendously due to 21' NADAC obstacle spacing which has a profound affect on the way dogs move through courses (I am referring to dogs that are really running vs. casually loping along).

My understanding has always been that NADAC courses were designed primarily for dogs. Courses were designed with the natural movement of dogs in mind. NADAC is unique in its encouragement of handlers who want to explore the exciting realm of big distance handling with their dogs which necessitates mutually respect and an equal partnership between handlers and dogs. There is no other venue that offers this level of support and encouragement. Distance is an integral part of NADAC... imo.

In other venues, jumpers courses are not designed to be run at a distance. My understanding as well as my personal experience running NADAC courses with three different dogs, is courses run smoother and faster at a distance (if dogs have the necessary foundation skills) even with mini-dogs. My personal opinion about the opening sequence above is that its a good example of a current common challenge I'm seeing that has a better chance of a dog running fluidly with close handling and a bit of micro-management to help fast and long-striding dogs get through illogical spots that necessitate collection and lead changes like seen at LC1 and LC2 if the handler is on the dog's right side. I suppose one could eliminate LC1 by handling from the dog's left side to start so the dog starts and starts off on the left lead but that is besides the point of this post.

My dogs are trained to work at a distance and they appear to enjoy the freedom that comes with distance. They get to use their intelligence to run the courses I'm showing them however they see fit (in collection or in extension). For for me, I would not choose to handle that opening sequence up close or want to micro-manage to force collection or an awkward lead change. My approach is to look at bonus boxes for handling clues...whether I plan to attempt a bonus or not. I learned this from my good friend Lynn Smitley who said something like "the bonus box is a clue about the course designer's intended handling challenges." When Lynn uttered these words years ago, she was 100% correct. Bonus boxes used to offer valuable information about handling options even when I expanded the box significantly which I often did. However, now when I look at bonus boxes, I often feel like they were added after the course was designed vs. being an integral part of the design. And when I walk some (not all) of the current courses, I wonder if the course designer took time to envision a full range of dogs running the course to see if the motion required of them was reasonable/ logical to dogs.

Takoda has been out of commission since a mid-March trial due to a sacrum injury. This has given me 6 weeks to think about what I want to do moving forward. I still love NADAC and sincerely hope the future of NADAC course design will incorporate some sort of review process that will ensure course challenges continue in the NADAC tradition of rewarding dogs that have been trained to run courses with intelligence, confidence, fluidity, and speed at reasonable to big distances from their handlers. IMO this is the core of NADAC. Its what sets NADAC apart from other venues.

This sequence is one example of course design I don't see as what I think of as "NADAC."  I can post other maps with other examples if people are interested. If I am one of a small group of people who have issues with current courses, I will let it go.  I hope people will be willing to share their thoughts on this public forum.   

Dev, Takoda and Lil
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Rosemary on May 04, 2018, 08:54:15 AM
Can you explain specifically what you object to?  I do not have big distance with my dogs and often run with them.  However, we have been practicing the distance and I believe that I would be able to handle the opening from a distance, possibly even the bonus box with one of my dogs.  It looks pretty flowy to me, although there is a chance for an off course.  That, to me, is a timing issue on the part of the handler - something I am working on.
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 09:07:15 AM
So Iím going to give personal opinion here instead of my normal nadac view.  Maybe that will help more.

1-5 is not a sequence that lends its self to flow without the handler creating it.

In other words,  you canít fall asleep on the course and let your dog fill in the blanks.

Does that mean it doesnít flow? Or that it isnít nadac?  No not in my opinion.

It just means the handler has to work to make that flow happen.    Which is something I have to say a lot of handlers struggle with.

If my dog wasnít listening to me, this wouldnít run well.   If I was late with my Ďeasy, comeí this wouldnít run well.   Basically if anything went sideways from my intended plan it wouldnít run well.

That to me doesnít make it a bad course.  Challenging,  definitely.

And lastly, and probably most important,  how this course is set is HUGE in how it runs.   Iíve seen it set well, and not so well.  And it makes a dramatic difference in how it runs.

But again that is part of being a handler.  If a course is set in a way you donít appreciate you should always weigh whether you want to run it,  and if you do how you will adjust your handling to make it flow.   Every once in awhile youíre going to get a course you donít like,  a judge is going to have an off day.   That doesnít mean itís the new direction of anything.  Itís just an off day.


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Edraith on May 04, 2018, 09:16:30 AM
To me it looks flow-y...I mean...it doesn't seem that much different from a serp?
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Kyle on May 04, 2018, 11:16:03 AM
I'm kind of with Rosemary, I'm not quite sure I understand what your concern is. Is it the path from obstacle 2 to 3 or, is it the path from 3 to 4 that's concerning? Knowing a couple of different Bonus handlers who each have different training methods and thought processes (myself included, so that's at least 3 different points of view), my bet is we would all be processing this in our own ways. I'd love to hear a more in-depth thought process you have in accomplishing the sequence because at this point my understanding of your post is that it's not flowing - but I may be totally misunderstanding you.

I always understood Sharon to say that the challenges she looked for in possible Bonus courses were that there was speed and collection (sometimes more than once on a course), dog comes in to you and out away from you (sometimes more than once on a course). Changes of direction and lead changes are required. I guess I'm looking at obstacles 1 - 5 as being something I've seen quite a few times as a Bonus handler in the last 10 or so (?) years. (In fact, a long time ago  ;) we would have seen a line going from 1 to 21 making 1 - 5 even more interesting! But, of course, that doesn't pertain here.)

The way I was taught (or at least how I *interpret* how I was taught  ;D) to look at the sequence is something like:
Obstacles 2 - 3 requires me to lift my left arm to get the slight turn from 2 to 3 along with lead change to the left lead. (I am not going to use a "switch" here because it is so slight of an angle - but that's just me. Yours may be different.) From 3 to 4 I need to allow the dog to do a little "drift", just as you show with your blue line, so I can call the dog towards me (changes lead to the right lead) and then give a "switch" (changes lead to the left lead)  to get to #4. This will give the dog a really *nice* arc that will carry it through the pin wheel and actually all the way to #11. Whew!

I'm just guessing that you are concerned with the slight angle left (#3) to the harder right turn (#4) to the left turn (#5)? The way I see it, if #3 was somewhat in line with #2 to #4, it might actually be a flatter/harder/jerkier turn into the pin wheel, making it much less flowing for the dog than what it already is. I don't know if that is what you might be suggesting as a change for the course or not, but I'm just throwing that possibility out there...

My feeling (without having actually run this, of course!) is that the "wiggle" to the come to me to the switch isn't anything "new" and can actually accentuate the connection between me and the dog as it requires it right at the start. Might make the dog pay a little closer attention for later on? I dunno...and again, maybe I'm way off base trying to understand your thinking on this.

Just some random thoughts....

-Kyle
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 11:24:18 AM
Here is another current jumpers course with an opening sequence that necessitates a little push to #3 and a pull to #4 if handling from the bonus box (a common sequence I've been noticing on recent courses),  The box happens to be in the same general location of the course I posted a map of earlier.  IMO this entire course, including the opening sequence, offers much better flow from a "dog motion" perspective.   I think most people will agree that this course has its challenging spots especially with a fast, long-striding dog.  I am posting this map to clarify that courses can be challenging from a handling perspective and still have good flow for fast and long-striding dogs.
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Kyle on May 04, 2018, 11:47:17 AM
Interestingly enough, on "Keen", my longish striding dogs would find the turns from #7 to #8 to #9 as much flatter, making it more difficult and a little less "flowy" than anything on the "Magma" course.  :) My opinion is that every course offers different challenges to each dog no matter the size or length of stride. Keeps it exciting to watch all the different styles of training, handling and thought processes!

JMHO,
Kyle
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 11:58:52 AM
Amanda and myself would sum it up like this.

Magma = handler challenge course
Keen = dog challenge course


The majority of folks will prefer the latter


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 12:19:19 PM
I totally agree!  Based on my experiences running two very different dogs, I can say with 99% certainly they also prefer the latter.   I have always associated NADAC with dog-challenging courses and other venues with handler-challenging courses (with some overlap of course).  I felt like my dogs and I were doubles partners in NADAC vs. my dog was my tennis racket in other venues (mostly USDAA, a little AKC, and a little TDAA).  I can't recall where I heard that analogy but it resonated enough for me to remember it.   

My sincere questions are: What is NADAC?  What are the underlying principles that guide course design. 
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 12:21:37 PM
I will say before this ever gets to the point of nadac becoming like other venues,  just look at an elite level course from those other venues.

It is very very obvious where nadac is different


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 12:27:48 PM
Actually Iíll just go ahead and post some.
AKC
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180504/5390df292e3bd1d600bd09c8283f65ec.jpg)

USDAA
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180504/8531dc8c524e289fd9ed70cf2eafc1d7.jpg)

UKI
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180504/16bbfd7360612c343176456b087c5005.jpg)



Can we all agree at this point that nadac is not becoming like other venues?


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Jeff Lyons on May 04, 2018, 12:29:32 PM
These are ONLY my thoughts and opinions. 

This course seems to be a fair elite challenge.  It should run very fast.  In Jumpers, we usually want some areas of collection, a few changes of side (lead changes) and some areas of flat out running.  This course has a lot of areas to flat out run.  1-3 brings speed into the first turn, which requires the handler to be engaged.  The dog is then switched to its left lead from 4 all the way to 11 (a third of the course) which allows a lot of speed build-up to the lead change for 11-12; that right lead only lasts for three obstacles, and then the dog is back on the left until 19-20.

I look at courses for what I recognize as very basic elements like pinwheels, loops, 180's, and serpentines. Other than those elements, the course will typically flow in curvy arcs or straight lines.  This course presents two loops (4-5-6) and (11-12-13-14 making a complete circle).  Other than that, it is mostly intuitive straight line or arcs.  Since 4-5-6 is a simple loop seen on all kinds of NADAC courses, it is the lead-in from 2-3-4 that seems to be at issue,

It appears to me that the course designer was looking to present the off-course 6/16 jump to the dog as it approached 3 with good speed from the straight lines presented by 1-2-3.  I agree with Chris that the handler would need to keep engaged for the sequence 1-4, but it does not feel awkward to me. 

In isolation, if you just look at those 3 obstacles and take away all of the others, 3-4-5 looks funky, but seeing 4-5-6 as a loop, it only appears that lead in to the loop from 3-4 with the switch to 5 is something that would require a handling moment.   

In micro managing,  maybe the angle of 3-4 is a little flat on paper (since 4-5-6 is just a loop), but 3-4 is certainly fair (and probably gets ďhelped outĒ when it gets set).   Would I want to see changes?  While all courses will have room for improvement, I don't see anything that requires changing.   Depending on how it was set, it may be prudent to add a yard between 6-7 by bringing down the 3/7/17 jump which would ease the angle from 3-4.  I would stay away from changing the 1-2-3 angle because it would likely take away the visual line that the dog should have for the potential off course at 6/16. 

Personally, I would definitely give this a go from the bonus box.     
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 12:30:36 PM
All the same principles apply.

Speed
Distance
Flow

Just because the handler has to work a little harder doesnít mean those options arenít there.

Try to make any more than 1 of the above work on the other courses I posted and it should become obvious how nadac is different


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Marcy Matties on May 04, 2018, 12:44:13 PM
Actually Iíll just go ahead and post some.
AKC
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180504/5390df292e3bd1d600bd09c8283f65ec.jpg)

USDAA
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180504/8531dc8c524e289fd9ed70cf2eafc1d7.jpg)

UKI
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180504/16bbfd7360612c343176456b087c5005.jpg)



Can we all agree at this point that nadac is not becoming like other venues?


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At least on the Senior course I could find the next number without standing on my head 😳☺️☺️
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Amanda Nelson on May 04, 2018, 12:55:04 PM
I like a mix of of handler and dog challenge courses and I definitely do not think that just because a course is a handler challenge course that means that it is a course where I am not a teammate to my dog? Definitely not.

I teach around 20+ seminars a year and over 10 various online classes. And what I work on more than anything else is teaching handlers to see challenges in courses, to see lines in courses and how to address them. Magma is a handler challenge course, you have to be able to read lines, and your cues have to be on time. Your cue cannot happen while your dog is taking off for a jump, it cannot happen in the air (how can a dog collect when his feet have left the ground?) I want my cues to be 2 strides before the jump, that is my ideal. That gives the dog enough time to either collect or extend and tells them where we are going next. 

I have run Keen and it is a nice course that I enjoyed running with my dogs, and it is more of a dog challenge course, and I donít think my dogs prefer one or the other, it is teamwork no matter the style.

There have been lots of good points in the post, and I definitely agree with Kyle, Jeff, and Chrisís posts.

Amanda


I totally agree!  Based on my experiences running two very different dogs, I can say with 99% certainly they also prefer the latter.   I have always associated NADAC with dog-challenging courses and other venues with handler-challenging courses (with some overlap of course).  I felt like my dogs and I were doubles partners in NADAC vs. my dog was my tennis racket in other venues (mostly USDAA, a little AKC, and a little TDAA).  I can't recall where I heard that analogy but it resonated enough for me to remember it.   

My sincere questions are: What is NADAC?  What are the underlying principles that guide course design.
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Jeannie Biggers on May 04, 2018, 01:34:28 PM
I would step in the box if Magma were set at a trial.  I would sure not ask for a ton of speed from my dog going into #3 (handler responsibility) so I could get a nice turn to #4.  I think your blue line is showing a very bad path... it should be much more efficient then that IMO.  I also stepped into the box for Keen and if I remember right (Amanda can you remember?) I got it but had a dropped bar :( 

I also stepped in the box this past weekend on a jumpers course that I hated.... I tried it.... it went about how I thought it would go and deleted the video.  No reason to get all up in arms and wonder what the direction of NADAC is going. 

Over the past 10 years of doing bonus work you find some courses are just amazing (for your team) and others suck.... thats life.  I might get a bonus and my friend wont, then the next course she will and I wont. 
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 03:58:56 PM
For clarification, my original post was only in reference to the opening sequence.  I agree that most of that course was super fast and flowing and easy to handle.   For me its the combination of the two extremes "fast and flowing EXCEPT RIGHT HERE and RIGHT THERE  that I personally object to.  It feels like a trick...that will trip up dogs if the handler is not PERFECT.. and quite frankly who is perfect all the time?  Not me.   I selected this opening sequence because of the naturally fast line (from the dog's perspective) from 1, 2, to 3 to a super flat turn to #4 with #6 looming as a WC.  Three were many HARD landings after #3 and some ugly scrambles as dogs reorganized themselves after #4 due to the flat turn from #3, either by being on the wrong lead.. or perhaps just because the dog fell THE ZONE.

Someone said she'd slow her dog down from the get go to get a nice efficient line from #1 to #4 and yes.  That worked well at the trial I was at.......slower dogs and small dogs looked perfectly fine running this sequence including my mini dog Lil.  I don't think people were intentionally trying to slow their dogs down for handling purposes though. :)

Also for clarification, I look at international course maps with the same attention to FLOW as I do when looking at NADAC course maps.  IMO any style of course can be designed with FLOW in mind including international courses.  Back sides are often easier to get in flow than front sides if the dog has been trained to have an independent performance of various jumping techniques found on international courses.

A friend of mine recently posted this run that shows how an international course can be run in flow.  IMO a well designed course offers handlers the option to create a flowing path for their dogs...if the dog has the training on board to do his job independently.  As you will see if you watch the video below, Dawn is a great dog trainer (her dog knows his job well) so she can focus on her job, which is showing her dog the fastest, most flowing line through the course.  Dawn is a master at finding the best line for her dogs.. big and small (which is rarely the tightest line) and then handling the dog's path incredibly well.   As a result her dogs all run with confidence, boldness, nice extension, and most importantly in my book, her dogs run and jump with natural motion.  Its not surprising to me that Dawn ends up on the podium time and time again. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WfFEM-5hrs&feature=youtu.be

I'll end with this thought:  I don't think anyone is having any new realizations by reading this thread.  Everyone seems pretty set in their opinions... including me.. so perhaps this entire thread is pointless and we should all forget I ever brought up this subject.  I'm thinking this is a brilliant idea.

Can we all agree on this point?  :) 





Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 04:01:57 PM
Would a bonus run, on this course, with a 96 DRI change your mind at all?




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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 04:18:56 PM
Would a bonus run, on this course, with a 96 DRI change your mind at all?



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One dog running a course well won't make me like a course I don't like :).. but if this bonus run happened in Phoenix mid March, I'd like to watch the video.  The trial was divided into 2 groups so I missed watching half of all runs.  There was another common HARD landling spot I'd be curious to see if this dog ran smoothly... so please post it if its from Phoenix.  Thanks  Dev 
Title: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 04:22:45 PM
Itís not from Phoenix.

And sadly maybe youíre right,  seems minds are set at this point.   Which is sad.   I was under the impression this thread was discussing course design and the direction of the current courses and whether they are valid,    But if that conversation is only acceptable when it goes in one direction then itís not a great day and Iíll be retiring from this thread.




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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Amanda Nelson on May 04, 2018, 04:38:36 PM
"Three were many HARD landings after #3 and some ugly scrambles as dogs reorganized themselves after #4 due to the flat turn from #3, either by being on the wrong lead.. or perhaps just because the dog fell THE ZONE"

The issue that I have with this statement is that if dogs are landing hard, that means the cue is late. Even if you are giving your cue as the dog is taking off, it is too late, your dog will have to land hard to make that turn. (to either collect or extend.)

And Dawn has fantastic runs and I LOVE watching her, she also cues her dogs a minimum of 2 strides before every obstacle, so the dog knows whether to collect/extend and what kind of turn to make.

I understand you don't like the course, and that is fine, everyone is entitled to their opinions! But, this is a fair sequence, it is a fair challenge, and it is a handler challenge.  The handler must work every sequence, the handler must give cues in a timely fashion,  and this is a sequence I have seen for many years in NADAC.

Amanda
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: BeckyAH on May 04, 2018, 04:44:21 PM
The only thing I can possibly add is confirmation of what Amanda's saying:

This isn't a new sequence type, for me.  I've only been around for about 4 years, but it is FAR from the first time I've seen that sort of opening.   

And.  Honestly?  I'm not a super-good handler, but 'feels like a trap' is... kind of a weird one for me, personally.  I mean, yeah, it sort of is.  In as much as every time we call a dog off a potential off course that seems obvious to them.  Which is a situation that occurs pretty regularly on courses in all classes.
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: ricbonner on May 04, 2018, 05:22:11 PM
I've been competing in NADAC for 7 years, and to me this seems very NADAC-esque.  There are always courses that setup the dog on a line and then challenge the handler to get the dog to turn off that obvious path.  I call them off-course traps and look for them when I walk.  Some are obvious, others are less so.  My dogs always seem to find the traps I don't see.  But they are very common.  Those are the challenges that differentiate teams.  It takes a capable dog, a capable handler and excellent communication between them to perform these well.  If it was easy it would be boring.

Also, one of the things I've learned is that sometimes I find it advantageous to push my dog a little off their line between 2 obstacles to change the approach angle for the next obstacle into more of a slice, and that helps smooth a sharp turn later.  For example, in the course in the first image of this thread, I might pull my dog to the right after jump 1, then reverse it to a push to 2, so my dog is slicing jump 2 to the left, which then opens the entry to 3 as the dog is approaching 3 from the left and slicing to the right already.  Basically running an S pattern from 1 to 3 instead of a straight line.  The approach to 4 then becomes obvious and smooth, then it is just a reverse pinwheel through 5 and 6.  Sacrificing a little yardage from 1 to 3 can help smooth the turn from 3 to 4 and really help the dog know to go to 4 instead of the off course 6.  I find that technique very useful.  For me a smooth line is the best line.  So I try and set my dog up for a smooth turn.
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Kyle on May 04, 2018, 05:37:42 PM
Humming around about "dog challenge" vs. "handler challenge" courses and seeing the courses Chris posted, I'm kinda wondering whether we are talking about "mental" vs. "physical" challenges. *My opinion* would be that the courses Chris posted would very likely be "dog *and* handler physical challenge"/"handler mental challenge" courses. In those courses the dog would be incredibly physically challenged to make those turns and the handler is physically challenged to get where they need to be to help! (Noting also that the entrances to some of those obstacles and contacts are a true physical challenge to do *safely*.) It might also be said that the courses would be mentally challenging to the dog in that they must be totally focused on where the handler wants to go vs. it being in any way intuitive for the dog.

And, silly me, I actually prefer a "handler challenge" course since I figure my dog can knock just about anything out of the park but it depends on *me* understanding/reading the course correctly *and* having my head in the game to get the right timing. NADAC courses (especially doing Bonuses) offer me PLENTY of "handler challenge". I don't need to do all the "dog physical challenge" stuff to be pushed to my mental limits!  ;D ("Handler physical challenges" just are not going to be my thing....hahahaha!)

Just some more humming on this....

-Kyle
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 05:49:05 PM
Everyone who commented has expressed contentment with the types of courses they get to run with their dogs at current NADAC trials.  I am happy for everyone who is happy with the way things are.. Its a great place to be!!!  I've been there.   Enjoy!     Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Kyle on May 04, 2018, 06:19:15 PM
For clarification, my original post was only in reference to the opening sequence.  I agree that most of that course was super fast and flowing and easy to handle.   For me its the combination of the two extremes "fast and flowing EXCEPT RIGHT HERE and RIGHT THERE  that I personally object to.  It feels like a trick...that will trip up dogs if the handler is not PERFECT.. and quite frankly who is perfect all the time?  Not me.   I selected this opening sequence because of the naturally fast line (from the dog's perspective) from 1, 2, to 3 to a super flat turn to #4 with #6 looming as a WC.  Three were many HARD landings after #3 and some ugly scrambles as dogs reorganized themselves after #4 due to the flat turn from #3, either by being on the wrong lead.. or perhaps just because the dog fell THE ZONE.

***********

I'll end with this thought:  I don't think anyone is having any new realizations by reading this thread.  Everyone seems pretty set in their opinions... including me.. so perhaps this entire thread is pointless and we should all forget I ever brought up this subject.  I'm thinking this is a brilliant idea.

Can we all agree on this point?  :)

Dev,
I'm wondering if what you and I call "required collection" are actually two different things and perhaps that might be the issue here? Perhaps our picture of it is different, which isn't a problem but maybe it's confusing for us? I only say this due to your thought, "For me its the combination of the two extremes "fast and flowing EXCEPT RIGHT HERE and RIGHT THERE  that I personally object to." I guess I would be thinking that the "RIGHT HERE and RIGHT HERE" are required collection points which are, to me, just a part of normal courses and as the handler, I need to prepare my dog for those collection points. If I haven't taught my dog how to prepare for and then execute collection, we're going to be in a big world of hurt doing Bonuses.

The video you sent us - wow! what a great team! - showed a dog doing numerous collections and I also noted a very *short* stride. Lots of strides between obstacles. You had mentioned your dog having long strides so there's a huge difference in how her dog and yours might accomplish that course. But I would imagine that both would have numerous collections, the amount of time required to actually perform those collections may vary....

It's too bad you want to quit this thread, there's been some wonderful comments here with lots to think about! "ricbonner" (sorry, I don't know your real name!) made a terrific comment regarding the possible need to add a bit of yardage (what I might call "rounding out") to achieve the goal of a smoother sequence. Jeannie mentioned perhaps slowing the dog down a bit - another option! And, of course, the visuals Chris sent us to remind at least me, of why I do NADAC rather than other venues.  ;D

-Kyle

Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 06:47:39 PM
For clarification, my original post was only in reference to the opening sequence.  I agree that most of that course was super fast and flowing and easy to handle.   For me its the combination of the two extremes "fast and flowing EXCEPT RIGHT HERE and RIGHT THERE  that I personally object to.  It feels like a trick...that will trip up dogs if the handler is not PERFECT.. and quite frankly who is perfect all the time?  Not me.   I selected this opening sequence because of the naturally fast line (from the dog's perspective) from 1, 2, to 3 to a super flat turn to #4 with #6 looming as a WC.  Three were many HARD landings after #3 and some ugly scrambles as dogs reorganized themselves after #4 due to the flat turn from #3, either by being on the wrong lead.. or perhaps just because the dog fell THE ZONE.

***********

I'll end with this thought:  I don't think anyone is having any new realizations by reading this thread.  Everyone seems pretty set in their opinions... including me.. so perhaps this entire thread is pointless and we should all forget I ever brought up this subject.  I'm thinking this is a brilliant idea.

Can we all agree on this point?  :)

Dev,
I'm wondering if what you and I call "required collection" are actually two different things and perhaps that might be the issue here? Perhaps our picture of it is different, which isn't a problem but maybe it's confusing for us? I only say this due to your thought, "For me its the combination of the two extremes "fast and flowing EXCEPT RIGHT HERE and RIGHT THERE  that I personally object to." I guess I would be thinking that the "RIGHT HERE and RIGHT HERE" are required collection points which are, to me, just a part of normal courses and as the handler, I need to prepare my dog for those collection points. If I haven't taught my dog how to prepare for and then execute collection, we're going to be in a big world of hurt doing Bonuses.

The video you sent us - wow! what a great team! - showed a dog doing numerous collections and I also noted a very *short* stride. Lots of strides between obstacles. You had mentioned your dog having long strides so there's a huge difference in how her dog and yours might accomplish that course. But I would imagine that both would have numerous collections, the amount of time required to actually perform those collections may vary....

It's too bad you want to quit this thread, there's been some wonderful comments here with lots to think about! "ricbonner" (sorry, I don't know your real name!) made a terrific comment regarding the possible need to add a bit of yardage (what I might call "rounding out") to achieve the goal of a smoother sequence. Jeannie mentioned perhaps slowing the dog down a bit - another option! And, of course, the visuals Chris sent us to remind at least me, of why I do NADAC rather than other venues.  ;D

-Kyle

Kyle,  Your description of how you'd handle the opener is the same way I think in terms of handling.   My BC was injured at the trial where I ran this course... so I can't say we even "ran" this course.  He was not turning well, or weaving well and he had started avoiding the DW by the end of the trial.  6 weeks later he is starting to look good again and we are getting back to doing some agility training (gradually).   

I could have picked other course maps as examples of courses that tend to run choppy at certain points for a lot of dogs (and not necessarily my dogs).  My intention in starting this thread was not to focus on this particular course or on how to best handle it.. but rather on the future of NADAC course design.  There have been a lot of private messages going back and forth between competitors who have expressed dissatisfaction with current courses.  However, I decided up front if those people were not willing to publicly express their opinions then so be it.. and so it is. I also stated up front if I am the only person who shares this POV (publicly), then I will let it go.. and staying true to my word, I am letting it go.  NADAC has been my favorite (and only) agility venue for many years.  I'll continue training and practicing because its FUN and I may go to an occasional local trail because that's FUN too but the days of long road trips for trials or seminars, or going to Champs are very likely a thing of the past for me.  I may go back to doing some international style course work with my dogs since we all three have the foundation skills for all the "fancy handling moves" which are really FUN to do.  I guess I'm all about whats FUN for my dogs and myself and totally get that FUN is different for every sentient being.   Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 07:09:11 PM
Itís not from Phoenix.

And sadly maybe youíre right,  seems minds are set at this point.   Which is sad.   I was under the impression this thread was discussing course design and the direction of the current courses and whether they are valid,    But if that conversation is only acceptable when it goes in one direction then itís not a great day and Iíll be retiring from this thread.




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This brief conversation tended to focus on this particular course and most of the comments were about how different individuals would handle this particular course or about handling in general.  While I agree with much of what was shared about handling, that was not my purpose in starting this thread.  I was hoping a broader conversation about course design would emerge.. but it didn't.   Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 04, 2018, 07:22:38 PM
But Dev,

Your purpose was to point out that the course design of this course was bad.   And thatís where people didnít agree,  and when they didnít agree they also gave suggestions on handling so that it wouldnít be such an issue.

The conversation canít be condemned as a bad one just because your opinion didnít come out on top


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Visionagility on May 04, 2018, 07:43:40 PM
My thoughts about this discussion is apparently we all choose to train the skills needed to run in the venue we choose. In all venues you will always find areas of extension and collection weather it is on the dogs part or the handlers part it is team work that will keep it all together. There for we all have choices to run in the venues that highlight the skills we have trained, and we will always be revising and hopefully making those skills better to do the best we can do in the all venues we play in. So really now it is a personal training decision and or personal decision to run the courses we feel most comfortable running. In all honestly always wanting to perfect certain skills and or performances to be able to master all courses in multiple venues is going to require training to be prepared. NADAC has always showcased a teams ability to extend and collect in sequences either at the beginning or the end or somewhere in the middle. So train for it and have fun.   
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 04, 2018, 07:51:40 PM
But Dev,

Your purpose was to point out that the course design of this course was bad.   And thatís where people didnít agree,  and when they didnít agree they also gave suggestions on handling so that it wouldnít be such an issue.

The conversation canít be condemned as a bad one just because your opinion didnít come out on top


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Chris, I accept your criticism but for clarity's sake, I don't think it was a bad conversation.. just not a particularly enlightening one for anyone....but perhaps me.  Everyone got to share their point of view and that is always nice.  I get it. The people who commented that they like courses just as they are is something I stated I'd accept and I do.  I wanted to know if most people like these types of courses and they do.   I am mostly over the disappointment I felt immediately following reading consistent disagreement with my POV.   As of this moment, I have nearly completed the process of letting go.  I think I'll be done tomorrow morning.   For what its worth, I don't have bad feelings towards anyone or anything because one thing I know for sure is that nothing in life is permanent.. and I'm good with that! 

Onward and upward to all!  Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: AndreaEntin on May 05, 2018, 05:49:48 AM
Now I have to go home and set up this course and try it.  Lol

From the box.
Andrea
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Kyle on May 05, 2018, 07:15:45 AM

I could have picked other course maps as examples of courses that tend to run choppy at certain points for a lot of dogs (and not necessarily my dogs).  My intention in starting this thread was not to focus on this particular course or on how to best handle it.. but rather on the future of NADAC course design.  There have been a lot of private messages going back and forth between competitors who have expressed dissatisfaction with current courses.  However, I decided up front if those people were not willing to publicly express their opinions then so be it.. and so it is. I also stated up front if I am the only person who shares this POV (publicly), then I will let it go.. and staying true to my word, I am letting it go. 
 Dev

Dev,

I hope you haven't left us yet. You mentioned people chatting privately about being dissatisfied with current courses and it's too bad they have chosen to remain silent rather than have a discussion about it. The usual way to resolve dissatisfaction is to talk about it and propose possible changes. You did give us two courses that we could see (thank you! the visual did help) that might describe one of the things that people aren't happy about. It would be even better if solutions to those problems were brought forward also. What might have been changed on, say, those two courses that may have made them more "NADACy" in your mind?

I ask because I still don't understand what changes have been made to courses. I haven't been trialing a ton lately, but I have been doing some (all NADAC), plus I talk to a LOT of people who do trial a lot. I just haven't been hearing what you're hearing about courses. It would be really great to have better clarification on what exactly people aren't liking and how they would choose to make it better. Like, how would you suggest getting rid of "choppy" parts and what constitutes "choppy" vs. collection? Maybe that's a better question??  :)

Hope you're still hangin' in with us!

-Kyle
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 05, 2018, 02:50:33 PM

I could have picked other course maps as examples of courses that tend to run choppy at certain points for a lot of dogs (and not necessarily my dogs).  My intention in starting this thread was not to focus on this particular course or on how to best handle it.. but rather on the future of NADAC course design.  There have been a lot of private messages going back and forth between competitors who have expressed dissatisfaction with current courses.  However, I decided up front if those people were not willing to publicly express their opinions then so be it.. and so it is. I also stated up front if I am the only person who shares this POV (publicly), then I will let it go.. and staying true to my word, I am letting it go. 
 Dev

Dev,

I hope you haven't left us yet. You mentioned people chatting privately about being dissatisfied with current courses and it's too bad they have chosen to remain silent rather than have a discussion about it. The usual way to resolve dissatisfaction is to talk about it and propose possible changes. You did give us two courses that we could see (thank you! the visual did help) that might describe one of the things that people aren't happy about. It would be even better if solutions to those problems were brought forward also. What might have been changed on, say, those two courses that may have made them more "NADACy" in your mind?

I ask because I still don't understand what changes have been made to courses. I haven't been trialing a ton lately, but I have been doing some (all NADAC), plus I talk to a LOT of people who do trial a lot. I just haven't been hearing what you're hearing about courses. It would be really great to have better clarification on what exactly people aren't liking and how they would choose to make it better. Like, how would you suggest getting rid of "choppy" parts and what constitutes "choppy" vs. collection? Maybe that's a better question??  :)

Hope you're still hangin' in with us!

-Kyle

Kyle,  Thank you for caring.  I appreciate it! I'm leaving it to each person to speak (or not speak) for herself. I have to admit the silence feels deafening to me right now.   As of this morning the topic had 32 Replies and 378 Views and most of the replies are from a handful of people. 

I thought about posting more course maps to "make my case" / show examples of other sections that I feel would support my POV but the response will likely still be IT'S A HANDLING ISSUE or perhaps shift to IT'S A TRAINING ISSUE.  I think we all agree that running courses necessitates appropriate and timely handling and that handling is a whole lot easier if a dog has good foundation skills.   

I was hoping for a broader conversation about THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF NADAC COURSE DESIGN which I used to think were heavily weighted towards the dog's perspective and how dogs naturally move.  I  honestly always thought NADAC courses were designed first and foremost with dogs in mind which led me to  stop competing in other venues many years ago for the sake of my much beloved dogs.  Was my thinking misguided all along?  I don't think so.  There have always been things I have not liked about NADAC like the 8' A-frame at champs when most clubs use 9'ers, or the way dogs were divided into groups prior to 2016 (or whenever they changed grouping to be by wither height vs. jump height) but those issues have not stopped me from wanting to stay fully engaged.  But over the past year or so, I honestly think I'm seeing real changes in how dogs are navigating through what I call "choppy" or "illogical" sections of courses. This has stopped me in my tracks.

When I watch teams run courses, I naturally watch the dog vs. the handler unless I try really really hard to TRY TO WATCH the handler too but I'm still mostly watching the dog.  I can't help myself.   I think watching a bunch of dogs run the same course shows course design from the dog's perspective.  "Choppy" can be minimized and barely noticeable with PERFECT handling or when handlers run their "comfortable as an old shoe" dogs or when handlers run slower dogs that lope through courses.. or run mini-dogs that take 5 strides between most obstacles.  But inherent choppiness (of course design) can still be visible even with these groups of dogs in subtle ways if you look closely.

I love watching the details of a dog's movement: where they are looking, where they add a stride or leave a stride out, where and when they change leads, where their footwork is funky (tripping over themselves, slipping, scrambling, or turning the wrong way) where less motivated dogs turn to sniffing, or high strung dogs turn to barking, jumping, nipping, or running off to take whatever obstacle, or just running.

I will offer details of the opening sequence (the way I see it from the dog's perspective) but I don't want to have a conversation about the minutiae of this opening sequence.   I could have easily picked another sequence with different minutiae.  The following description is not about handling... Its about canine motion.. what the long-striding or super fast dog is likely doing on this opening sequence.  This is my attempt to have a conversation about the guiding principles of NADAC course design.  I don't know how else to say it.

To answer Kyle's question: What would have made the opening sequence more NADACee comes from the dog's perspective.  Modify jump #4 (and shift other jumps affected by the changes made to #4) (or change what happens after #4). The purpose of changing #4 is not to soften the path from #3 - #4 but rather to take into consideration the dog's natural movement and lead changes from the start line to the #3 jump.  Dogs running in semi-collection and medium to slow speed dogs have plenty of opportunities (more strides and more time) to change to the left lead when pushed out to #3 and then change back to the right lead without also needing to power down (collect) before jumping #3.  A loping dog will have no trouble getting back on the right lead and then taking a stride on that right lead to jump #3.  This offers a nice turn to #4.. no choppiness.

Long-striding, enthusiastic, confident big dogs will power off the start line and jump #1 in extension, landing long, then take one full stride to a nice take off spot for jumping #2 in extension.  They will jump #2 in extension landing long again (dog still on the right lead which the subtle arc of my blue line on the map indicates). The handler can begin to push after the dog is committed to #2 and an experienced dog might switch leads in the air but more likely the dog will land on its right lead then switch to the left lead as he moves away from the handler towards #3.  Once the dog is committed to the lead change, the handler can release pressure and begin to cue collection... but it has to happen in a millesecond... because a long-striding dog running with strong forward momentum will need time to reorganize his body and legs to power down, add a stride, and switch leads again.  Up until the point of cuing collection the dog is planning on jumping #3 in extension.. because of the change to left lead and seeing the #6 jump as the next logical jump.   

If indeed this type of sequence is so common in NADAC that experienced dogs come to recognize it and run it with some self-directed collection, I have to ask the question:  How did these dogs gain that experience? My answer is by earlier lessons such as hard landings... sometimes on the wrong lead, being called off WCs, running around jumps, tripping over themselves trying to make surprise turns, losing their flow.  What other types of lessons might some dogs learn as they gain "experience" running through what I call "choppy" sequences: I better slow down, I better leave start line cautiously, I better run in semi-collection, I better wait for my handler to show me the next obstacle.   

The point I am trying to make is if a long-striding dog powers out of the start line, the combination of lead changes and collection necesary to get a nice turn from #3 to #4 will create unnatural movement for the dog.  This imo takes the wind (joy) out of many dog's sails and adds wind (frustration) in other dog's sails causing things to fall apart between #4 and #5.   One can watch teams run this sequence and say  "The handler was 'late" but imo,  the underlying cause was the long striding confident dog didn't have time to organize himself given the tasks at hand...2 lead changes combined with powering down from 2 strides to either 3 or 4 strides between #1 and #3.   

Can long-striding dogs get through this sequence? Yes.  Can "old comfortable shoe" dogs make this sequence look nice? Yes... but that is not my point.   Are these the kinds of challenges the course designer intended for dogs to have?  I don't think so.  I think they are just a byproduct of a sequence designed for the handler.. which is unNADACee to me.   There are so many different ways to challenge handlers while also keeping the dog's perspective in mind.   

On an ending note, every "old shoe" dog started off as a young dog with endless possibilities.   What types of "experiences" we want our dogs to have is up to us.   I have learned so much from my young, long-striding, totally biddable, intelligent BC Takoda who always gives me his best effort and shows me agility from a dog's perspective.   

Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 03:46:04 PM
I would be interested in the other courses.

Again,  a huge number of courses from the last year have been recycled from years past.   So this whole thing intrigued me as I feel itís a very mental thing considering mostly what has been ran is very very old nadac courses.


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 05, 2018, 03:55:30 PM
I would be interested in the other courses.

Again,  a huge number of courses from the last year have been recycled from years past.   So this whole thing intrigued me as I feel itís a very mental thing considering mostly what has been ran is very very old nadac courses.


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I'm hoping people will post course maps. I have some that people have shared with me.. courses they didn't like but those are not for me to share.  Those people need to be willing to stand up and be heard publicly.   One thought re: my long post... if you feel that nothing has changed for years,  perhaps you can look at what I'm saying as a suggestion on how to make NADAC even better than its been in the past.  Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 05, 2018, 03:57:17 PM
I would be interested in the other courses.

Again,  a huge number of courses from the last year have been recycled from years past.   So this whole thing intrigued me as I feel itís a very mental thing considering mostly what has been ran is very very old nadac courses.


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Another thought is to have someone who really understands dog motion review course maps before they go out (even the recycled ones). 

If you know which courses were run at the Elk Grove trial that Marj judged in Feb 2018, I could pick a few courses from that weekend I'd be willing to post as examples.  There were sections I thought were "illogical" from a dog motion perspective.. but I didn't photograph the maps.   Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 04:03:24 PM
I would be interested in the other courses.

Again,  a huge number of courses from the last year have been recycled from years past.   So this whole thing intrigued me as I feel itís a very mental thing considering mostly what has been ran is very very old nadac courses.


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Another thought is to have someone who really understands dog motion review course maps before they go out (even the recycled ones). 

If you know which courses were run at the Elk Grove trial that Marj judged in Feb 2018, I could pick a few courses from that weekend I'd be willing to post as examples.  There were sections I thought were "illogical" from a dog motion perspective.. but I didn't photograph the maps.   Dev
Would love to!  If they wanted to be added as an employee.


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 04:07:24 PM
I would be interested in the other courses.

Again,  a huge number of courses from the last year have been recycled from years past.   So this whole thing intrigued me as I feel itís a very mental thing considering mostly what has been ran is very very old nadac courses.


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Another thought is to have someone who really understands dog motion review course maps before they go out (even the recycled ones). 

If you know which courses were run at the Elk Grove trial that Marj judged in Feb 2018, I could pick a few courses from that weekend I'd be willing to post as examples.  There were sections I thought were "illogical" from a dog motion perspective.. but I didn't photograph the maps.   Dev
Snowflake was from 2009.

Slushy was designed by one of our course designers who has been designing all of our course for roughly 10 years.


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 04:18:16 PM
Would you be opposed to attaching some videos of you running any of these courses?


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 05, 2018, 04:49:23 PM
Would you be opposed to attaching some videos of you running any of these courses?


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If you can get me the course maps from Feb Elk Grove, I might be able to post a video that corresponds with a course section I didn't like from the dog's perspective.  But I only have videos of bonus attempts since its hard to find someone to video runs at smaller trials... and sometimes people stop the video-taping when an NQ happens mid course.  If I am going to post a video of a course I didn't like from the dog's perspective then I should also post a video of a course I do like.  Not sure how many video examples I have though due to small trials and not trialing since Phoenix.

Takoda was injured at the Phoenix trial.... or a pre-existing injury showed up during that trial.  Not sure which it was but its been nearly 7 weeks and Takoda just started moving fluidly again so I think Elk Grove has the best chance of matching up videos to course maps. 

I have to say I am slightly concerned that some people who think "everything is fine the way it is" will use my videos as an opportunity to take aim at my young dog to justify their POV.   WHEW. Just the thought of that was enough to make the blood leave my head... or so it seemed.   Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 04:56:07 PM
Dev,

Would you like to have a conference call to discuss this further?

If youíre concerned with people posting something unwarranted we can approach it this way.


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 05, 2018, 05:17:20 PM
Dev,

Would you like to have a conference call to discuss this further?

If youíre concerned with people posting something unwarranted we can approach it this way.


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Thanks Chris but as I think about all the time I've spent thinking about and writing comments on a topic which appears to only be important to me, the most logical thing for me to do is to drop it and let you go back to doing whatever you were doing prior.   This really is not that big of a deal.  I'm one person moving on... Not a big deal in the scheme of things.  And seriously no bad feelings on my part.. and no bad words will come out of my mouth about NADAC.  Its been a super fun ride for many many years and I appreciate all the great friends I've made and the great experiences I've had with my dogs. One last point.  I will still train... and may even do a local trial now and then if its convenient and do VT runs when offered at Jeff and Maureen's.  So I'm not excommunicating myself or anything like that!  :)    Onward and upward to all!   Dev 
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: tag team on May 05, 2018, 05:47:26 PM
I won't be checking in on the Forum so if anyone wants to communicate with me about anything, either message me through FB or email me at devorahsperber@me.com.  Thanks. Dev
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Sharon Nelson on May 05, 2018, 06:09:43 PM

Would love to!  If they wanted to be added as an employee.


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Becky would love to!!  She is actively looking for a job big time! And she certainly knows course design!

Sharon
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 06:10:28 PM
I believe we tried that but the form for a 1099 just never got returned


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Sharon Nelson on May 05, 2018, 06:11:53 PM
I believe we tried that but the form for a 1099 just never got returned


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Becky never got one, or you would have had it back instantly when she wanted to do VT!!  I would send her one!

Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 06:13:15 PM
Probably a better conversation for private but the other folks it was sent to went through just peachy


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Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Foomin Z on May 05, 2018, 06:38:05 PM
I just don't understand how the answer to "choppy" courses in NADAC is to quit and go do international courses, which are the "choppiest," least dog-natural-motion-friendly of all. *shrug*
Title: Re: NADAC Course Design: Please share your thoughts.
Post by: Chris Nelson on May 05, 2018, 06:40:31 PM
We are going to close this thread down as Deborah would like to leave the conversation as it stands.

If anyone has concerns over nadac course design I truly hope you will voice them in a new thread.

Regardless of how this thread may have been interpreted we did evaluate the courses brought up.   We may have not agreed on the outcome, but it did start a conversation and that is always a positive situation.




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