Author Topic: Distance Challenges  (Read 4732 times)

Amanda Nelson

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #15 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.  :-)
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dogrsqr

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #16 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.

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Chris Nelson

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #17 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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Amanda Nelson

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #18 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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Janice_Shavor

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #19 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.
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Amanda Nelson

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #20 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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dogrsqr

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #21 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.  ;)

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #22 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

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KarissaKS

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #23 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
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Jeannie Biggers

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #24 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
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 08:49:50 AM by Jeannie Biggers »
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Sharon Nelson

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #25 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.

Sharon
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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #26 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.
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Sharon Nelson

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #27 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.

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Shirlene Clark

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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #28 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.
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Re: Distance Challenges
« Reply #29 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.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 12:13:47 PM by BeckyAH »