a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Team Gamble

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Team Gamble

SUMMARY: Tika's Team Gamblers run, and some others.

Here's the Team Gamblers course from Scottsdale:

Tika's course: We started in the left side of the tunnel, bottom center, then back into the right side. Went between the two jumps to the tire; Tika went out almost to the weaves because I was racing for the right side of the A-frame and didn't work her turn very well, so some wasted time.

She made it into the A-frame and got a paw into the yellow because I planned my path to run in front of her as she came down. I pushed her immediately into the right side of the weaves, and she hit the entry beautifully. Her weaves aren't supersonic--closer to 3 seconds than 2 seconds--but that's plenty good enough with good entries. She turned tightly to repeat the weaves perfectly. From there, I wrapped her slightly around me to the A-frame and beat feet to be in front of her on the descending side; again, she got a paw in and I pushed her straight away from me, over the jump heading for the tunnel (it looked nicer in person).

However, I meant to work a turn after the jump so that she'd move into that box of jumps, but I didn't--she headed straight for the tunnel. More wasted time. I called her off as the whistle blew to start our gamblers period as she came back over the same jump, and I worked in 4 more jumps and out over the finish line, for 49 points.

I can't tell you which jumps I did; my mind went into autopilot. I will tell you that I walked about 30 combinations of jumps during the walkthrough so that I had a variety of wraps, figure 8s, serps, etc. in my comfort range from any starting position.

My teammate did basically the same course, but went back to the tire after the second A-frame. Looks like I'd have had time to do it, too, but after watching a couple of dogs be committed to the tire when the whistle blew (meaning that they hadn't taken it yet but there was no way to pull them off it), thereby losing all their gamble points, I decided not to risk it.

Tala (Boost's mom--I always have to point that out :-) ) was the highest-scoring 26" dog. I watched the run and now I'm not sure exactly what sequence they did, but it was basically ours but in mirror image:

Right side of bottom tunnel, back into left side, over jump to tunnel on the right side, back into the tunnel, jump, jump to A-frame, A-frame, weave, weave, and then 6 jumps in the closing, for 57 points. (They might have looped the Afr/wv/afr/wv).

Watching their run, I realize that that was a better path to avoid the wide turns that I encountered, and we could've used it to get at least 3 more points in the opening, I'm pretty sure (I'd have skipped the 4th tunnel). But I'd not have been able to get in front of her on the A-frame so might have had a flyoff for 0 points. Oh, well, no do-overs!

I have no idea what Luka and Ashley's path was for their trial-high 65 points, but they had 2 more seconds in the opening and 2 more in the closing. A few of the big dogs got 6 jumps in the closing (Tika had 1.5 seconds to spare after 5 jumps), they had plenty of time for their 7 (=21 points), so needed "only" 43 in the opening. They got in 2 weaves, 6 three-pointers, two 5-pointers, and two jumps. I'll have to ask what the path looked like.


  1. I saw a number of the faster shelties get 7 jumps in the gamble. Their course was roughly tunnel, tunnel, jump, tire, frame, weaves, frame, weaves (or frame frame, weaves, weaves) chute, tire then the buzzer then jump right after the tire, back jump that jump then the 3 jumps in a row heading left to right across the field then wrap to the jump that's left of the finish then back jump that jump and out.

    I liked most of the courses at Nationals this year better than the ones last year except this one. It seemed kinda boring and I don't like encouraging my dogs to back jump.

  2. I walked a bunch of combinations of jumps, none of which involved backjumping, and the fact that Tika managed to backjump anyway shows my continuing lack of skill. :-) But in her case, she had moved far enough beyond the jump laterally that it didn't look terribly like a backjump. I'm intrigued that people had to resort to backjumps--there were so many speedy options out there with so many jumps together, and backjumping can't really be that much faster than running full out over 2 jumps.