November 19, 2005

Course Analysis

Reading Steve's Blog post about Turning Dogs Out of Straight Tunnels I was reminded that I had Stuart Mah's Course Analysis for Agility Handlers waiting to be read.

This second book in a series by Stuart Mah looks at agility courses from the handler's perspective, helping the handler to make the correct handling choices for their dogs. It explains agility terms, course elements and patterns, and describes the handling maneuvers that agility handlers need to understand to analyze a course and their handling options. The book gives handlers a specific plan they can follow to analyze courses and includes chapters that present obstacle sequences and courses so that handlers can practice their analysis skills.

Quibble number one: there is not a lot of information in the book. Between the large amount of white space and the repetition of information I was left feeling that it could have been a much smaller (and cheaper) book.

Quibble number two: Stuart regularly uses and advocates the use of the blind cross. I've adopted Greg Derrett's philosophy that my dog should never think it is ok to zip around behind me but will always be in front of the plane of my shoulders.

Even with these reservations, however, it is a well structured lesson in how to objectively plan handling techniques rather than make those decisions on the fly.

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