This month, I’d like to pick up on a theme that was recently discussed on beardieherd-l, the email this for those interested in herding with your beardie. The discussion was about how to best spend your points in a trial run. Now, we all know we aren’t go to go out there and have a “perfect” run. The question becomes – How do you make best use of the points you are going to lose?
First, understand the course you are running. Is this a line course, as the AKC “A” and “B” courses are? Or is the course more task oriented, as the AHBA HRD courses are? If your course is a line course, one of the best things is don’t spend points by going back, or as you will find it on your scoresheet “Retreat on course”. Once you have passed a section, don’t go back! I see more points lost when a competitor tries to go back and do it better. When a section is done, its done.
Another place that I see people losing unnecessary points is by not helping their dog, the way I’ve seen the same people helping their dog during a practice session. If there is a problem, especially in the started class, go help your dog fix it. You’ll lose more points by staying at a fixed point, and letting a wreck happen, than by going to help fix it. Now, in AKC, if you leave the handler’s post or cross a zone, most judges will NQ you. This is not true in AHBA, which does not have a 50% rule. In AHBA or ASCA, go help fix the problem before you’ve spent so many points that you’ve run out of points in a given section.
So, my tip for the month is to know the course you are running, know the judge, and understand, when to spend your points wisely.
© 2000, by Joel Levinson
This article originally appeared in “Bagpipes”. Reprinted with permission of the author.