January 29, 2014

What Would 0.33 Seconds Mean to You?

Exercise Based on the Standard Round from the 2013 AKC NAC
Exercise Based on the Standard Round from the 2013 AKC NAC
Would 0.33 seconds be the difference between Gold and Bronze? Between a Q and a placement? Between making the finals and being the first dog eliminated? Agility is often decided by the slimmest of margins, one of the reasons that we now use electronic timing. And in a speed sport, 0.33 seconds matters.

Wrap choices on course provide an interesting design element, effectively allowing competitors to run two slightly different courses! The 2013 AKC National Agility Championship standard round opened with a wrap choice. In this video (a part of the 2014 AKC National Agility Championship Prep Course), we analyze the two possible choices.


We encourage you to set up every choice you encounter, execute it both ways, video, compare, and time. Size, speed and drive of the dog will all play a part. Some choices will be obviously faster for virtually all dogs. Some choices will be better one way for all large dogs and another for all small dogs. And some choices may give identical times. Learn what factors make the biggest difference for YOUR dog.

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  • Nice demonstration of the impact of choosing which direction to wrap with other variable held constant. On a similar note, a rule of thumb I use when there is a difference in striding between two approaches is: adding a stride adds about a third of a second. For medium sized dogs it is pretty accurate. So if you look at your videos and see late/poor cues causing extra strides you can see the time slipping away…

  • Your results are questionable because there was no motion to the jump – you showed a stationary lead out. Also on the wrap to the left the handler moved away from the jump right away. The wrap to the right shows handler waiting way too long before moving away. I understand the line but depends on the dogs and the handlers execution. Motion to the jump and a fast touch and go on the wrap to the right may have yielded different results.

    • I agree that there will be variability in the time difference. Ideally, you’d run it each way a thousand times and compare times. Yes, handling obviously impacts execution in general, but in this case we assume ideal handling and execution on the dog’s part (no extra strides, maximum speed/effort, and so on) on both choices. I could have run each option more than one way (in motion, rear cross, front cross, sitting in a chair and using verbals only, and so on) and gotten the same results. Essentially, you think the dog was not at max YPS, but when we look at the video and compare strides and paths and so on, both dogs are at optimum. Ultimately, we encourage everyone to try both ways with their own dog, running each option to the best of their handling ability.

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