At our recent NADAC trial, I was a bit baffled by the fact that Jake ran out of the ring after a perfectly smooth and fast Chances run. I love having video tapes of runs because often they show me something I was unaware of in the moment. On the video tape, I heard myself say GO ON while Jake was ahead of me when he ran through the last hoop so the last thing he saw was me running behind him with my arm supporting a GO ON. At the time I thought the moral of the story was to make sure I give a turning cue when the last obstacle is facing the exit. However, after watching the video a couple of times and chewing on a few random thoughts that passed through my mind that day, I think there were more forces at play than I realized.
When Jake left the ring, it came as a total surprise to me because he did not appear to be stressed. As a matter of fact he seemed totally connected and confident from the moment he left his crate to the start line where he had a great start line stay, and then he ran fast and confidently throughout the course without even a single little bobble.
So why did he leave the ring?
The first clue emerged while I was course building after Jake’s run. I remember looking back towards the ring exit and saying to a fellow course builder: “The exit looks very exit-ee” but I didn’t think much about it at the time. What looked “exit-ee” about it was the ring fencing constructed white lattice, was very visible against the dark background of the barn. Whereas the exit consisted of a wide mesh natural wood baby gate, set an an angle so there was a very dark and visible gap, especially in contrast to the white fencing. BTW–Ring exits are typically invisible from inside the ring due to overlapping fencing that creates a channel that dogs exit through. This ring was not set up that way.
A second clue emerged later in the day when a fellow competitor said to me: “This ring fencing would make great NADAC Gates.” My response was they were a little too short but yes, they did look like NADAC Gates. But I still didn’t put it together.
A third clue emerged when I randomly thought about how much fun we had at the EGC workshop the previous weekend, which was held at the same site as the trial.
The next day, the 3 clues merged to form a highly probable hypothesis: The white ring fencing with visible gaps looked like the set up for Extreme Hoopers, so when I said GO ON, Jake WENT ON through the visible gap, then ran OUT and AROUND the “Gates” and back in at the next visible gap, which was the entrance to the ring. I’m smiling as I type this. If you don’t know what Extreme Hoopers looks like, I posted a video of that game last week:
I think this hypothesis makes perfect sense because Jake seemed so proud of himself when he came running back to me. I believe he thought he was being an outstanding dog. I am sooooo very happy that we had a big party after that run and I was happy and smiling vs. acting disappointed. I think Jake is such a fun and great little dog! I totally love and adore him.