How To Design a Small CPE Course

usdaa coursesWe had a viewer with a really good question that other viewers had great help with.  The Question was asked by L. Keeper:  “I have only done AKC in the past and just started CPE events… I have always thought of myself as a smart person – but it is clear that I can’t design my own course in those strategy games (such as Snookers) worth a darn. We may never get out of L2! Anyone have a video, book or article recommendation on how to improve in that area? At home I don’t have enough room to set up more than about 6 obstacles.

Some ideas from you included:

Sue M. – I think the best advice on designing a snooker run is to remember the last two obstacles are worth 13 points. Design an opening that is short and easy so that you can finish the close because that is where you will get the most points. Granted this can be challenging, but in CPE and USDAA at the lower levels, it doesn’t matter if you win or not, just get enough points to Q. So don’t feel pressured to get 3 7′s to get the most points. I also agree that it does help to talk to others about your plan, they may see something that you don’t. The other ‘design your own’ classes (Gamblers, Jackpot, Fast, Fullhouse to name a few) — same idea, keep it simple, get your points and get out. Don’t get too fancy!

DeDe & Sadie – I understood the question to be; how to get through Snooker in CPE, and not the basics of a red/any color etc, etc. But more on how to plan your run through the course. I can only say that CPE is the friendliest venue to run. Until you get comfortable running through it on your own tag along with someone else during the walk-throughs and get different opinions eventually you’ll pick up the best way to get you and your companion through the course! My instructor was very good at snooker (her being a judge helped) and helped us greatly so now when I go on the walk through I try and pass that wisdom on. I’ll bet you’ll find someone willing to help!

Sideway – I don’t run CPE, only AKC but I also have a small backyard and can never set up an entire course. What I do is split the course in 3 parts that I set up one a the time. What I also do but that is more of a pain is I take my equipment to another area, like my local school let me use there football field during off season and there is another big field close to my house where I can practice. Once in a while it’s good to do that. Also when I’m at a competition instead of watching the dogs run I watch the handler and the strategies they use.

jeannekins – Are you talking about designing courses in general or about strategies to run courses like fast classes in akc trials? with fast, a course is set up and you have so much time to get a certain amount of points. there is a ‘send’ which consists of 2 or 3 obstacles that must be completed in a certain order, but the rest of the course is up to you. if that’s the case, it’s really about knowing your dog and what they can and can’t do. my dog and i train at an agility facility and when we’re entered in those kinds of classes, there are always other people we know competing in the same class. usually we’ll all walk and come ups with a game plan and then compare notes. there’s nothing in the rules saying that you can’t collaborate with other competitors. if you’re not comfortable with that, you can always watch more experienced people and see what their strategy is. it may not work for your dog, but it will help you to see other options instead of focusing on just the one that you’ve come up with.

If you have additional ideas on course designs for small spaces please share them in the comments below so others with the same problem can get ideas on how to solve the problem.