There are two types of regular courses in every trial. The first is the Standard course which contains jumps, weaves, tunnels and chutes, an A-frame, teeter totter, and dogwalk. The second regular course is Jumpers With Weaves (JWW). This course is made up of tunnels, jumps, and weaves. It’s very fast and very technical with lots of side changes and often more distance between the handler and the dog. Most dogs love doing JWW cause they get to go really fast!
There are also games—Time 2 Beat(T2B), and FAST (Fifteen and Send Time). T2B is a fast-paced combination of the JWW and Standard courses. The course isn’t about difficulty but about speed with all the obstacles available for the judge to use in establishing the course. The FAST class is a test of strategy, skill, accuracy, speed, timing, and especially distance handling.
The judge puts 15 obstacles on the course. Each obstacle is worth a certain amount of points. For once there is no set course. Each team can pick their own route. There is a distance element called the “send bonus” of several obstacles that awards the team points if they can negotiate the send correctly. The dog must negotiate while the handler maintains separation of five feet at novice up to fifteen feet at excellent level. The challenge is to figure out how to run the course and get enough points to qualify, do the send correctly to get the bonus and get over the finish line before the buzzer. Its thirty-two seconds of crazy!
Before every run there is a strategy component. Handlers get to “walk” every course without their dog before they run. Courses are walked over and over to determine the best handling strategy and to memorize the route. Dog on my right or dog on my left? Do we change with me in front or me behind? What will my dog do in the tunnel, on the teeter totter, on the dog walk?
Will that jump tempt my dog to go off course. Can I move quickly enough to provide support at the pinwheel of three jumps . . . ? Rarely in dog sports do we have such a great thinking opportunity on top of an athletic challenge.