Thursday, October 6, 2011

AWC, an Analysis and Actuality

So I will be honest and admit that I spent most of the day yesterday watching official team practise on live stream.  Work be damned.  It is that time of year again, the FCI Agility World Championships.  On the one hand it is driving me nuts, because I WANT TO BE THERE.  Kind of like I do every year, but on the other hand I do at least enjoy watching it live stream.  Some very impressive dogs out there and from today it seems like we will be a lot more running contacts this year.  Now those that read my blog will know I am not a fan of running contacts myself.  And some people seem to get it quite right, but the actuality of it is, is that it has created a huge demand for more advanced contact judging.  As you know I am slightly (okay a lot) obsessive when it comes to agility and I have often put running contacts on a frame-by-frame and watched dogs clearly miss the contact, but not being called on it.  Now I like the fact that we have a friendly sport, where the benefit of doubt always goes to the dog.  The Rugby World Cup is also on at the moment and it has happened a few times already, where they go to the TMO referee and he gives in 'inconclusive' call, which means NO try.  That is the difference in agility, COMPETITORS always get the benefit of the doubt.  Cool hey?  Well yes and no, in all these slow play videos I do, I don't blame the judges for not being able to make the call.  

Dogs are damn fast, a dog going at 5m/s will take less than 0.2 seconds to negotiate a dog walk contact.  Now consider this, the human visual system, can process 10 to 12 separate images per second, perceiving them individually. The visual cortex holds onto one image for about one-fifteenth of a second, so if another image is received during that period an illusion of continuity is created, allowing a sequence of still images to give the impression of smooth motion.  So quite frankly it is a super human task for any judge to correctly judge a fast running contact, even if you ARE using an up-contact judge.  Unfortunately the reality of it is, that handlers who work damn hard to teach contacts, whether it be 2o2o, 4 on the floor or even proper running contacts, are often pushed further down the placings.  I suppose it goes both ways, sometimes dogs do actually get a toe in the zone and get called for it.  Regardless, I know that some countries/equipment manufacturers are playing around with touch pads/electronic contacts, but I feel it should be something that is actively pursued by Agility everywhere.

Okay that moan out of the way, I cannot wait for the AWC to start now, needless to say I doubt I will get much work done today.  And this weekend, I will be carting my laptop, the 3G card and the mobile satellite tv decoder to our shows, the latter being to watch the rugby.  Judging my the practise, it will be an interesting year at the AWC.  I saw a lot of face plants yesterday, a lot of dogs slipping, I am really hoping that the dogs will adapt and kick arse.  It is a bit disappointing though, after last year's spectacular surface.

And for those of you that are very bored today and need something to do... I have done another Chaos vs. Volt comparison:

Well that is all I have to say for now, actually that is all I have time for this morning, seeing as how much I need to get done before the AWC opening ceremony...

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