Wildcard is a great game in CPE. It is also one of the games that people tend to get confused on. I think that a lot of the confusion stems from the way the obstacles are labeled. The idea of the game is a short course where along the way you will have a choice of 2 obstacles. One will be a little harder than the other. This will happen 3 times on the course. Depending on which level you are on, you will either need to take 2 easy and 1 hard (Levels 1 & 2) or take 2 hard and 1 easy (Levels 3,4,5,&C). The course is numbered so you will have obstacles say 1,2, then 3a &3b. The b will be the harder of the obstacles. Sometimes they are different colors – yellow & blue – in which case the judge will let you know which color is considered the hard one. This is one of those games where you will want to be at the briefing to make sure you know which obstacles are considered hard and which ones are easy. Then know how many of which you need for your level.
As you walk the course make a plan according to the abilities of your dog. What works for someone else, may not be the best for you. There are no refusals, but once your dog starts an obstacle, you need to stick with that one. This means that if your dogs takes the easy one first and you meant to do a hard one, you will have to make the adjustment on the next choice, so flexibility and thinking on your feet are important. Play out of few scenes during your walk through.
As you go through the obstacles you will hear the judge call out points – 1 point (easy) and 2 point (hard). For example if you are in Level 3 & above you will want the judge to have called out 2,2,1 (in any order) and if you are in Level 1 or 2 you will want to hear 1,1,2 (in any order).
In Levels 1 & 2 you are allowed an off course. In all Levels 1-4 you are allowed up to 10 faults (can not be the same faults) like a bar down(5 faults) or overtime (up to 5 faults – 5 seconds). You cannot have an off course in Level 3 and higher. Level C must run with no faults.
We have had good success with Wildcard. Sullivan is about halfway through Level 5 (she missed a few Q’s with an off course, wrong end of a tunnel and a back jump on her last two runs) and my pup Kala has Q’ed on all of her early runs and moved up to Level 3. She has done one Level 3 run, but did not Q. We have 2 more trials in January.
In order to avoid confusion, ask the judge which are labeled hard and then just approach the course thinking about how many hard and how many easy you need. Don’t forget to make the correction if your dog takes the wrong obstacle. Good luck!
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