This person positions the box in the lane, stands in it to brace the box against the impact of the dogs triggering it, and loads balls into the box for each dog. The boxloader should have a carrying voice, be sturdy enough to move the box and hold it in position, know each dog by name and the direction the dog turns in. It's a bonus if they have a powerful, carrying voice and the dexterity to handle handfuls of tennis balls without dropping them.
This person releases the start dog. The start dog is the first dog of the team to race. They will have to learn their dog's start speed and know how far back from the start line and at what point in the start light sequence to release it. Good starts are judged by the hundreths of a second, so timeing is very critical. The start dog handler should be able to charge his/her dog up enough to sprint from a standstill over and over again. Also, a high level of consistency in the way the dog starts is important.
This person is running the smallest dog on the team, the dog from whom the jump heights are set. Therefore, this dog is the one most challenged by the jump heights. The handler has to be aware of the dog's condition and fitness level and protect the dog from overuse injuries. Height dogs are often terriers, usually Jack Russel Terriers. You have to be the right kind of person to handle these little monsters and get the cooperation and enthusiasm out of them. Even people who like terriers often refer to them as "terrors".
These are the people who release the other two dogs on the team. They each need to learn how their dog runs and encourage consistency so that they can judge when to release their dogs so that they pass the previous dog nose to nose at the start line. The handlers of the dogs racing 2nd or 3rd in order will also need to be able to adjust for variations in the speeed of the dog running just previous to their dog, because they will be releasing their dog to pass the previous dog. If the previous dog speeds up or slows down, it will affect the release of their dogs. The second and third dogs will be passing another dog going to the box and returning. These are two distinct skills that have to be taught and practiced to gain any consistency.
The team captain helps the team function as a whole. They make the split-section decisions of whether to re-run a dog that has a fault, whether to switch out a dog who is having troubles with a dog that was being held in reserve, which dogs run and in which order. The team captain also communicates the racing order to the line judge and the boxloader. Ideally, the team captain shouldn't be handling a dog. It's just too much to keep track of, and it can be hard to see what's going on with the other team members when you are focused on your dog. However, on most teams, the captain is racing a dog and they manage just fine.
All the dogs are racing down, getting tennis balls, then racing back and spitting them out. The ball shagger collects all the loose balls so that no one trips over them and breaks their neck and also so that the team keeps track of their tennis balls. This is a good role for the kids, the dogless, the dog-is-still-in-training types.
This person stands at the start line and calls out to the handlers information on early or late passes. This helps the handlers adjust where they release the dog, to make the closest possible pass. It takes a quick eye, and even then you are usually off. A camera can be used to achieve more accuracy, especially in practice, but you need a camera operator.
This is a person who volunteers to line judge for races that your team is not directly involved in. The line judge watches for faults and calls them out to the head judge and records the times and dogs running on record sheets provided by the host club. Common faults are: the dog drops the ball before it crosses the finish line, the dog veers outside of the start finish gates, the dog misses the last jump, or the dogs run out of order on a re-run. The captain of the team running in the lane you are judging will provide the information on which dogs are running. Since the line judge only judges on races that the team does not run in, any member of the team can volunteer, even if they have a different role during actual races.
Positioned near the box at the end of the lane, this person watches to confirm that the dog triggers the box, takes the ball, and continues back over the jumps without dropping the ball or veering out of the lane. Like the Line Judge, this person only judges races by other teams, and so can be a volunteer who also fullfills another role during team races.
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