WA offers the most challenging ANKC courses in Australia. Two venues are used, one in Mandurah 50km south of Perth, the other in Bedfordale, nestled in Perth's Eastern Hills.
The Mandurah site boasts the most difficult courses in use in Australia. The 100m x 50m A course at Mandurah is the largest in use in Australia. Its 65m advanced and intermediate outrun is almost twice that of any other in use in Australia, even the started outrun of 30m doubles the degree of difficulty compared to the 16m outrun which is more often used. Far more challenging is our 50m crossdrive. Dogs working this course are required to crossdrive a greater distance than the maximun fetch distance on other courses.
Equally as challenging at Mandurah is the B course. Held in an 80acre paddock where outruns can be made up to 300m maximum distance. The central reedy swamp offers an extra draw affect dogs must be able to react to, or lose their stock.
Currently the Bedfordale venue offers a 60m x 30m A course, soon to be upgraded to 70m x 35m.
Handlers are not allowed to train on the courses. While handlers may get one or two goes over the actual course before trialling, the trial stock are not otherwise allowed to be worked through the course in training. This prevents course training of both the stock and the dogs, adding to the degree of difficulty that venues that host training and trialling on the same course do not have.
Over the years of training and trialling in WA we have experimented with different breeds of stock. The Australian Merino and most woolly type breeds have been found to be easily trained and become to compliant quickly. These types learn the course quickly and perform it requiring little direction from the dog. We are now using a more challenging meat cross type that keep their reactivity longer and will quickly take advantage of the less attentive dogs even after several runs over a course.