A Glossary of Dog Agility Terms
180° A transition between two obstacles performed in such a way that the dog makes a 180° turn to the left or right.
1rto See one-rear-toe-on.
270° A transition between two obstacles performed in such a way that the dog makes a 270° turn to the left or right. Also known as a German turn.
2×2 A method of training weave poles that breaks the obstacle into 3 sets of 2 poles each. The dog is then shaped to perform one two-pole set, then two two-pole sets, then three. They are gradually angled into a straight line, effectively creating a set of six poles.
2o2o See two-0n-two-off.
absolute directional A directional command that directs the dog which way to move based on the dog’s position, regardless of the handler’s position; for example, Left and Right, which tell the dog to turn to his left or right, respectively.
agility trial This is a sanctioned Competition where you can work towards earning titles and Qualifying Scores
airplane An opposite arm signal to entice the dog to turn away from the handler’s position The movement resembles a one-winged airplane. [Dutch tegendraads]
AKC American Kennel Club, offering agility competitions with three titling classes: Standard, Jumpers with Weaves, and FAST.
AL1RTO At Least One Rear Toe On
angel A group of obstacles (usually jumps) that are assigned as one number in the sequence of a course.
angled weaves A method of training dogs to do weave poles where the poles are placed 90 degrees from the vertical and slowly brought upright.
aperture A hole, opening or gap into which the dog must pass for the performance of an obstacle; notably a tunnel opening or the tire.
ASCA The Australian Shepherd Club of America provides a NADAC-style agility venue offering agility for any breed of dog.
ascending oxer A double bar jump where the front bar is set lower than the back bar.
at speed A term describing a dog that is moving (running) forward with motivation. By contrast, dogs leaving the start line or Table, or exiting from a reduced speed obstacle (Weave Poles, A-Frame, Dog Walk, See-Saw) are not yet at speed.
aversive Something the animal is willing to work to avoid.
Axford axel A form of the Front Cross; usually on the dismount of a technical obstacle in which handler pivots fully 360º chiefly to get to the opposite side of the dog and not so much to effect a turn.
back 1. An absolute directional asking the dog after the performance of an obstacle to return to handler’s position or side. 2. An absolute directional asking the dog to turn back and repeat the performance of an obstacle just taken (a useful skill in games like gamblers in which back-to-back performances are often desired). 3. An relative directional asking the dog to turn away from the handler’s position; (see also “Switch”, “Turn”)
back cross See Rear cross.
back chaining Training method in which the last portion of an obstacle, a sequence, or a behavior is taught first; and training parts are added (or chained) until the complete sequence or behavior is accomplished. Back-chaining utilizes the Premack Principle.
back jumping Going over a hurdle in the wrong direction. The term usually refers to repeating the hurdle just taken as the handler seeks to effect to turn the dog in the opposite direction. The performance is faulted as a wrong course.
back-to-back An obstacle performance in which the dog is directed to perform an obstacle and then immediately repeat the performance (in either direction)
back weaving Performance of the weave poles in the wrong direction, resulting in a wrong-course fault. Typically Usually the dog must set up a weaving motion for the fault to be called (three poles in the wrong direction).
backy-uppy Fronting the dog for controlled movement. See alsopastoorstand.
balanced training A type of training using all five principles of Operant Conditioning and an event marker (clicker) to modify behavior. This type of training is better known as “combined training.” Balanced training implies equal amounts of reinforcement and punishment. However, the fallout associated with punishment makes such a “balance” a poor training choice.
banking When a dog pushes off (banks) the top of a wall, viaduct, or wishing well jump or the inside of the tire with his back feet. Not faulted in the performance of the tire; faulted in the performance of the viaduct, wall, or wishing well jump.
bar The horizontal pole or rail on a jump that the dog must go over.
barricade method see Vangrail method
base hop Movement of the teeter base. One piece teeter bases can move along the ground. Adjustable height bases can also move only part of the base. So the height of the teeter may be affected when one end of the base moves farther than the other end of the base.
baseline method A method of constructing courses in which a vertical line is drawn down the middle of the ring on the course diagram. This is called the base centerline, BCL, or baseline. Once the baseline has been drawn, the position of each obstacle is measured by the obstacle’s relative distance from that line-the obstacle’s horizontal distance from the baseline as well as where the obstacle lies along the BCL.
baton The item exchanged between handlers in a relay class; usually a short piece of PVC pipe.
baton exchange The passing or exchange of a baton between handlers in a relay class.
beacon A verbal cue given to a dog while the dog is engaged in the performance of a tunnel (and can’t actually see the handler). It is intended usually to alert the dog to the handler’s position on course, possibly after a change of sides.
behavior A performance or action offered by the dog.
Belgian cross A Front Cross
bending A handling movement in which the handler steps into the dog’s path to effect a turn without the dog and handler changing sides.
bi-directional obstacle An obstacle that the dog is permitted to perform, without fault, in either direction.
blind approach When the approach to an obstacle is not presented to the dog from his dismount of the previous obstacle. See also fading turn.
blind change of sides Change of sides that takes place while the dog is in a tunnel.
blind cross A Front Cross in which the handler effects the change of sides by rotating away from the dog (thereby momentarily taking his eyes off the dog) rather than rotating toward the dog.
blocking The attempt by a handler to prevent a dog from taking a wrong course obstacle by physically blocking the dog’s approach to the obstacle.
blocking Handler movement that prevents the judge from seeing the dog hit or miss the contact zone. Also used when a handler attempts to prevent a dog from taking the wrong obstacle by standing in front of or “blocking” the dog’s approach to the unwanted obstacle.
blocking position The attempt by a handler to influence the dog’s choice of obstacles in a discrimination by taking a position blocking the wrong course obstacle while showing the next correct obstacle.
BLT A combination movement, a Blind Cross followed by Tandem Turn. Used to create an energetic handling solution in a situation that might have the handler standing flat-footed while the dog’s path is long and robust as in a 270 degree turn. Formerly called “Schoenberg’s Post”.
body magnet position The attempt by a handler influence a dog’s choice of obstacles in a discrimination by taking a position next to the correct obstacle and away from the wrong course obstacle. The presumption that the handler is an irresistible attraction to the dog so that the dog will naturally gravitate to the obstacle nearer to the handler.
briefing A description or discussion of rules and guidelines for a class. The briefing might be written and posted, delivered orally by the judge, or both.
buzzing See zooming.
c/t Click and treat.
call off 1. A verbal directive calling the dog away from an incorrect obstacle; often delivered with a note of sharp panic in the handler’s voice; 2. A planned challenge by the judge presenting an option to the dog.
calming signals Subtle body signals used by dogs to indicate stress and to avoid or diffuse confrontation and aggression.
chaining A training method which seeks to combine multiple behaviors into one continuous behavior with a single cue.
change of side A handling movement in which the handler and dog change sides to one another.
channel weave poles A weave pole training method which spreads the poles apart as the dog is introduced to the obstacles only gradually draws them together so that the dog might learn to adopt a weaving motion.
chute See collapsed tunnel.
chute fluffer A member of the ring crew assigned the task of fluffing the chute fabric after each dog runs.
Chinese boot-lace A sequence configuration in which a U-shaped pipe tunnel is used at one end and two or more jumps are arranged in serpentine fashion. The shape of the dog’s path, if the obstacles are performed in logical order, will rather resemble the lacing of a boot.
class An agility course or game by level; for example the “Novice standard class” or the “Masters gamblers class.”
classical conditioning The process of associating a neutral stimulus with an involuntary response until the stimulus elicits the response.
clean approach An approach to a contact obstacle or jump from straight on or nearly straight in front of the obstacle.
clean entrance Approach to the weave poles from straight on or from the right side of the poles that does not require the dog to go around the first pole to enter correctly.
clean run 1. A round of performance without fault or error. 2. A popular magazine for agility enthusiasts (www.cleanrun.com).
Clean Run Course Designer (CRCD) Agility course design software.
clicker A toy noisemaker used by animal trainers as an event marker to mark a desired performance or response.
clicker training A term coined by Karen Pryor and defined by her as a subset of Operant Conditioning using positive reinforcement, extinction, negative punishment, and an event marker to modify behavior.
collapsed tunnel A tunnel featuring a rigid entry barrel to which is affixed a flaring fabric chute.
combination obstacle Two or more obstacles that are considered and counted as a single obstacle. This convention is used primarily in Snooker.
come A relative directional command for the dog the dog to come or turn toward the handler.
compulsion training The traditional style of dog training where the dog is modeled or otherwise compelled to perform the behavior and physically corrected for non-compliance.
conditioned reinforcer A neutral stimulus paired with a primary reinforcer until the neutral stimulus takes on the reinforcing properties of the primary. A clicker, after being repeatedly associated with a food treat or other reinforcer, becomes a conditioned reinforcer.
cone of approach An imaginary ‘cone’ shaped area in front of an obstacle; the cone is used as a guideline to determine that the obstacle can be safely performed by a dog at speed if the natural dog path takes the dog into the cone.
conflict point A point in the judging path that conflicts with the expected dog or handler path.
contact obstacle A family of obstacles upon which the dog walks or climbs: the A frame, dogwalk, teeter, and cross-over. These obstacles usually have “contact” or “safety” zones that the dog is required to touch during the performance.
contact fault See missed contact.
contact zone The areas on a contact obstacle that are painted yellow to designate that they are safety zones. Almost universally a dog is faulted for missing the down contacts. Some venues also require the dog to touch the up contact.
containment line See Handler line.
continuous reinforcement The simplest schedule of reinforcement. Every desired response is reinforced.
counter-arm signal An arm signal pointing the dog to an obstacle with the arm opposite the dog. Also known as off-arm signal, opposite-arm signal, indirect-arm signal, airplane arm signal, or counter-arm signal. (the arm nearer to the dog would be the inside arm).
counter-conditioning Pairing stimuli that evoke one response with an opposite response, so that the stimulus now evokes the new response. For example, a dog is afraid of men wearing hats. When a man wearing a hat approaches, the dog is repeatedly fed his favorite food. The goal is to replace the fear with the pleasure elicited by the food. Counter-conditioning must be done gradually, however. If the process were rushed, the favorite food could take on the fear association instead.
counter-rotation Turning toward the dog rather than turning with the dog. Might be used to tight a dog’s turn radius by turning into the dog rather than turning with the dog.
course builder A ring worker, responsible for following the direction of the Master Course Builder in setting courses.
course diagram (or map) A picture of the course provided to exhibitors; will include numbers when it’s a numbered course, and may contain information like the name of the class, the judge’s name, the date, and location of the competition.
course fault Any fault incurred while running a course. Errors such as refusals, dropped bars, missed contacts, and wrong courses are course faults. See also faults.
course nesting A technique used when designing a group of courses to help minimize course-building time at the event. The basic structure of each course is based on the previous course, and there are certain key obstacles that are the same for all the courses. The only items that physically move are jumps and tunnels. The rest of the obstacles remain stationary. Each new course is created by a combination of minor obstacle movement, as well as a blend of new and existing paths through the obstacles.
course walk-through See Walk-through.
coursing Te pursuit of game by dogs running by sight, not by scent. Modern coursing is mainly restricted to greyhound racing where the object is not to catch the hare, but rather a race of speed between the dogs. The first known set of English rules for coursing was drawn up in the reign of Elizabeth I by the Duke of Norfolk.
CPE Canine Performance Events. A venue offering agility trials whose basic philosophy is for the dog and handler to have FUN while competing for agility titles. Offering Standard, Jumpers, FullHouse, Jackpot, Snooker, Colors, and Wildcard classes at six levels.
CRCD Clean Run Course Designer.
criterion The specific, trainer-defined response in a training session. The trainer clicks at the instant the animal achieves the criterion. Criterion can include not only the physical behavior but elements like latency, duration, and distance.
cross See Change of side.
cross in front See front cross.
cross over 1. A contact obstacle, rarely used today, that features four legs attached to a center platform. 2. A handler movement in which the handler changes sides to the dog.
cross-behind See rear cross.
crossing pattern a) Element of a course where the dog and handler will cross through a congested portion of the ring with obstacles on either side of the dog and handler; b) a part of the agility course where the dog’s path crosses itself.
crossing turn See front cross
cue A stimulus that elicits a behavior. Cues may be verbal, physical (i.e., a hand signal), or environmental (i.e., a curb may become a cue to sit if the dog is always cued to sit before crossing a road).
CWAGS Canine Work and Games (http://c-wags.org/)
cynegetics Cynegetics is the art of hunting with dogs.
DAM tournament Dog Agility Masters Tournament (USDAA). A three-dog team tournament held over five events-Standard, Jumpers, Snooker, Gamblers, and Team Relay. Each event is scored and the 15 scores totaled. Highest team score wins.
deductions See faults.
depressed angle jump A series of three jumps arranged in a semicircle where the second jump is pushed out away from the first and the third jump causing a “depressed angle.” This results in the dog having to make a steep approach to perform the second jump.
directional Any command given to the dog to turn the dog in a desired direction.
directional control A type of handler control causing a change in direction of the dog path such that the dog must not continue straight forward, but must change direction to stay on course. (When this term is used in the context of a Gamblers joker, it assumes the additional consideration that the change of path veers away from the handler’s position.)
directional discrimination The dog’s ability to distinguish (discriminate) direction; e.g. left, right, or straight.
dirty approach A difficult or off-center approach to a jump or contact.
dirty entrance An approach to the weave poles from left of the first pole, requiring the dog to go around the number one pole to enter correctly.
discrimination problem When obstacles are placed in close proximity and the handler is compelled to communicate flow to the dog by use of directional commands. This is especially true when obstacles of a similar nature (such as two jumps or two tunnels) are placed in close proximity. For example, when the dog is approaching a jumping box, he could go left, right, or straight. The next jump that the dog takes will depend on how well the handler communicates to the dog which way to go.
distance restriction When obstacles are placed in such a way that the handler’s choice of path is limited and he is forced to work the dog at a greater distance than he would normally choose.
DOCNA Dogs On Course in North America. An agility venue based upon the NADAC model.
dog’s choice This means that obstacles can be performed in the order and direction of the dog’s choosing (or of the handler’s, depending largely on who is in charge of the team); there is no numbered course. Games that have a dog’s choice element include Gamblers and, arguably, Snooker.
double The common term for a spread jump with a front and back bar. A double can be ascending or parallel.
double or nothing A variation of the gamblers games class where two gambles can be performed. If the team is successful at both, points scored in the game are doubled; if unsuccessful at either one, all points are lost.
double pump A complex joker in which the handler must send the dog away from him over an obstacle, call him back, and then send him away again to perform another obstacle. Down – A position on the table specified by the judge in which the dog must have his butt down and front elbows down.
doughnut Any dog spinning completely around in a circle before or after an obstacle.
down contact The contact zone at the descent or dismount-side of a contact obstacle.
dropped bar A bar on a jump that is knocked down by the dog. This performance is faulted.
duitse bocht German turn (Orig. The Netherlands). Two hurdles following each other set at an angle of more then 180°. Term first used by the Dutch at a trial in Germany with a German Judge.
dummy jump A jump that is not part of the numbered course, but that has been intentionally placed by the judge in the path of the dog to create a potential off-course.
dynamic change of side When the handler changes sides to the dog while the dog is in motion and in full view.
dynamic change of sides Change of sides performed with both the dog and handler visible to each other.
E The abbreviation for Elimination.
east coast fake-out See Reverse Flow Pivot
English torture wheel An octagon pattern of eight evenly spaced jumps, preferably winged, from which you can do a variety of jumping exercises. (Also known as “Boltons’ Torture”).
event marker A signal used to mark desired behavior at the instant it occurs. The clicker is an event marker.
exchange area The designated area on a relay course where a baton is passed from handler to handler.
excusal A course infraction for which the judge immediately excuses the dog and handler from the ring.
EZ-up A tent or canopy typically used for crating at an agility trial. EZ-Up is a brand name.
exiting Refers to the direction in which the dog will come out of the weave poles-even number of poles, the dog comes out to the left; odd number, to the right.
extended spread A spread jump with a span of 20″ or more.
fading Gradually removing a training prop or a rigid requirement for performance (eg. “fading” a 2o2o in favor of running contacts).
fading left (or right) turn A turn to the left (or right) between two obstacles that requires the dog to move straight ahead a given distance after performing the first obstacle before he can turn to and perform the second obstacle. Also see: blind approach.
false turn See RFP
familiarization Time set aside at the beginning of a day’s competition where the dog and handler can get on the equipment prior to competition (limited to Starters/Novice Dogs).
FAST The Fifteen and Send Time class, the AKC’s distance game.
fast dog handling Movement used by the handler which is behind the dog, and pushing.
fault limit A maximum number of faults that a dog is allowed to earn before being dismissed from the course by the judge.
faults Errors committed on course. For examples: see wrong course, dropped bar, missed contact, flyoff.
faults then time A scoring system under which the dog with the fewest number of faults is determined the winner; time being used as a tie-breaker; (and might be referred to as “faults over time”).
Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) a world-wide pure-bred dog organization based in Belgium.
fixed interval A schedule of reinforcement in which the trainer reinforces the first correct response after a specific period of time – for example, after a minute.
flatten out A jumping problem in which the dog jumps in a flat, rather than curved arc over the jump, risking knocking down the bar.
flick flack A term in the UK to refer to a flat “serpentine” of jumps.
flip 1. Used as a verbal directive for the dog to turn away (rather than towards) the handler. 2. A combination movement starting with a Front Cross, resolving into a Blind Cross (formerly the “Mitchell Flip”).
flow The smoothness with which a dog and handler can move from one obstacle to the next without interruption. Generally speaking, the straighter the lines, the smoother the run, and hence, the better the flow.
flow break When the flow of the course changes and appears to be choppy or broken.
fluffing The act of straightening the fabric portion of the collapsed tunnel.
flyball A dog sport in which teams of four dogs compete in a relay race on two parallel courses. The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles spaced 10 feet apart, and a spring-loaded device which dispenses a tennis ball. [Hurdle height is from 8"-16", and is determined by the height of the shortest dog on the team.] The course is 51 feet long, from the starting line to the box. The dogs must cross the starting line, jump the 4 hurdles, obtain the tennis ball by pressing a pedal on the special spring-loaded box, and race back over the jumps with the ball, where the next dog on the team repeats the process. The first team to have all 4 dogs run the course without errors wins the heat.
flyer This is when the dog leaves the see-saw before it touches the ground. In extreme cases, the see-saw hardly moves. It might look spectacular, but it can be dangerous, and of course is faulted (as a “Fly-off”).
flyoff The act of a dog leaving the teeter in an uncontrolled manner when the down side of the teeter is not close to the ground.
food tube A training device usually made of clear vinyl tubing in which treats are placed. The tube has either a slit in the side or end caps that come off, which allows only the handler to get out treats for the dog. It is used as a target or can be thrown to aid in training the food-motivated dog.
four on the floor A contact training method (somewhat ambiguous) requiring the dog to dismount with all four feet off the plank.
frame gazing The act of a dog balking at the top of the A-frame to take advantage of this superior view of the area.
framing Focusing the dog on the succeeding obstacle during performance of the preceding obstacle.
front cross Any maneuver where the handler changes sides in front of the dog’s direction of motion. It is now generally accepted that in performing a front cross the handler always faces the dog (a blind cross is a front cross where the handler briefly has his back to the dog). (Also known as a Belgian cross or Axford Axel.
fun-run See match
gamble A specific sequence of obstacles that the dog must perform at a distance from the handler after the whistle blows in a Gamblers class. Also called a joker.
gamble line See handler line.
gamble period A time period, following a point accumulation period, in which the dog and handler must attempt to perform the judge’s gamble, or joker.
gamblers In this event you spend the opening sequence accumulating points for each obstacle, and the closing sequence attempting a “gamble” which consists of a series of obstacles that must be done at a distance
games class Any class other than a Standard or Regular agility class. Snooker, Gamblers, Relay, Jumpers, What’s My Line, Beat the Clock, Team Pursuit, Knockout, and Move Over Rover are examples of games played for fun or to earn titles.
gate Nazi A term generally applied to the gate steward who often must strike an authoritarian tone in order to keep order at the gate.
gate steward A ring official, responsible for shepherding dogs and handlers into the ring in their correct running order.
gay flail A wild and flamboyant gesticulation in the precursor wind-up for a Front Cross. It has no actual benefit to performance but makes the handler look busy and resolute.
generalize The ability of the dog to understand a performance when elements of the presentation have been changed.
German turn See 270°.
get out A relative directional instructing the dog to move away from the handler laterally.
go on A relative directional instructing the dog to go straight away from the handler.
Grand Prix The USDAA’s championship competition.
guard rail see Vangrail method
half cross A handling maneuver in which the handler steers a dog working ahead by momentarily crossing behind the dog to redirect the dog, and then resuming the original side.
handler challenge An area on a course where the dog must distinguish either directions or obstacles. Also know as “traps” by handlers.
handler fault A fault or deduction for the handler deliberately touching the dog or equipment.
handler focus Handler focus is when a dog focuses on the handler rather than the obstacle, bringing the speed down and increasing the dog’s responsiveness to the handler.
handler line A line marked on the ground on a Gamblers course restricting the movement of the handler into or out of a given area during the performance of the gamble. The handler may not step over, or on, the line. Also known as a containment line.
handler restriction A section of a course where obstacles are placed in a way that is designed to force the handler to work farther away from the dog than usual or on a particular side of the dog.
handling system A consistent methodology and unambiguous set of cues used to conduct a dog through an agility course.
hard left (or right) turn A 90-degree turn to the left (or right) with minimal distance between the two obstacles requiring the dog to turn sharply between the first and second obstacle.
head halter Similar to a horse’s halter, a dog’s head halter gives the trainer control of the dog’s head, making it easier to manage a dog on leash until the dog has been taught to walk at the handler’s side.
heel side The handler’s left side; and the side on which a dog is kept in “heel” position for obedience.
heeling A handling technique by which the handler controls the dog in heel position through any portion of a course.
height card A card used to record a dog’s measurement (at the withers) for the purpose of fixing his jump height. The measurement is typically conducted by the judge of record will usually require three measurements.
height division The height that a dog is required to jump based on the measurement of the dog at the withers.
herk and jerk A derogatory term for a technical-flow breaking course or sequence.
highway/city driving Highway refers to open areas of a course where the dog can move quickly and is associated with obstacle focus. City refers to an area of the course that is tight and controlled and is associated with handler focus.
Hobday box See Jumping square.
hogback An arrangement of the broad jump where the sections ascent in height halfway across the jump and then descend.
hoover See Tunnel sucker.
hurdle An obstacle to be performed by the dog which requires the dog to jump over or through. The inclusive list might be these obstacles: bar jump,spread hurdle, wall jump, tire and long jump.
impulsion A dog’s forward speed or momentum toward obstacles.
indirect arm signal See Off-arm signal.
inside arm The arm nearer to the dog (the arm away from the dog would be the counter arm).
International Federation of Cynological Sports (IFCS) An international dog sports federation whose goal is the inclusion of dog sports at international Olympic Games without prejudice to racial, national and religious belonging and the breed of the dog.
International Sweepstakes Class (ISC) a non-regular class providing a dog and handler an opportunity to demonstrate their advanced training and handling skills on various international style Standard and Jumpers With Weaves courses.
in the hole A term used, typically by the gate steward, to describe the dog to go into the ring after the “on deck” dog.
jackpot A mega-reward given after a particularly exceptional effort.
JFF Just For Fun, a mostly defunct, casual games oriented agility venue.
joker The common name for the gamble or distance-handling portion of a Gamblers course.
judge A ring official, responsible for assessing faults for performances.
judgeability The characteristic of a course that allows the judge to see (and therefore judge) all of the obstacles with a minimum amount of difficulty in movement or positioning.
judges briefing An oral description or discussion of rules and guidelines for a class. At the judges briefing exhibitors discover specific elements of the class like course distance and time, and might be treated to an example of the table count. The judges briefing is an opportunity for exhibitors to ask questions they might have about the class. See also briefing.
jump pole See Bar.
jumpers This is a course consisting of mostly Jumps. (In most cases Tunnels are also included, in AKC you have Jumpers with Weaves in which Weave poles are also included)
jumping square A combination of four hurdles situated so that the line of four bars forms a square. (Also known variously as “Hobday box”, or simply “box”).
jumping square A square of four jumps used as the basis for many training sequences. Also called a Hobday box after its originator, Ruth Hobday.
junior handlers division Usually refers to agility classes reserved for children age 17 and under.
keep going signal (KGS) A signal – verbal or otherwise – given in the middle of a behavior to tell the dog he is doing the behavior correctly and should keep doing what he’s doing. Keep Going Signals are an unnecessary level of complexity in training.
Ketschner See flip. Used chiefly in Europe, refers to a combination movement that begins with a front cross and resolves into a blind cross.
latency The time between the cue and the response. Ideally, that time is zero – or as close to immediate as possible.
lateral distance The distance that the dog maintains parallel to the handler.
layered Front Cross A Front Cross performed by the handler on the landing side of a jump or hurdle while the dog is on the approach to the hurdle and may be used to influence the dog’s corner of approach to the hurdle.
layering A distance-handling maneuver, which is particularly useful when a group of obstacles is clustered tightly together. The handler directs the dog to execute one obstacle while another obstacle is between him and the dog (the handler is staying on the outer “layer”). In this close-quarters situation, pushing in toward the correct obstacle could actually cause the dog to push away from that obstacle to an incorrect obstacle.
lead-hand cue A signal given to the dog with the hand closest to the dog.
lead-off See lead-out.
lead-out A handling maneuver where the dog is placed on a wait at the start line and the handler moves to a strategic position prior to starting the course. However, the term also applies to any situation in which the handler takes up a position “down course” before calling the dog to perform the intervening obstacles; for example, while the dog is in a sit or down on the table or waiting on a contact obstacle.
lead-out advantage A course design in which the handler gains a substantial advantage by taking a lead-out and getting ahead of the dog to help influence the dog’s performance.
lead-out pivot A handler movement used to change a dog’s direction off the start line. It is essentially a lead-out culminated by a Front Cross.
lead-out push A handler movement used to change a dog’s direction off the start line. It is essentially a lead-out culminating in a bend or aget-out.
leaning poles A weave pole training method in which the poles are slanted alternately left and right away from the center line (90° from vertical). The poles are then raised in small steps until they are completely upright. Also called bent poles, slanted poles, and Weave-A-Matic.
leash runner A ring worker, responsible for taking the exhibitors’ leash and depositing it at the finish gate.
left (or right) one-eighty A series of three jumps that are performed in such a way that the dog makes a 180 degree turn to the left (or right).
left (or right) two-seventy A turn over a series of jumps made to the left (or right) through 270 degrees such that the eventual exit direction from the jumps will actually be to the right (or left).
leg A qualifying score in a class that contributes to earning a title.
loading The process of getting the dog into the weave poles correctly.
look back Usually reserved as a directional command asking the dog to look or turn away from the handler’s position.
LOP see lead-out pivot.
marker A sound given to mark correct behavior or performance to create a bridge to reward. The clicker, for example, is used to mark performance by the dog. Though a savvy dog training might have a well developed verbal marker for performance.
master course builder A ring worker responsible for setting courses for competition.
match An informal trial that simulates competition. These are typically used for practice and getting a feeling for the real trial experience.
maximum course time The maximum amount of time allotted on course before the dog is considered eliminated. MCT for short: maximum course time is typically a multiplier of the SCT.
mini-dog class Dogs that jump 16″ or less. There are often different height divisions within the mini dog class, but the exact jump heights vary depending on the organization.
molentje Pinwheel (Belgium)
missed contact Failing to touch the yellow safety zone on the dismount of a contact obstacle (or, in some venues, on the ascent of a contact obstacle).
missed entry When the dog fails to enter the weave poles correctly (from right to left between the first two poles). This is scored as a refusal in most venues; and as a standard fault in some venues.
Mr. Banks’ Rule The table will be live after the dog earns at least one point. Mr. Banks’ Rule establishes unambiguous criteria for the time stopping obstacle to become active in a dog’s choice point accumulation game.
NADAC North American Dog Agility Council offering agility competitions with 6 titling events: regular, gamblers, tunnelers, weavers, touch n go and jumpers.
Nationals The championship competition for any venue.
nonstandard class See Games class.
nonwinged jump A jump consisting of only the vertical uprights. Also called a wingless jump.
NQ A non-qualifying score. Might also be called DQ
obstacle Any one of the assortment of apparatus that the dog is required to perform in the sport of dog agility.
obstacle discrimination Two obstacles placed in close proximity. The classic obstacle discrimination is the tunnel under the A-frame.
obstacle illusion When the distance between the obstacles on the course map is markedly closer or farther away than the set of equipment on the field. Refers to a course building error.
obstacle focus Obstacle focus is when the dog focuses on an obstacle rather than the handler, allowing the dog to move away from the handler and increase speed to the target obstacle. This also allows the handler to move more freely without unduly influencing the dog’s motion.
off side The handler’s right side; the “non-heel” side.
off-arm signal see counter arm
off-course See wrong course.
off-side approach An approach to the weave poles from the left side of the obstacle, requiring the dog to bend around the first pole for a legal entry.
on-side weaves When the dog performs the weave poles on the handler’s left side or “heel” side.
Olympia The British national championships.
on deck A term used, typically by the gate steward, to describe the next dog to go into the ring.
on side See Heel side.
one-bar jump Any jump on which the judge has placed a single pole or “bar.” Usually, jumps are set with two poles.
one-rear-toe-on. An unambiguous finish position taught to the dog for a contact obstacle; in this case the dog is required to have one rear toe on the plank and the other three feet off the plank.
on-side approach An approach to the weave poles from the right side of the obstacle so that the entry is presented without the dog having to bend around the first pole. (Also called a “clean entrance”).
on-side weaves When the dog performs the weave poles on the handler’s left side.
open dog class Dogs that jump more than 16″. There are often different height divisions within the open dog class, but the exact jump heights vary depending on the organization.
opening period See Point accumulation period.
operant conditioning The process of changing an animal’s response to a certain stimulus by manipulating the consequences to the response. The five principles of Operant Conditioning were developed by B.F. Skinner. Clicker training is a subset of Operant Conditioning, using only positive reinforcement, extinction, and to a lesser extent, negative punishment.
opposite-arm signal See counter arm.
option An option is an obstacle that suggests itself to the agility dog as the more logical next correct obstacle than the obstacle the judge actually numbered.
out and back A maneuver in which the dog performs an obstacle (such as the tire) first one way, then the other in succession. Also refers to a maneuver where the dog performs two obstacles (tunnel then tire, for example) the first away from the hander and the second towards the handler.
outside Run Refers to the layout of the course where the course has a long sweeping arc along the outside perimenter of the ring.
overface Asking a dog to do more than his training has prepared him to do.
oxer Horse jumping term often used in agility to denote a double-bar spread jump.
pairs (relay) This is a two dog event where the combined scores of both dogs running a course are used.
parallel oxer A double bar jump where the front bar and back bar are set at the same height.
partial E-timing A combination of manual and electronic timing. For example, a manual start & electronic finish, or vice versa, as in gamblers.
passing area See Exchange area.
pastoorstand Preacher Position. To avoid making false moves with your arms or hands when calling your dog to you, you can hold your hands together high on your chest. In this position you look like a preacher … maybe praying to one of the agility gods ) . this position is used when calling your dog between obstacles or just towards you in tight turns.
Path A line of travel about the course. Examples are the judging path, the handler path, and the dog path.
Petit Prix The TDAA’s championship competition
pinwheel A sequence of 3, 4 or more hurdles, close together in a circular, or star, shape; the dog turns of almost 360° while jumping this sequence. The configuration of three jumps in a classic pinwheel design is also known as a star in European circles.
pivot Turning with the dog.
point accumulation period The time allotted by the judge for earning points by performing obstacles. An example of a game that includes a point accumulation period would be the Gamblers class. A whistle blows at the end of the opening period to signify the end of the point accumulation period and the start of the Gambler period.
points then time A scoring system under which the dog with the most number of points is determined the winner; time being used as a tie-breaker.
poling A corrective measure to keep a dog from dropping the hind legs, thus preventing the dog from knocking down poles on a jump.
popping Hopping off a contact before reaching the safety zone, hopping out of the weave poles before completing performance, or knocking down a jump bar.
positive punishment (p+) Add something the animal will work to avoid to suppress (lessen the frequency of) a behavior. For example, jerking on the lead to stop a dog from jumping on someone is P+ used to suppress the behavior of jumping. Other common examples of P+ include yelling, nose taps, spanking, electric shock, and assorted “booby traps.”
premium This is an announcement (and entry form) for an agility trial
primary reinforcer A reinforcer that the animal is born needing. Food, water, and sex are primary reinforcers.
puller Any dog that
moves toward the handler more readily than away from the handler.
pull-off An inadvertent move by the handler that causes the dog to pull away from the intended obstacle.
punching out A dog who misses a weave pole and runs ahead, without attempting to continue weaving.
push out Any maneuver where the handler gets the dog to move away from him.
push/pull 1. A method of teaching a dog weave poles where the dog is alternately pushed or pulled through the poles on leash; 2. A handler pressures the dog toward an obstacle (push) or calls the dog toward an obstacle (pull); See also Fast dog handling, and Slow dog handling.
pusher Any dog who moves away from a handler more readily than toward a handler.
Q A qualifying score or run.
QCT Qualifying Course Time. This is distinguished from Standard Course Time (SCT) in that isn’t derived from a rate of travel so much as a length of period.
random targeting Training method where a course or given sequence has targets placed on the ground in no apparent pattern. After each run, the target placement is changed so that the target is not necessarily in the same place twice.
rate of turn The speed at which the dog changes direction.
rear cross A movement in which the handler changes sides behind the dog. Also known as a back cross or cross-behind.
redirection A turn of 180° away from or toward the handler that’s often required in more complex jokers.
refusal A faulted performance in which the dog turns away, stops in front of significantly, or runs by the intended obstacle. Also applies to a situation where the dog performs the obstacle in a manner not specified in the rulebook (jumping the wing, for example.)
Regional Typically a qualifying event towards the national championship competition for any venue.
regular agility This is a basic agility course. It typically consists of a basic set of agility obstacles that must be run in order.
regular class See Standard class.
regretulation A judging phenomenon: When briefing a game a judge is asked a question about some rule of play or performance upon which he or she hasn’t given adequate thought or consideration. And so the judge blurts out whatever occurs at the moment. Later the judge may regret the hasty decision; but it is already briefed and so codified in the play of the game.
reinforcement In Operant Conditioning, a consequence to a behavior in which something added to or removed from the situation makes the behavior more likely to occur in the future.
reinforcer Anything dog will work to obtain.
relative directional A directional command that directs the dog which way to move based on the handler’s position; for example, Come and Get Out, which refer to moving toward the handler and moving laterally away from the handler, respectively.
response control A type of handler control measured by the time delay between handler command and dog response; this type of control is tested in an element in the course where a quick response or extended response may be required to successfully perform a maneuver.
reverse baton exchange The passing or exchange of a baton between handlers in a relay class. In the reverse baton exchange the active handler runs without the baton while the inactive handler holds it.
reverse flow pivot A compound handling movement used to shorten the dog’s stride and pull the dog quickly into the handler as an aid in making a tight turn or grabbing the dog’s attention before negotiating a challenge, such as an obstacle discrimination problem. The handler performs two pivots in quick succession, first turning into the dog (counter-rotation) and then turning back to the original direction.
reverse V Similar to a V-set, this turn is performed with the handler on the outside of the turn and the dog closest to the intended obstacle.
RFP Reverse Flow Pivot.
right An absolute directional that tells the dog to turn to its right.
right-side weave Situation where the handler is on the left side of the weave poles. Also known as off-side weave.
ring steward A trial worker that is responsible for some task in the conduct of the agility ring; including workers to set jump bars and straighten the fabric of the collapsed chute.
rolling Front Cross A Front Cross in which the handler rotates and moves through space from the moment of the cue for the turn to the moment of the presentation of the next obstacle.
round One agility course run. Often used in the context of a competition with multiple rounds (as in a national championship format).
run by A specific type of refusal where a dog runs past the intended obstacle.
run “naked” When the dog runs without collar or leash. This is required in some venues; not in others.
running contact A training and competition method for contact obstacles in which the dog is urged (even required) to run straight down through the contact zone. This method compares starkly with the control methods which require the dog to strike an unambiguous position at the bottom of the plank.
runout A specific type of refusal where a dog runs past the intended obstacle.
runout plane The line that determines at which point the movement of the dog will be determined a run-out. For example, at a contact obstacle the line would be congruent with the back edge of the contact zone, at the table… the back edge of the table, and at jumps and pipe tunnels the line of forward approach.
safety zone See Contact zone.
sanctioned match A match in which scores will not count toward qualifying or titles. Many organizations require a host club to demonstrate their ability to conduct a trial by first hosting one or more sanctioned matches.
Schoenberg’s syndrome A handler’s inability to work through an obstacle to completion. The tendency to flinch or cheat away at the last moment; a principle reason for dropped bars in agility.
score keeper A show official responsible for posting, ranking, and recording the performances of the agility competitors.
scoring basis The basis upon which dogs are scored and placed. For example a standard course is scored faults, then time. Snooker is scored points, then time.
scribe A ring official, responsible for recording the judge’s calls for a performance, and for recording the dogs’ performance times.
SCT Standard Course Time
secondary reinforcer A conditioned reinforcer. A reinforcer the animal is not born needing. Secondary reinforcers may be as or even more powerful than a primary reinforcer.
send A situation where the handler commands the dog to move ahead and perform an obstacle or sequence of obstacles while the handler remains behind. Also called a send-away.
send distance The distance that a dog can be sent straight away from the handler.
send-away See Send.
serpentine 1. An arrangement of obstacles through which the dog’s path will assume a “S” like pattern, not crossing itself, and requiring the handler to change sides. 2. A description of a handling method with a “flat” serpentine of jumps in which the handler does not change sides at all, and stays on one side of the jumps.
Serpentine Front Cross A Front Cross in combination with a Post Turn used to ensure the corner of approach that indicates the dog’s path.
short-wheeling The measurement of a course (usually by the judge) that doesn’t properly account for a dog’s turning radius and so delivers a shorter course distance than is true.
show ‘n go See match
significant leading A performance, which can be faulted, in which the handler runs the entire course with his lead hand out like a flag to the dog.
sit A position on the table specified by the judge in which the dog must have his butt down and front legs erect.
skunk A course on which no dog qualifies.
slanted poles See Leaning poles.
slippedy doo-dah An occasion in which the handler slips on the course and recovers rather than falling.
slow dog handling Movement used by the handler which forward of the dog, and pulling.
snooker This is a game in which the opening sequence consists of a combination of jumps and obstacles and the finishing sequence is a course of additional obstacles.
spike Crossing behind the dog on the entry to the weave poles.
split weaves A course setup of the weave poles such that instead of one long sequence of ten to twelve weave poles, there are two shorter sets of five or six each.
spread jump A jump with an element of depth. Often called a double, a triple, or an extended spread jump.
spreads Any jump with more than one bar set horizontally. There are several types: spread jump, extended spread jump, double, and triple jump.
squaring Front Cross A Front Cross used to create a square corner that lines the dog up for a straight line (as for a straight line of jumps, or a square approach to a contact obstacle or the weave poles).
stand A position on the table specified by the judge in which the dog must be erect on all fours. In the U.S., the stand may only be required in an AKC International class.
standard class 1. Any class that uses all of the different types of agility equipment (contacts, jumps, tunnels, weaves, etc.) in a numerical sequence. Also called Regular class in NADAC. 2. A term used in Europe to designate the Open dog or “big dog” division.
standard course time The amount of time allotted by the judge for performing a course without incurring time faults. Referred to as SCT for short.
standard division This division is open to any dog aged 18 months or over in NADAC & USDAA and any purebred dog over age 15 months in AKC.
stanchion See uprights
standards See uprights
star See Pinwheel.
static change of side When the handler changes sides to the dog during the dog’s performance of the table. A static change of side might also be effected while the dog is holding on the saftey zone of a contact obstacle.
Sterretje Little star … Pinwheel. Orig. the Netherlands
stick pass See Baton exchange.
stimulus A change in the environment. If the stimulus has no affect on the animal, it is a neutral stimulus. A stimulus that stands out in the environment – that the animal notices more than other environmental stimuli – is a salient stimulus. A stimulus that causes a change of state in the animal – for example, causes him to perform a specific behavior – is a discriminative stimulus.
stride regulator A training prop used mostly for contact obstacles that govern or regulate the dog’s stride to create a faster performance and ensure that the dog hits the contact zones.
super Q A qualifying score that places the dog within the top 15% of a USDAA Snooker class.
sweep Refers to the course design where the obstacles are set in a a long, circular pattern.
switch A relative directional asking the dog to turn away from the handler’s position (thus requiring the dog to switch leads). See also “Back”, and “Turn”
switchback A course design that results in the dog making continual 180-degree turns.
table position The performance required by the judge on the table. Depending on the flavor of the competition this might be a sit, a down, a stand, or any of the above.
tandem turn 1. A form of the Back Cross that takes place on the dismount of an obstacle or on the flat rather than on the approach to the obstacle. 2. A rear cross in which the dog and handler move “in tandem” so that their arcs are of equal size, crossing somewhere in the middle.
target 1. training device, such as a paper plate, small square of Plexiglas, washcloth, or plastic lid, used to focus a dog’s attention forward or down to a specific area. The target is designed to give the dog an immediate reward for focus. 2. Something the animal is taught to touch with some part of his body. A target is generally stationary.
target stick A mobile target the animal is taught to follow. Target sticks are often used as lures.
target training Teaching a skill using a target to shape the performance.
targeting A training method where a motivator or “target” (such as a toy or food) is placed on an object or on a specific point on a course to get the dog to focus on that given point.
TDAA The Teacup Dogs Agility Association (www.K9TDAA.com).
teeter whip The recoil reflex of a teeter board snapping back up after it has banged down under the dog’s weight. The amount of flex in the teeter board along its length. The more flex the more “whip”.
threadle An obstacle combination that requires the dog to perform one of two side-by-side obstacles, pass between the two obstacles, and then negotiate the second obstacle in the same direction as the first.
time faults Faults earned for going over the standard course time assigned to a course by the judge. Usually assigned as “one fault or fraction of” or “one second or fraction of.”
time keeper A ring official responsible for timing performances.
time plus faults Scoring system where faults accrued on a course are converted into time on a one-to-one basis and then added to the running time to come up with a total time or score.
timing cue The event that signals to the agility handler the correct timing for any directive to the dog.
title A merit conferred upon a dog on the completion of performance requirements. For example, in the USDAA a dog will earn an Agility Dog (AD) title for three qualifying legs in the standard class. And so the dog is entitled to append the acronym to his name (i.e. Bogie AD). Note that championship titles typically precede the dog’s name (i.e. ADCh MACh TACh Bogie).
titling class An agility class that is eligible for a qualifying leg towards a title.
touch and go Hopping on and off the table before the judge’s count is finished.
touch n go This is a numbered course comprised of contact obstacles and tunnels. The obstacles can be a mix of tunnels, teeter totters, A-frames, and dog walks. The dog must demonstrate their ability to correctly perform the contact obstacles while moving at a rapid pace.
transition 1. The movement between two consecutive obstacles on a course. 2. When a handler communicates to the dog that it needs to go from highway to city movement (or vice versa) or switch between handler and obstacle focus.
transitional distance The distance between two obstacles.
trap Also known as a handler challenge or discrimination problem; a trap is an arrangement of obstacles that are in close proximity to each other. The trap may be of an obstacle discrimination type, (tunnel under the frame), or a directional type, (two jumps close together, i.e., left or right).
tunnel sucker Any dog that preferentially goes to the tunnel over other obstacles regardless of the commands given by the handler.
tunnelers This class is a numbered course comprised exclusively of tunnels. The dogs negotiate the course at a high rate of speed while listening intently for the directional control commands from the handler to indicate the next correct tunnel to be performed on the course.
turn A relative directional that asks the dog to negotiate a 180° turn away from or toward the handler.
turning radius The distance (length of path) required for a dog to effect a turn.
tweak grinch A judge who wastes time marginally moving or rotating equipment while tweaking the course.
tweaking The fine tuning that the judge does after the course builders have done their work to ensure that the course is set properly.
twizzle A Front Cross on a dismount of an obstacle not to effect a turn, but simply to change sides to the dog.
two-on-two-off An unambiguous position on the dismount of a contact obstacle that the dog is taught to assume. In this case the back two feet are on the plank and front two feet off the plank.
up contact The contact zone at the ascent or approach-side of a contact obstacle.
UKC United Kennel Club. An agility organization featuring the Bud Kramer school of dog agility.
uprights The vertical ends of a jump that have the hardware or jump cups for holding up the bars or planks. A decorative wing may be attached to each upright. Also called standards/stanchions.
USDAA United States Dog Agility Association, offering agility competitions with 5 agility events: standard, gamblers, jumpers, snooker and pairs.
vangrail method At the start of the course, some handlers will lead out past 2 or more obstacles, and attempt to block the obstacle behind them while directing (or “pushing”) their dog to an obstacle on the right or left. The dog may be unsure which way he is to go next, so it is crucial that the handler’s timing be perfect; otherwise, the dog may crash into the handler or run through the handler’s legs.
Velcro dog A dog who works close to his handler as though “stuck”
Velcro handler A handler who works close to his dog as though “stuck”. You’ll note that Velcro is a two-part fabric.
verbal cue Any voice command or cue by the handler.
Vertical Hop A jumping style (or error) such that the vertical distance jumped is greater than the horizontal distance.
veterans division An agility class typically reserved for older dogs and in some venues for older handlers.
viaduct A wall jump with two tunnel-like openings in the base.
VIFFing Vectoring in Forward Flight. Motion of a dog which causes such a spin or turn that the dog will ultimately perform the obstacle sideways or backwards. Seen mostly with jumps but can happen with other obstacles.
V-set A handling maneuver in which the handler sets the turn to a series of obstacles sooner than normal, allowing the dog to maintain obstacle focus for a longer period of time. It also allows the handler to avoid off-courses and call-offs. The handler is generally on the inside of the turn and the dog on the outside, farthest from the obstacle.
walk-through A time period prior to the running of a course in which exhibitors are allowed to walk the assigned sequence, memorize it, and plan their handling strategy.
weave pole dance The characteristic walk or dance that many handlers do while getting the dog to perform the weave poles (a.k.a. “Weave pole shuffle”).
weave pole wires A weave pole training method using wires to connect the poles and define the dog’s path through the poles by making a “channel.” The wires are gradually removed, usually from the center first, until only the poles remain.
weave poles An agility obstacle consisting of a series of upright poles. The dog is required to enter the weave poles with the first pole on his left shoulder and weave alternately down the line.
weave-a-matic A special set of weave poles designed by Monica Percival (Pipe Dreams) to teaching weaving using the leaning poles method.
weavers This class is a numbered course comprised of tunnels and sets of weave poles. There are both short sets of weave poles (5-6) and long sets of weave poles (10-12) on the course, intermixed with open tunnels. The dogs must demonstrate their ability to approach weave poles at speed, enter correctly and weave accurately, while staying on course.
weaves to nowhere When the weaves are situated so that no obstacle is in sight at the end of the weaves. It’s thought that dogs sometimes have a tendency to pop out early on weaves to nowhere because there is no next-obstacle on which to focus.
weaving chute A weave pole training method which starts the poles standing apart from the center line to form an open chute. The poles are moved closer together in small steps until they are in a straight line. The poles are not slanted as in the leaning poles method.
wingless jump See Nonwinged jump.
wings An equestrian term for uprights that have a horizontal extension. Wings are usually about two feet wide. While many wings look like a simple section of fence, they also come in a variety of inventive and decorative shapes and designs; for example, wings could be shaped like dogs or fire hydrants.
wired weave poles A weave pole training method which uses a physical wire to create a barrier to the dog and shape the correct performance in the weave poles.
withers Highest point of a dog’s shoulders. This is a point of measurement which determines at what height a dog should jump in agility.
world championships An FCI international agility competition for purebred dogs. The AKC selects and sponsors the AKC/USA World Team to compete in this event.
world cup An international agility competition held in conjunction with the World Dog Show, which is an international conformation competition. The USDAA selected the USA Agility Team that was sponsored by Pedigree.
Wrap A verbal cue to the dog directed over a jump to turn back neatly around the wing or standard in the direction from which he came.
wrong course Taking an obstacle out of sequence or in the wrong direction (usually resulting in a course fault).
yards per second The speed at which a dog moves on a course is measured in yards per second. There are two YPS measurements on a course: the YPS required to meet the judge’s standard course time; and the YPS at which the dog actually ran the course.
yellow zone See contact zone.
YPS Yards Per Second
zoomies A display of canine exuberence in which the dog runs around the ring out of control of the handler, but having a terrific time nonetheless.
zooming Any dog who loses concentration and runs around the course in an uncontrolled manner. Also known as buzzing.