The Impossible Tunnel Game

I’ve had a delightful time this week with the group from Cincinnati. I’m always impressed by good dog trainers who continue to be thoughtful students of the agility game. While much of what I have to present was foreign to this group they were game (willing) students.

I must share with you a game we played yesterday (a thinly veiled training exercise actually)… which we continued into the evening as the game for the Thursday Night Fun Run with my own regular students.


This is actually a variation of the Impossible Tunnel Drill; an exercise I developed years ago to teach basic skills and disciplines for handling discrimination problems. Don’t let the name of the exercise fool you. It’s just plain hard… but not impossible.

The way the game works is this: You’ll note that there are two numbering systems on the course map. The white numbers show that it is a simple six obstacles. The numbers 3 and 4 are set aside next to the line of U-shaped pipe tunnels because, you see, the handler doesn’t know which of the two he’s going to do before he runs. We have a person rolling two dice into a box and will read the two numbers out to the handler just before he starts his dog. The dog’s time begins as soon as the roller reads the second of the two numbers. Ideally the handler will leave the dog on the table and take a lead out to the landing side of jump #2 before the two numbers are read.

Okay… that’s the novice version.

In the advanced version the roller rolls the dice twice and will read out all four numbers [note that there are two dice of different size or color; one is always read first, and then the other so as not to influence the order of performance.]

Oh, there’s a masters version too. For masters the roller reads six numbers. However, we relent on the start of the stopwatch. We’ll give the handler about a half a minute to study the tunnels in front of him before beginning. Time begins when the dog leaves the table.

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at


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