Crazy Ilze Rides Again

There are a very small number of innovators in the creation of new games for dog agility. One of my real favorites is Ilze Rukis who has invented games like Time Warp, Comin’ and Goin’, Cowboy Dog, and Wild West Pinball. Anybody who competes in the TDAA or does JFF League Play (and soon enough C-WAGS CCAP) might recognize most of these games

Now something has come across my desk that is very interesting; another Crazy Ilze game (as I am fond of calling them). The game is SuperDog. SuperDog is a strategic point accumulation game.  In concept it is based on the old PACMAN computer game that if the smiley ate a “power pill”, it could move faster and gobble up things in its path.



This game will be played for the first time ever on June 27, 2009 at the Family Dog Center in La Crosse, WI, a TDAA trial.

The point accumulation period is 50 seconds.  Time starts when the dog crosses any point of the start line at handler’s choice.  Point accumulation ends at 50 seconds with a whistle and the team must cross the finish line to stop time.  Fastest time decides any tie points.


The Power Pill sequence is strategically placed on the field. Scoring is a 1-3-5 system; except when the dog has successfully completed all of the obstacles in the Power Pill sequence.  Then the next four obstacles taken by the dog have a ten fold point value (10 – 30 – 50).  While the Power Pill is in effect, obstacles may be taken back-to-back.  During regular play, obstacles may not be taken back to back.

Once the four obstacles have been taken, the scoring reverts to 1-3-5 until the dog retakes the Power Pill sequence.  Only 1-3-5 points are awarded for Power Pill obstacles.  Power Pill obstacles may not be scored for ten fold values.  If intentionally or unintentionally Power Pill obstacles are taken while the Power Pill is in effect, they count as one of the four obstacles but given only the regular point value (1-3-5).  The Power Pill is in effect only when the three obstacles have been correctly performed.  The Power Pill sequence may be bi‑directional, at the judge’s discretion.  If one of the Power Pill obstacles is a jump and the bar is dropped, then the handler must replace the dropped bar.

No points are awarded for missed contacts, incomplete weaves, or dropped bars, etc.  Non-Power Pill jump bars are not reset.  While the Power Pill is in effect, an attempted obstacle counts as one of the four obstacles even if points are not awarded.

Qualifying Criteria

Games  I:  150 points

Games II:   250 points

Games III:  350 points?

The Hamster Wheel

It’s been quite a haul for me. In the past seven weeks I’ve led six camps, conducted a weekend seminar (complete with three travel days); attended two agility trials; stood 14 evening classes and fun runs; and two bi-monthly mini-clinics. It was completely exhausting. The private camp I conducted this past week was a group from Pittsburgh. They were a lot of fun; and I worked very hard to give them just as much bang for the buck as the first camp of the series some seven weeks ago.

As a consequence of this mad pace of work I’m somewhat behind on my chores. Of course during that time period I reviewed something like 15 weekends of TDAA courses. Some things still have to get done no matter how busy you are. In the same period I’ve adopted a new pup and have been working at training and socializing him. When I get up in the 6:00 ayem I look at the creature staring back at me mirror with his hair standing up on one side of his head… and I’m pretty sure that’s the shape of the persona inside as well.

This week we have the Ohio 4H Teen Dog Experience here at Country Dream. We actually have no obligation to train them or to feed them. They come along with several nearly adult counselors who take care of facilitating all of the activities of the week. We had this bunch here last year. They were superb and appreciative guests. This evening Marsha and I are going to go down to the lower cottage to have dinner with them. That should be fun.

I’ve made a list of all the chores I have to attend to.  This morning I moored the dock on the pond. And I did some weed whacking and a bit of emergency gardening. I also reviewed a suite a TDAA courses by Ilze Rukis. I wish that I could take my pups to that trial. It’s bound to be quite fun.

Upside Down Planter Update

Okay, if you follow along with my BLOG you probably know that I made my own upside-down tomato planters. Just to test the concept I had three different varieties of tomatoes; half of them I put into the ground, and half of them into the upside down planters.

Well, the upside-down planters have been very disappointing. The plants that I put into the ground are like 10 times bigger than those in the hanging planters. What I decided to do is move them into the garden so they can catch back up with those that I started in the ground. I used a pair of tin snips to open up the milk carton hangers. In so doing I discovered a very interesting thing… and I understand now why they perform so poorly.

When you first put the tomato plants into the planters you’ll see this remarkable feat as the plant turns around to face up into the sun. What you don’t actually get to see is what happens to the roots. God has declared that roots go down; and so every one of these plants had an awful root ball choking around the main stem of the plant. It didn’t matter how much dirt I had covering the initial root system… because the roots weren’t climbing up into the soil at all, because they were trying to go down, as I said.

I was pleased with myself that I beat the Topsy Turvy tomato planter price of about $9.00 a planter or similar vertical tomato planter schemes that cost more in the $5.00 range. Now my only real satisfaction is that I know it’s a bum concept and I’m glad I never shelled out any significant dollar amount.

The only way it could really work is to put a very rich food nutrient into the planters to that the ball of roots can feed in a hydroponic manner. But you know, if you were going to do it that way… why not invest in an honest hydroponic planter?


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


8 Responses to “Crazy Ilze Rides Again”

  1. SA Urban Farmer Says:

    thanks for the upside down tomato update, I’d been wondering how that experiment turned out.

    • budhouston Says:

      So Judith… how does your garden grow? I understand there’s been a bit of a drought down in San Antonio. I reckon the idea of up-side down planters would have been of some interest to you. But you know, being from Phoenix myself, I understand that lack of rain is no stopper. There’s always the garden hose, after all. — Bud

  2. Judy Casserberg Says:

    Ilze introduced Super Dog at the first TDAA trial held in MN way back when. Then it disappeared. The last time that I saw her I asked what had happened to Super Dog and she said that she had sort of forgotten it. It was fun and I am glad to see it or at least a reincarnation of it back.

    So the tomato thing didn’t work! Did you bury the stems side ways for the in the ground tomatoes, like I suggested? If not, try that for your tomato experiment next year. The Yorkie Girls from Knife River had a fun Earth Dog day yesterday in IL. No agility but some good racing.

    • budhouston Says:

      Hey Judy, thanks for the historical note on Super Dog. I’ll make the notation with the file. I continue to collect games and how they are played. I reckon I have the only up-to-date encyclopedia of agility games. Somebody has to do it. lol

      So… did you come up with a perfect Greedy Player strategy? Certainly I made some mental notes for the day I might play this game and have a pretty clear idea what the killer concept might be.

      I didn’t bury the tomato stems sideways in the original planting. Though it has been at the back of my mind. Since I transplanted the hangers back into the ground all had these misshaped goose-neck stems. So I’ve got a bit of sideways action working with them. Lord knows they might need help with the rootball mess and all.


  3. Pugahontas Says:

    I was glad to see Judy note that 🙂 You made me go to my old notes — APRIL 23, 2004, TEACUP (TDAA) Trial put on by ACTS,
    Lake Elmo, MN 1st Teacup in MN!
    Beginner’s Game-Superdog! set by Ilze …,My pug Shaili was the 1st dog in the country to ever play it (cuz we went 1st) 🙂 and she qualified with 1st place and 387 points and my Pug Gypsy got 2nd with 379. We took a photo of her in a supercape 🙂
    It was our introduction to TDAA – I will never forget being shocked to learn about the “stand” on the table and she challenged with that on our very first TDAA standard run too! I grabbed my Pugs and my clicker and tried to quickly shape it before our runs :-0 Thanks for the flashback!!

  4. Pugahontas Says:

    Well.. (not so crazy) Ilze offered up Superdog! here in LaCrosse — I think only 3 dogs qualified across all the levels ! The Power Up obstacle was a pinwheel which actually ended up throwing off some of our bigger dogs but it was a very fun game to play!

  5. Judy Casserberg Says:

    Still one of my favorite games and when I asked Ilze why we hadn’t played in since Lake Elmo, she said that it hadn’t come op or something like that. So I can hardly wait to play it again. When we played it, I still had Pippi and I had badgered Annelise to have TDAA so much that we played even though Pippi was on an antibiotic. She jumped up on a tunnel and stood there looking dazed. I took her off the med and learned from a human friend that was on it that it made people dizzy. I’ve been waiting to play the game ever since.

    And Bud we are very dry in northern MN. I already have brown patches in my agility yard. no garden in yet. I may just take over the garden area for a larger agility yard. I may try your idea and plant in plastic jugs.

  6. I'm glad with that Says:

    yeah, I have the same problem…..

    […]Crazy Ilze Rides Again « Bud Houston’s Blog[…]…

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