Tabula Rasa

I sat down this morning intent on designing a working set of equipment for the Sunday mini-clinic that would be fresh and challenging and allow us to address a variety of handling and dog training skills. Faced with the blank screen I just didn’t really know how to start. I’ve only been designing lesson plans for twenty years, you know.

Then I remembered that I have this product that I’ve been selling on my web store for something over a year: Agility Training ~ Concepts and Design ~For a Small Universe ~ Volume I (available at So I opened up the .pdf and went hunting for oblong sequences. I’m determined to split the floor length-wise on Sunday.

Small Universe is really kind of a cool tool. It has hundreds of training sequences for different spaces. Once you find the sequence you like just click on the square in the upper-right corner of the picture and it will spawn straightaway into the Clean Run Course Designer. Then you can mirror it, nudge stuff around, replace equipment, and even design a variety of different sequences using the same set of equipment.


This one is kind of interesting it provides for some implicit layering or distance work with the pipe tunnel tucked under the dogwalk. There’s also some subtle play with the Hobday box arrangement on the dismount of the dogwalk.


I’m not completely thrilled with this set. However I do want to do some discrimination work with my students and so the tunnel/A-frame is a nice central focus. The problem with the set is that it won’t be terribly easy to find a variety of sequencing options… at least not enough to keep a group occupied and interested for up to two hours. But, I’ll give myself permission to subtly move things around from sequence to sequence so that it continues to be fresh and compelling.


Note that I’ve substituted some equipment in the sequence. Mostly what I’ll move around as we work will be the pipe tunnel and jumps #3 and #4.


These days I typically will do a sanity check for spacing before I commit to the set of the floor. In CRCD you can set the dog’s path properties to show the interval spacing between obstacles. This is something that I routinely do when I’m reviewing courses for the TDAA. It tends to flag when obstacles are too far apart or too close together. Close together is fine in the TDAA… but when I’m designing for mixed group classes or for courses in competition I always design with that leggy fast Doberman in mind. Make it safe for him, and it’ll be safe and fair for everyone.

Finished Product?


I got the two working sets side-by-side on the floor. I also added a set of 12 weave poles in that little dead space between the two working sets. The weave poles will be a shared obstacle, which means that it can be used by either side… though not at the same time.

From here I’ll design a series of five or six training exercises for both sides of the building. Note that my students will be waiting stage left in queue.

Thursday Night Fun Run


This evening (Thursday) I’ll have students showing up for our Thursday night fun run. So I sat down with the set of equipment for the weekend determined to find a standard course sequence that has nice flow and subtle challenge. This is what I came up with. It really wouldn’t be a legal course in most venues. There’s no teeter… and it’s very unusual to finish a course with a contact obstacle. But it will serve for our evening fun.

Mostly I’m just being lazy. I’d like to have very little equipment movement between tonight’s work and the Sunday mini-clinic.

I Made This!


When I initially combined the original two sequences on the same course map I had the dog’s path properties set to connect to numbers. And this is what I got as I put the two together. I’ll have to remember this the next time I have a discussion about the angry lines of a course. LOL!





Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at


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