For a long time I’ve believed that in our training curriculum for dog agility we should define a suite of compulsory skills that encompass both dog training and handler training objectives. I have a small suite of these defined in my own training.


Here’s an interesting exercise that is a bit snookeresque in its transitions. The demands include a threadle (3-4; 5-6; 7-8); broad outruns (after each technical moment); and a closing serpentine (8-12). This is almost a study in speed changes; though I would also broadly argue for the handler understanding his “job” in a simple Post Turn.


I’m just playing here. Nevermind.



Three or four of four red format. SCT 50 seconds.



This is a very cool picture. It’s a Poodle cut that really has class and character. This photo comes from the Small Paws Over Texas TDAA trial. It sounds like they had a bang-up trial down there as the TDAA leaps in popularity.

Photo courtesy of: Courtney Keys,


You know I’ve pretty much determined that the Bible needs to be updated for modern times. And old buddy of mine, a Jewish fellow[1] told me once that the old testament reflects the “wisdom of the plains” and pontificates on the essential skills for survival in that time and by the nomadic people of the plains. For example God’s demand to “go forth and multiply” (on the very first page of the Bible, by the way) is great wisdom for a nomadic male head of family with a thousand sheep, forty goats, and six wives. These statistics reflect a very labor intensive world. And the very best source of free, cheap labor had to be a small tribe of strapping strong sons.


These days I’ve been concerned with being more organized, and more productive. The answer to this can probably be found in Solomon’s Ecclesiastes 11:4. “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.

Okay. At first reading I was thinking about the two guys in the movie Fargo[2] looking up into sky talking about the weather. Why does one look at the sky, after all? But then I thought, one of these guys was shoveling snow from the sidewalk and the other pursuing a murder investigation… so it’s not like looking at the sky really was much of a break from productive work.

So what’s the problem with watching the wind and looking at the clouds? I’m of two minds on this issue. On one hand I think that this is glancing analogous advice; what we’d call today “paralysis by analysis”.  After all the verse does go on to say “Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” Or, in other words “Do something, even if it’s wrong!”

On the other hand this could be simple advice to “stop farting around!”

So I’m going to presume to rewrite at least that one sentence in the verse… the “He who watches the wind… “ thing.

He who hangs out with a pot of coffee in the morning (in his robe, by the way) playing solitaire on the computer and watching last night’s Daily Show on the Comedy Channel will not get organized for the day ahead; and he who insists on keeping up with all the football games (pro and college), the World Series, and obtw the start of the NBA season and who has to watch the Netflix and get it back in the mail will probably not train his dog: get current with course reviews; update the web page; write the blog; do any outside chores… and a bunch of other stuff.

Okay. This is my first attempt at writing new bible verses. Give me a break.


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

[1] And whatever else their faults, Jews sure know their old testament.



4 Responses to “Compulsories”

  1. Courtney Keys Says:

    Thanks for the mention of SPOT, Bud! I’m not sure if you’re joking about a Poodle cut, but that’s a Chinese Crested…

  2. Maggie Says:

    First exercise looks insane 😛 Can’t wait to try it!

  3. ruckus scottie Says:

    More on compulsories, please. I’m getting back in the game.

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