Game of the Weak ~ Nested Gamblers

Gamblers is a game of timing and strategy and an opportunity to demonstrate a dog’s willingness to work reliably at a distance from his handler. This game is a fundamental to a number of agility venues including the USDAA and the TDAA.


This is the traditional USDAA gamblers game, nested for Novice, Advanced and Masters. The game begins with a point accumulation period of 30 seconds. The scoring system is 1-3-5-7. Jumps are 1 point; tunnels, tire and weave poles are 3 points; the dogwalk is 5 points; the A-frame is 7 points. 21 points are required in the opening period to qualify at any level.

15 seconds are allowed for completion of the gamble (the dog must get to the finish line before the 45 second whistle blows.) The dog is not allowed to do any two obstacles in the gamble of choice in sequence. The handler may choose which gamble to be performed at the end of the point accumulation period. A fault during the gamble will invalidate the gamble. Time stops when the dog crosses the finish line.

For the purposes of league play no specific gamble will be required. We’ll let players choose their own poison with the knowledge that each gamble has a different point value, increasing comparable to the technical risk of the gamble,

  • Novice gamble 10 points – blue squares, tire tunnel and jump.
  • Advanced gamble 15 points – light red circles, four jumps in the pinwheel.
  • Masters gamble 25 points – dark green circles, jump A-frame and two jumps.

Note that each for each gamble the course-map shows a handler-containment line of the same color as the gamble numbers.


The Gamblers class is scored points then time. The dog that scores the most points wins. Time is a tie-breaker only.

Qualification Criteria

To earn a qualifying score the dog and handler team will have to earn more bonuses than penalties and perform the entire sequence in less than the allotted time.

  • Games I / Novice ~ 21 accumulated points and successful completion of the Novice Gamble.
  • Games II / Advanced ~ 21 accumulated points and successful completion of the Advanced Gamble.
  • Games III / Masters ~ 21 accumulated points and successful completion of the Masters Gamble.

What Do You Make of This?

Okay, here’s the deal. Find in this set of the floor an interesting training exercise. Send it to me at The best answer will get the next issue of the Go The Distance Notebook for free. I’ll email it to you!

The best response will include permission for me to publish the exercise, and will be well documented and illustrated.

Notes on Publishing CRCD Code

You know, I’ve tried over time to include CRCD code in my weblog posts. But the results are usually not satisfying. That is, CRCD rejects the code, presumably because there is formatting that the software doesn’t like. What I have found, however, is that straight-text in a “Reply” copies over the Course Designer quite well. Just to test this premise I’ll write a Reply including the code for the “What do you make of this?” game for the week.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Go the Distance ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Notebook – Jan 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store:

5 Responses to “Game of the Weak ~ Nested Gamblers”

  1. budhouston Says:

    Here’s the CRCD code for the set of the floor this week:

    Begin Course Designer
    Version 3
    For a free viewer, go to
    End Course Designer

  2. Lora Abbott Says:

    To practice directionals out of tunnels:
    Tire, right side of C-shaped tunnel, non winged jump around the 40′ mark, tunnel under the A-frame, wing jump near the 20′ mark.

    Handler containment line around the 50′ mark for first three obstacles, then vertically somewhere around the 20′ mark (with an appropriate diagonal line to allow the handler to not run into the non-winged jump at the 20′ mark at the bottom of the diagram.) Basically to force the handler to handle from a particular side more than to practice distance skills.

    Challenges are to get the dog to turn away from the natural bend of the first tunnel to find the handler on the right. It is presumed that the handler will use a tandem turn to get the dog in the next tunnel (also a distance tunnel/contact challenge), but can the handler also convey that the dog is not to turn left out of the tunnel as the dog would expect because of the tandem turn, but to turn right based on a verbal?

  3. Steve Says:

    I blogged 5 sequences with some handling thoughts based on this setup on my blog:

    • budhouston Says:

      Okay Steve you win. You’ll have to send me your email address. You’ll receive a copy of Go the Distance (Vol II #2) as an email attachment.

      Nice job. It strikes me that we should make pro / am categories. lol


      • Steve Says:

        Thanks! I figured supplying my email via this reply form was all you would need to contact me…

        I also grant you permission to re-publish that blog post’s content as long as a link to my blog is provided somewhere in your book’s credits. I wouldn’t have gone through the exercise if I didn’t plan on following the “rules” of the contest :^)

        I guess I never considered myself a “pro”!
        Best Regards,

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