Chaining Fore and Aft

I’ve got to share with you some basic distance training I’ve been doing with my boy Kory. Mostly the intention of this training is “Go On!” an absolute directional which means “continue working in the direction you’re working and don’t wait for me!”

We begin with two hoops in the back yard. I’ll use the opportunity to fortify my “Stay” command as the training demands a lead-out. I’ll call him through the first hoops and take a single accelerating step as I present and direct him on to the second hoop. Note that over time I back up about 5′ at a time as he learns the valuable lesson that I’ll toss his Frisbee or tennis ball or navy blue octopus only if he goes on to finish this oh so short sequence.

Since we’ve already mastered the send through two hoops when I add the third hoop I don’t really have to start at square one; I can make the initial send from a spot corresponding to my long send with only two hoops. Once again, I move back about 5′ at a time. But I should point out that I that aggressive progression is in the drawing only and probably not in real life. In real life this drama has unfolded over the course of more than a week and I take little prudent progressive steps and often play the two steps forward and one step back game as I have to back-track to refortify the basic performance. All serious dog trainers know what I’m talking about.

Now I’m skipping right ahead to the five-hoop-send. While I’m here with this pretty picture allow me to introduce a strategic training element that I’ll likely use (oh… I haven’t progressed this far with Kory yet! Fancy that.) With hoops, I can compress the intervals between obstacles and have no worries about the dog’s ability to adjust stride. The hoop is a neutral performance obstacle. All the dog has to do is run through it; and no stride-adjusting required whatsoever. So, I can compress the hoops down to about a 10′ interval and gradually, over time, open them up to 20′ or even more.

I said from the onset that the skill I’m working on is the “Go on!” directional. Throughout the training with my boy I will study to use the “Go on!” command to describe what it is we are doing. Later on I will mix the directional skills with “Left” and “Right” and “Come” and “Get Out!” But these are stories waiting to be told at a future date.

A Word About Hoops

When I was at the NADAC judging clinic in Calera, OK I blurted out once without really thinking it through that there is no CRCD icon for the “hoop”. And everybody looked at me like I was a dim-wit step-child and informed me that there certainly is. Okay fine… so they use the tire icon for the hoop. [You get it? NADAC doesn’t use a tire. Thus the icon for the tire in CRCD is the de facto icon for the hoop in NADAC course design.]

Did I ever tell you that all agility people are crazy?

Anyhow, at least I’ll represent properly. When I include the hoop in a drawing I do use the tire icon. But I edit the tire properties so that the tire diameter is 30” and the overall width is 32”. Now it even looks like a hoop and is differentiatable as a distinct/unique obstacle to those of us who aren’t quite as crazy as them.

If you are crazy averse to incorporating hoops in your training of course you can use jumps, winged or not, in lieu of the hoops that I’m using in the illustrations above. And I fully intend to transfer this skill to jumps, and even other obstacles!

If you use the compression method of training the long send however, be sure to reduce the height of the jumps so that you don’t make the jumping unsafe for long-striding dogs who work in a carefree and quick manner.

Getting My Butt Sued

Yep, I feel very sorry for my butt right now because the Clean Run is claiming trademark ownership of “Go the Distance” and they promise to bring a legal action against me if I continue to publish my distance training series under the name “Go the Distance” as it is (they say) their trademark.

Last night I got absolutely no sleep worrying over this matter. That accounts for the breezy language of this web log entry I suppose. lol

I wrote back to the attorney who sent me a threatening letter something to this extent: “Go the Distance was never intended by me (co-author) to be a static project of a single volume or issue. As such it is an unfinished work. The authors of the original volume alone are obligated and entitled to continue the work.”

Hell, my problem is that I’m kind of old school and I’ve ever figured that I can get through life with a hand-shake verbal agreement and a spit in the dirt. But you know I’m getting reeducated all the time.

I’m probably going to be a chicken shit and back down on this. The legal system can be a blunt instrument served up against your head. I have no desire to have financial violence inflicted on my family. It doesn’t matter if I’m right. I’m in semi-retirement and don’t really have the wherewithal to afford a legal fight. So there it is.


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 “Chaining Fore and Aft”

  1. Stefan Elvstad Says:

    I’d much rather see you keeping your money than spending them on lawyers. If you win, you would still be out money, and if you loose it would be even worse. The title is good, but that isn’t why we buy copies of your workbook. We buy them because of their content. I’ll still buy them no matter what title you give them, and so would any reasonable person. This inspires me to tell the world how great your distance training workbooks are.

    BTW – didn’t I see a reference of you as one of the founders of Clean Run? If that is right, it makes the suit extra “cute”

    • budhouston Says:

      Thanks for the kind words Stefan! I’m always hoping that I’m creating value for those who follow my work.

      Yes, I was the founding editor of the Clean Run. The inside cover still bears my copyright. Old timers can tell you how it was a stapled together xerographic thing the first six months or so, with just a few hundred subscribers. It was my lesson weekly plan (tho usually with a drawing that I did on the cover). I’ve been publishing lesson plans for about 20 years now.

      After I left the publication the Clean Run went another direction and was no longer concerned with lesson planning. And so my lesson plans went into the pages of the Just For Fun Agility Notebook. About six years of lesson plans (moderately priced) are still available on my web store.

      Anyhow, thanks for the note. That as thoughtful of you.


  2. Jon Says:


    I don’t see “Go The Distance” registered as a Clean Run Trademark.


    Checking Clean Run trademarks, I only find 5, none of which are “Go The Distance”.

    Is it copyright infringement instead?

  3. Stefan Elvstad Says:

    The Go the Distance workbook Clean Run is referring to has the following copyright statement:
    Copyright(c) 1999, 2004 by Bud Houston and Stacy Peardot

    (Interestingly enough, in the paragraph immediately below the copyright statement, Clean RUn Productions, LLC grants the buyer the right to make certain types of copies despite the copyright)

    I’m not a lawyer, but as a systems designer, I have had to learn some about Intellectual Property law. I don’t think there is any question as to who owns the copyright. By default it is always the authors, and here it is also stated outright inside the front cover.

    A trademark is a different thing. It protects a name, not the actual works. A trademark can be registered with the US Patent and Trademark office, or it can be unregistered. To claim an unregistered trademark, the owner should attach the TM symbol to the name. If it is a registered trademark, the name should be designated with the (R) symbol. Looking at the original book, I find no claim of trademark ownership with respect to the “Go the Distance” title, neither by any symbol nor written in the book. (My book is from the third printing – though unlikely, it is theoretically possible that other printings could have some difference in these matters)

    Looking up “Go the Distance” at the US Patent and Trademark Office gives some interesting results. There appears to be 5 live registered trademarks “Go the Distance”. None of them belong to Clean Run, and they don’t deal with products or services that appear to be easily confused with an agility book.

    So, I think Clean Run has a pretty weak case. However, often that doesn’t help when the financial resources of the involved parties are so different. I still think that in practice, winning requires spending a lot more money than it is worth and that taking the High Road by stating something like “We are convinced that we have the right to use the title, but as we do not want to divert our attention onto other matters than services to the agility community, we will refrain from using the title ‘Go the Distance'”

    My $.05 worth. You might also find it worth while to see if EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) can be of some help. They do a lot of work defending distributors of electronic media against powerful companies. According to themselves, “EFF fights to preserve balance and ensure that the Internet and digital technologies continue to empower you as a consumer, creator, innovator, scholar, and citizen.”
    At the minimum, they would probably be able to provide you with some free advice.

  4. Adrienne Says:

    I don’t suppose the new title is an ironic response to the whole situation?

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