Hex Challenge

Here’s a training challenge for you. But you know I have this bad habit of turning a basic training exercise into a game, so bear with.

The purpose of this game is to direct the dog over six jumps arranged in a circle. Though the jumps are numbered the handler may direct his dog to those jumps in the order of his choosing (or the dog’s, depending on who’s in charge of the team).

After the performance of each jump the handler must call the dog back into the center circle before sending him back out to perform another jump. The handler is required to stay inside the center circle at all times. Stepping a foot outside of the circle is a forfeit.

Course time is 40 seconds for big dogs and 45 seconds for little dogs.

The dog will earn 1 point for each jump successfully performed. If the dog drops a bar on a jump the point is lost. Refusals and repeated obstacles are not faulted.

Freestyle Variation

Rather than calling the dog back into the center circle after each jump, the handler can direct the dog at a distance to continue performing jumps. All jumps are bi-directional. SCTs are 22 seconds for big dogs and 25 seconds for small dogs.

Training Notes

The original idea of the exercise is to practice setting a line and sending a dog in as efficient a manner as possible. It takes considerable skill to draw a dog out of a turn into a straight line and set a new straight path with only two or three steps to give. Because of the repetitive nature of the exercise the handler can get considerable practice with quick accelerating steps in a basic send.

For more novice teams the center circle might be slightly bigger, or the outer circle of jumps slightly bigger.

The variation occurred to me as I realized that in the game the typical handler wouldn’t be so keen to practice the wrap and send skill and so I had to write into the rules the requirement that the dog must be drawn back into the circle after each jump. However, the freestyle variation is an interesting challenge for proofing the dog’s work at a distance. Note that the dog’s path might be serpentine or a threadle in nature. Either approach (whether by design or serendipity) will require a solid Get Out skill to keep pushing the dog out to the circle of jumps.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What is the correct term to describe the occupation a person who explores caves and underground caverns to: map, report, draw, photograph, and engage in scientific research? I will accept the slang idiom as a correct answer.

First correct answer posted as a reply to this blog post wins a free copy of the March Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – Feb 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special02” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


2 Responses to “Hex Challenge”

  1. Sarah Says:

    A speleologist (as opposed to a spelunker or a caver, who are in it for the sport more than science).


    • budhouston Says:

      Speleologist is correct, or “caver” for the serious. I pretty much expected that most people would blurt out “spelunker” without giving it any research or thought. A spelunker (even tho it’s based on speleology) is a recreational cave diver.

      Okay, you win. You need to send me your email addy to BudHouston@hughes.net. LMK if you want the Feb issue of Jokers Notebook… or want to wait for the March issue.

      Bud Houston

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