Scamper is the invention of Wayne Van Deusen. Wayne has been for some time an inventor of new games for dog agility. Now in retirement we can probably expect him to continue to imagine and visualize. The game (Scamper) was tested on his own students who might be considered in today’s world, truly, the crash test dummies of dog agility.


The run starts any where behind the start-finish line.  The team begins with any obstacle and then the tunnel, followed by another obstacle, a different obstacle, and so forth until all obstacles have been taken. The choice of which obstacle to take at any given time is left up to the team.

5 faults for any of the following:

  • Taking two obstacles in a row (without doing the Scamper tunnel in between)
  • Repeating an obstacle
  • Dropped bar; missed contact; weave pole error
  • Starting with the scamper tunnel without taking a jump first

10 faults for each obstacle that was not performed

Big dogs have 45 seconds to complete the task; small dogs have 50 seconds. Time starts when the dog crosses the start line, time stops when the dog crosses the finish line. Note  that two sides of the ring have been designated common start and finish lines.

Scamper is scored Time plus faults


Games 1: Big dogs 55 points; Small dogs 60 points

Games 2 Big dogs 50 points; Small dogs 55 points

Games 3 Big dogs 45 points; Small dogs 50 points

Strategy Key

I designed the floor layout for this play of scamper. It is my propensity whenever I design a game… and especially when I design a dog’s choice game, to visualize a strategy. Note that the design is for teacup dogs who are accustomed to slight interval spacing between obstacles; and for teacup handlers who are accustomed to being keen in their handling and timely in their commands.

If you wanted to play this with big dogs, you really should spread thing out a bit.

I wanted to accomplish in my own strategy the briefest possible path; while making it something easy to remember. The approach to the teeter at #11 presents quite a problem as I have to get the dog past the #5 jump on one side and the weave poles on the other. It’s also not a very square presentation of the teeter. An alternate strategy might be to do jump #5 after the teeter and weave poles are done. That would allow a second chance if my dog were to take the #5 jump ahead of schedule.

These are the kind of games I love. Surely I can’t outrun the kids in this sport any more. And so I am left only with the considerable tools of the old man… cunning and guile. I’ll take my chances.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

In the Marine Corps what is it that they call the fellow who has night patrol duty in the barracks area?

The 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: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – March 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special03” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


5 Responses to “Scamper”

  1. Nancy Hoffman Says:

    This looks like a really fun game!
    I believe the answer is the Duty NCO, called the Fire Watch

    Nancy and Stewie JRT

  2. Krista Hill Says:

    I see some one already posted the Fire Watch answer… :0)

    This looks like real fun!! Think I would start with your #3 and then get the weaves and teeter done as the 3rd & 5th obstacles respectively – before Chuck got too wound up by the tunnels. Then I would do the 5/t, 7/t, 13/t & 1. Reminds me of a snooker course I ran years ago the required, if I recall correctly, that we do a red between each obstacle in the closing in addition to the usual.

  3. Michelle Blumenthal Says:

    Bud –
    Angie and I and a few other friends had an agility fiun night tonight and played “Scamper.” Great fun! Thanks! Great for baby dogs too.

    • budhouston Says:

      So… did you use this floor layout? I haven’t actually played it yet. I might put it in the mix over the next couple of weeks.


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