Game for the Week ~ Power and Speed

Power and speed, a British import game, is the Irondog competition of dog agility games. The game demonstrates the ability of the handler to exercise tight control (power) through a part of the course, then show loose control (speed) over another part of the course.


The course is split into two sections Power and Speed.

  1. The Power section contains the power obstacles, the weaves poles, occasionally specialty hurdles, possibly a tire, and the tunnels. The goal of this side is to have the handler negotiate his dog through the course without faulting. There is no course time for this part of the course. Faults earned in the Power section will be added to the dog’s overall score.
  2. The Speed section contains a straight forward jumping course. Here the scoring is on a time plus faults basis.


Scoring Power and Speed comes from the speed side only. Thus, if dog one ran the power side in 40 seconds and the speed side in 35, his total score is 35 seconds. If dog two ran the power side in 30 seconds and the speed side in 36 seconds, his total score would be 36 seconds. Dog one would win, even though dog two’s power side, (and consequently his total time) was faster.

Power and Speed is judged time plus faults in the Speed section since in order to get through to this section you must complete the Power section fault free.

  • The class is scored on a time plus faults basis—fastest time wins.
  • Refusals are faulted as are dropped bars and missed contacts.
  • The first section of the course—obstacles #1 through #6—is not timed. However, a handler will earn a 5-second time fault for any mistake. If, for example, a dog misses the contact on the A-frame his score would be 5 for the first part of the course—obviously, the ideal score for #1 through #6 is 0.
  • The timekeeper will start the stopwatch at on the approach to the first jump in the Speed section. Any time faults earned in the first part of the course are added to this time.


The Power section is not timed at all. What you would do is put the start-line on the approach to the first obstacle (typically a hurdle) in the speed section. To tell you the truth the biggest error judges are making with this game is putting obstacles that belong in the speed section… in the power section, and so trying to do too much stuff in the power section. Power might include three contacts, a set of weave poles and maybe a tunnel for shaping.

The Power section should be handling neutral. It’s not about sequencing; it’s about the dog demonstrating his skill on the technical obstacles. The speed section, on the other hand should be a wide open ripper of a jumpers course; presumably with nifty handling challenges.

There should be an SCT; but it clearly would be based on the speed section.

A well-designed Power and Speed course might end the power section with a contact obstacle (like the dogwalk) to give the handler time to maybe take a lead-out into the speed section while the dog maintains a solid bottom on the contact.

A good placement for this game in the running order of a trial is right at the beginning, before the standard courses and any other game. This allows familiarization with the contact obstacles; and, it allows the handler to demonstrate (to his dog) criteria for contact performances. This matter of discipline might erode (on the part of the handler) in the standard classes when the handler feels rushed by the pressure of time and competition.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

This little fish is in danger of extinction. What is this fish?

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.


21 Responses to “Game for the Week ~ Power and Speed”

  1. Deb Says:

    Bluefin tuna?

  2. Kathy Says:

    Thanks for explaining Power and Speed. It will be offered at UKAI trials in the US this year. Looking forward to the first one in my area in the NorthEast.

  3. Krista Hill Says:

    Delta Smelt?

  4. Steffi Says:

    A blackfin tuna

  5. Leanne Says:

    A few contradictions in there? 😛 “you must complete the Power section fault free.” vs. “Faults earned in the Power section will be added to the dog’s overall score.”

    Power and Speed is a very popular class over here! The rule is always that if you fault on the Power section, it is an automatic elimination and you cannot go through to the Speed section. Any mistakes on the technical side and you’re out, no score recorded.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this one at UKI shows and hearing about how the US dogs do.

    • budhouston Says:

      Indeed the traditional game is played as you say… and it’s documented that way in the Clean Run Book of Agility Games. My intent was to define the rules as I like to play them in a venue that doesn’t do a lot of “death penalty” kinds of faults.

      Thanks for your note.


  6. Michelle Says:

    Leanne, I think that the Power section faults are added to the Speed section’s time for placements. What puzzles me is that the Power section is not timed so what is to prevent the handler from basically walking the course and very carfully have the dog perform the Power obstacles. It could take some dogs 50 -60 seconds to complete the Power section and without fault go on to the Speed section, perform it very quickly so win.
    I know in actuality most handlers would tend to run the Power section; seems we can’t help but hurry in a trial atmosphere!

  7. Michelle Says:

    Ohhhhh….. I get it now. Wish we had P&S on our slate for our APril trial, I’d like to see how most run the Power section.

    Thanks Bud, this clears up a lot.

  8. Darci Says:

    Atlantic bluefin tuna?

    • budhouston Says:

      Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is the correct answer. I feel kinda bad about not giving this to Deb… and I felt like writing as a reply “can you be more specific?” But somebody who wasn’t even in the ballpark coulda jumped on that one like a hen on a junebug.


  9. Nancy Hoffman Says:

    Looks like a really fun game, I would like to try it sometime.

  10. Heather O'Leary Says:

    It’s a sturgeon…

  11. Betty Says:

    Your fish picture sure looks like Deb’s “Bluefin tuna” and Darci’s “Atlantic bluefin tuna” answers.

    And these fish (thunnus thynnus, aka Atlantic bluefin tuna or northern bluefin tuna) appear to be in danger of extinction.

    And the southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) is classified as critically endangered on the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.

    But, these bluefin tuna average 6.5 feet and 500 pounds and are not “little fish”. And the “little” tuna (bullet, frigate, and eastern little) do so closely match your picture.

    So, how about this answer: “A baby (or young) southern bluefin tuna”?

    • Betty Says:

      Whoops ..! The 5th/6th lines up from the bottom should be corrected (to insert the word “NOT”) as follows:

      “frigate, and eastern little) do NOT so closely match your picture.”

  12. Diane P. Says:

    Are these little fish smelt

  13. Seanna O Says:

    Thanks for the overview, it is tough to find stuff online about Power and Speed. Quick question, if the Power section is not timed at all in the traditional game, how can there be a MCT?

    • budhouston Says:

      I’m personally not a fan of MCT. However, if you were to establish one, it would be based on the speed section, of course, which does have a course time.

      The USDAA has played Power & Speed over the years and managed to kludge in performance faults (and time constraints) for the Power section. I prefer a more “pure” rendition of the game.

      Bud Houston

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