Game for the Week ~ In and Out

In and Out is the invention of Sheri Boone. This game was created to encourage handlers to think about motivation and strategy. The game is considered motivating because movement and point accumulation on a course does not stop until time runs out. The game is considered strategic for the sole purpose of accumulating points in a variety of different ways.


The course is divided into three different segments. The “inner” loop, the “in and out” loop and the “outer” loop. In this course the inner loop is #1-#4; the outer loop is #5-#13; and the in and out loop is #14-#19.

If a fault occurs during a loop, the dog must immediately restart from the first obstacle in that loop. The loop is repeated until completed without fault. Then the dog must start the next loop. The judge will call out “fault” when a dog has faulted an obstacle.

The dog is faulted for dropping a jump bar, missing a contact, or going off course. Refusals are not faulted. No points are awarded in a faulted loop (the Rukis variation).

The standard course time shall be 50 seconds for big dogs, and 55 seconds for small dogs. The timekeeper will signal the end of standard course time. If the dog has not completed the course, he must be directed to the finish line to stop time.


In and Out is scored points then time. The dog with the most points wins. Time is a tiebreaker only.

Each obstacle has an assigned point value. The system for assigning point values may be arbitrary or fixed for the technical merit of the obstacle. For example, the point system might be:

  • 1 point for jumps
  • 3 points for tunnels and the short set of weave  poles
  • 5 points for contact obstacles

If the dog completes the entire course before time runs out, the difference between the dog’s time and the course time becomes bonus points added to the score. All times are rounded up to the next second.

Coarse Analysis

It would probably be useful to redraft the provisions for faulting a loop. Okay, as it stands if the dog faults a loop the handler is required to direct the dog back to the start of the loop. In the design I’ve drawn for this week’s game… imagine if the dog has faulted the outer loop; say, he misses the down contact of the dogwalk at #12. So he gets to rerun everything from #5 back to #12.

This could really turn into a death spiral. It might be comical, amusing, fun;  but there’s not much point in it. The dog is pretty much out of the running having to repeat 8 obstacles in a 19 obstacle course. Agreed? So maybe the simple thing to do is give the dog 5 faults; and then run the game as Faults, then Time.

We also have in this game the issue of the judge calling out number values for obstacles performed. You recognize, of course, that this is a numbered course? There’s probably no good reason to put somebody in the middle of the course yelling numbers. As stated under the rules the dog doesn’t earn the value of obstacles in the faulted loop… eh, so this is a terrible complication for the score-keeping table.

In any case when you have a judge calling out numbers for performance you’ve introduced the very real possibility of scribing errors. And the judge on the field cannot monitor or audit what the scribe writes down.

I’d favor a simpler system that places dogs according to speed and accuracy of performance (not necessarily in that order). As I wrote in the Book of Agility Games… all systems of rules are irrational.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Finish this phrase: “The Flying *******”.

The first correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the April Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – April 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special04” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

2 Responses to “Game for the Week ~ In and Out”

  1. Ronni Says:


  2. Laurie Says:

    “The Flying *******”. tomato

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