The Weakest Link

The Weakest Link is a game invented by TDAA judge Tara Choate for a TDAA judging assignment.


The objective of The Weakest Link is to score as many points as possible in the allotted time. Only “banked” points will count toward the final score.

Small dogs will have 60 seconds to accumulate the best score possible; big dogs will have 55 seconds.

From the start each obstacle taken by the dog must be worth as much as or more than the previous obstacle taken. The dog’s potential score will increase as each obstacle value is added to the overall total. Points earned for the performance of obstacles earned will be credited to “potential” points. But the dog can’t keep or count on these points until they are “banked”.

Points are banked when the dog does the tire (the banking obstacle). When the dog banks his points they are kept secure toward the final score and cannot be lost. When points are banked the potential points score is set to zero.

After banking points the dog and handler team start over (beginning with a lower value obstacle if desired) so long as time remains. Each sequence banked must be unique. That means there must be at least one difference from any sequence previously banked.

If a dog faults, all potential points are lost (banked points can never be taken away from the dog). Faults include:

  • Dropped bars
  • Missed contacts
  • Taking an obstacle of a lesser value than the previous taken
  • Taking an obstacle out of sequence in the gamble
  • Repeating a banked sequence
  • Failing to bank points before the final whistle
  • Masters dogs (only) will be faulted for missing the entry to the weave poles, or missing a pole after entering correctly

When a dog faults the judge will call “fault”. The handler is obligated to direct the dog to the first obstacle in a new sequence to earn potential points.

If a bar is dropped on a jump, that jump is out of play for the remainder of the game except when that jump is in the gamble sequence. Every attempt will be made to reset the bar on a gamble sequence; if it has not been reset, the dog must be directed between the standards of the jump.


Weakest link is scored points, then time. Time is a tiebreaker. The point values are:

  • Jumps, 2 points
  • Tunnels, 4 points
  • Contact obstacles, 6 points
  • Weave poles, 8 points
  • Gamble ~ double the usual value of the obstacles in the gamble (so this gamble, will be worth 36 points).

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Who is the artist of this portrait? Who was the subject/model?

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


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – June 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special05” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

7 Responses to “The Weakest Link”

  1. katie Says:

    Elizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol

  2. Rose Strasser Says:

    Jackie Kennedy by Warhol

  3. 2mindogtrainer Says:

    Dorothy Dandridge is her name, and she was a black actress and singer. The point of the artwork was to make a statement about “color.” It was a way for her album to sell to people who wouldn’t buy the music made by “people of color.” Don’t know the name of the artist, but found tons of information on Dorothy Dandridge on Wikipedia at You don’t need to send me a copy of the notebook — I’ll read yours. Marsha Houston

  4. 2mindogtrainer Says:

    Oops! I was wrong. Marsha

  5. Chris Says:

    So, Marsha might be “wrong” but it was an enlightening guess! I know more than I did before, and appreciate what Ms. Dandridge did to make a statement.

  6. Deb Auer Says:

    Andy Warhol was the and Elizabeth Taylor is the subject.
    If you remember his portait of Marilyn Monroe – this one is very similar.

  7. Deb Auer Says:

    Okay, Andy Warhol was the ARTIST…I was so excited to actually know one, I forgot how to type.

    The portrait was unseen for 20 years, according to a BBC news article and sold about three days ago at auction.

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