The Agility Underground

Is it really possible to fit a regulation agility course into a space as small as 4,800 square feet? That’s the question, to be sure.

Consider a philosophical approach to course design (guidelines) requiring generous spacing between obstacles. This is not a matter of scrunching down a course that originally fit inside a 10,000 sq ft ring until it all gets crammed in. That would not be possible. The design for the smaller space must be thoughtfully approached to work within that space from the onset.

Note too that the design of the course should give adequate room between the ring boundaries, and the obstacles, and the dog’s consequential path. There should also be room for the judge to operate. But in our fictional agility organization we’re going to say that only down contacts are judged. That will make things a lot easier.

Here is a sample course concocted on the fly (I mean literally, I’m on the plane from Detroit to Denver as I write this). It measures all of 165 yards or so. The transitional distances are mostly in the range of 20′. The objective in the design was to allow the course in this small space to flow; encouraging the dog to maintain a robust working speed; with challenges both overt and subtle; without a lot of hard aback herk & jerk.

In this course the dog’s path never contests the ring boundaries. This is a design consideration for large spaces as well. But it’s far easier to accomplish in a 100 x ring with plenty of elbow room than in this small 60 x 80 space.

Designer’s Notes for Making It Work

  • Avoid the use of one-directional hurdles; and omit the collapsed tunnel (an optional obstacle in our fictional venue);
  • Use 4’ jump bars and fewer winged hurdles;
  • Do not use pipe tunnels longer than 15′;
  • Make extensive use of crossing patterns and repeated obstacles (but do try not to be boring… running around and around in a circle);
  • Use a dogwalk with 8′ planks;
  • If allowed, use 6 weave poles rather than 12;
  • Check your spacing using the path tool in CRCD.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Please connect the following sayings/dialog to the correct cartoon/animated character.

Eh, what’s up doc?

Flame on!

Here I come to save the day!

I tought I taw a putty tat!

It’s clobberin’ time!

Magoo, you’ve done it again!

Sufferin’ succotash!

Up, up, and away!

Yabba dabba doo!

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


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special00” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

2 Responses to “The Agility Underground”

  1. Vicki Says:

    Bugs Bunny, The Human Torch, Mighty Mouse, Tweety Bird, The Thing, Mr. Magoo, Sylvester the Cat, Superman, Fred Flinstone.

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