Two by Two

Two by Two is the invention of Deb Auer… with respectful nods to all the other relay-type games out there. This is a team relay game that can be played by any number of teams and two or more members on a team.


The objective of Two by Two is for the team to perform all the obstacles on the course in sets of two, without repeating obstacles.

Dog and handler teams start anywhere behind the start line. Jumps are set for the shortest team member. Time starts when the first dog on course crosses the start line. All handlers may lead out. The table stops time.

Each dog is directed to cross the start line and perform no more than two obstacles. Once the first dog has re-crossed any of the three start lines, the next dog may start, performing only two obstacles and crossing any of the three start lines. Play continues in this manner until all of the obstacles have been performed once. When all obstacles have been performed the last dog must be directed to the table to stop time.

The inactive dog may be repositioned anywhere outside of the containment lines while the active dog is on course.

Big dog teams will have 50 seconds; small dog teams 55 seconds.


Two by Two is scored time plus faults.

If a dog faults an obstacle the handler may either accept the performance fault (eg. 5 faults for a missed contact) or can retry the obstacle to erase the fault; for a dropped bar the handler or one of his teammates may reset the bar so it can be reattempted.

Two by Two is judged using the guidelines for performance faults as defined in the rules for standard classes. Refusals are not faulted.

Additional faults:

  • 5 faults ~ Performing an obstacle that has already been performed; note that a repeated obstacle will count as one of the two a dog is entitled to perform, vastly complicating the strategy of the team.
  • 5 faults ~ Performing more than two obstacles; additional obstacles are not counted as performed
  • 5 faults ~ Crossing the start line before the active dog has completed his turn; unless the dog has not taken any obstacles and the handler takes the dog back behind the start line before restarting.
  • 10 faults ~ Failure to perform an obstacle.

Course Design

Two by Two begs for a random arrangement of obstacles on the field. It is reasonably impossible to practice skills from any other course or game: so this is a great game for using the set of the floor from a standard course or nearly any other agility game without equipment movement or tweaking.

The discussion in the rules above mentions three start lines; but the game might be played with only two start lines or maybe as many as four. There may be some difficulty in defining lines that judge can see from a mostly stationary position. However the judge could loosely define the confinement of the inactive dog by stipulating “out to the side” or “beyond” without scrupulously drawing lines around the field.


Teams should collaborate on which dog is going to take what obstacles and the order of that taking. It is probably to the team’s advantage to have the more novice dogs do the sequences on the outside edge, as there will be fewer off-course possibilities. However, even the best-laid plans often go awry. If a dog goes off course (takes an unintended obstacle), it will surely affect his teammate’s plans.

All things being equal this game is likely won by the team that devises a plan that minimizes both the transitional distances between obstacles, and the distance between the start line and the obstacles to be performed.

It would be a good idea to devise a plan that reflects each dog’s relative strengths and weaknesses.


  • Redux ~ The rules of the original version required any faulted obstacle had to be repeated until successfully completed.
  • Consider playing the game with teams with more than two dogs. It could be played with three dogs, or seven. It’s not really necessary for the number of obstacles on course be a strict multiple of the number of dogs on a team; but it wouldn’t hurt.
  • Also, consider each dog doing more than two obstacle on his turn. It might just as well be three.

Judging Notes

The real difficulty in this game is how to pass good information to the score-keeping table. How does the judge indicate that an obstacle has been repeated? The mind like a steel trap method is really quite difficult in this game. The judge would have to keep track and count of performance on every obstacle.

In the illustration above obstacles have been numbered for the convenience of the judge. So all the judge really has to do is call out the number for each obstacle performed. The score-keeping table will sort out the bodies. Though be aware, any game that requires the judge to call out numbers raises the possibility of scribing errors.


The team qualifies when the final score (Time Plus Faults) is equal to or less than the Qualifying Course Time (QCT).

The QCT should be based on a reasonable estimate time for the team to get the job done. An easy way to establish QCT would be for the judge to measure a course reflecting a reasonable strategy and then using the rates of travel from the standard classes.



Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What is the most important connection between these two people?

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.


4 Responses to “Two by Two”

  1. Deb Auer Says:

    “The Lady from Shaghai” ?
    or Rebecca Welles?

  2. Nora Says:

    They were married. Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles.

  3. Deb Auer Says:

    Oh, come on…I don’t get this one by default?

    Rebecca Welles is their daughter.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: