The Accelerating Step

One of the toughest distance challenges in agility is the dead-away send. That means sending the dog straight down the line forward of you over a series of obstacles.

The method I’ve ever used with my dogs is a simple back-chaining; though I’ve made the introduction both with jumps and with hoops. I’ll use hoops when the dog is really too young to jump.

When sending a dog straight ahead I will use an accelerating step to goose the dog forward at approximately the moment he is passing me. This is probably hard to illustrate.

About the moment the dog comes alongside the handler’s leg the handler takes a robust step forward. As I teach the “Go On” I make this a practice so that the movement too speaks a word or a phrase to the dog.

Note that I’m relying on the notion that the dog feels the thrust of the step… and will quickly put the handler behind (addressing the handler with the end with no eyes, as it were.)  If the handler is too far forward when taking the accelerating step, then the dog is as likely to feel the brakes as he is the acceleration; and the brakes might be more compelling.

Mulligan Stew

Mulligan Stew is probably the invention of Wayne Van Deusen who concocted the game in order to make an end-run around a prohibition against the “Mulligan” in a vote of the TDAA membership. The membership didn’t show much imagination so Wayne was compelled to use his own.


Mulligan Stew may be applied to any game played in competition. After the dog has crossed the finish line the handler has 10 seconds to decide if he will call a Mulligan. The Mulligan run will begin at the end of the class, starting with the jump order for the day. The score of the Mulligan run is the score that will count toward qualifying.

The handler will not have an indication prior to calling for the Mulligan whether or not they have qualified. It is a question of strategy or self doubt: maybe I should have done a blind instead of a front cross or a different strategy would have been better as the current plan fell apart during the game. On the other hand, the handler might know perfectly well that the run can only be salvaged by calling the Mulligan.

Judging Notes

Brief your ring crew for handling Mulligan runs:

Gate Steward Briefing ~ As Mulligans are called the Gate Steward should place an M by the name of the dog and handler on the call sheet. At the end of the class double check with the Scribe that all sheets are in order according to jump height for the Mulligan runs. The jump height order of the day will be used.

Scribe Briefing ~ If a Mulligan is called by the handler a single line is marked through the first half of the scribe sheet from end to end. New scoring will be on the second half of the scribe sheet with a large M at the top of the sheet.

Score Table Briefing ~ There should be only one score per dog and handler. If a Mulligan run was taken an M is at the top of the scribe sheet. The first score is disregarded by a single line marked through it.

Trial Secretary Notes ~ The Mulligan is a class by itself, and should be purchased by the exhibitor. And so you should indicate on each scribe sheet whether the dog is eligible for his person to call the Mulligan. It might also be prudent to indicate this on the Gate Stewards call sheet.

On the other hand you might provide the Mulligan Stew option as a

Qualifying is as stated in the rules for the game.

Secretary’s Note

The game would be listed in the premium as:

“Snooker with Mulligan Stew” or “What’s My Line with Mulligan Stew”

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Name a county(somewhere in the United States) that has been at one time or another, in two different states.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check7  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.


3 Responses to “The Accelerating Step”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Boone County, West Virginia; formerly part of Virginia until Civil War.

  2. Sandy Says:

    Moddlesex county in MA and NJ

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