Puppy Cannon!


The objective of this game is for the dog to do all three of the numbered sequences shown on the course map. The sequences can be taken in any order, and in either direction. The dog starts on the table and must begin with the pipe tunnel (the Puppy Cannon) and return to the pipe tunnel after the performance of each of the three sequences.

There is no time limit. The game is judge time plus faults. Any faults are added to the dog’s score. A dropped bar, wrong course, or missed contact add 5 fault points; leaving out an obstacle (failure to perform) add 10 fault points.

After the performance of the final pipe tunnel, the dog must be directed back to the table to stop time.


Puppy Cannon is a training game intended for dogs and handlers in the Advanced Beginners program. Mostly we want our students to understand that the pipe tunnel is a cannon. The dog is likely to fire out like being shot out of a cannon. If the course turns the handler must learn how to give the dog information about which direction to go and as quickly as possible.

Our mantra is this: A dog comes out of a tunnel blind, not knowing precisely where he is going. At the instant the dog emerges the handler should show or demonstrate the correct path. An exercise like this allows us to teach an important discipline in handling, to give the dog exiting the tunnel good information as quickly as possible.

Puppy Cannon also builds a rather basic problem solving skill. Since the handler can choose the order of performance of the three working sets, he must tie the three together in a logical flow. This is a skill that is important in games like Snooker and Gamblers, to create flow that wasn’t spoon-fed by the judge or course designer.

Novice Jumping Sequence

This could easily turn into a rear crossing exercise, particularly in the transition from #3 to #4 and from #7 to #8. In both cases the rear cross on the approach to the jump should be followed by a front cross on the dismount.

The value of exercises like this is to teach the novice student basic problem solving skills. The questions are always: where does the handler need to be, and how does he manage to get there.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston BudHouston@hughes.net. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore.

One Response to “Puppy Cannon!”

  1. Linda Says:

    Because my Cairnboy has been jumping on then off the table in trials, last week I set up a sequence like your novice tunnel one, only with a table in the middle. Actually, I got the idea from your round-the-clock sessions. Thanks for all the great training hints!

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