The Wolves Inside

An elder Cherokee man was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too”, he added.

The Grandchildren thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied… “The one I feed.”


This blog entry is largely a rerun from a bit while I kept my blog on AgilityVision. Since that entry no longer exists, I thought I might include it here, on a more stable platform. I’ve removed a small bit of political diatribe that is no longer relevant (it was published right before the elections in 2008).


The handler is the emotional catalyst of the team. The dog derives his sense of haste from the handler’s movement.

Strategic Time Gamble


Strategic Time Gamblers is a two-part game. The dog and handler team must be successful in both parts of the class in order to qualify. The Opening and Closing periods are discussed in some detail, below.

For more information on Strategic Time Gamble go to:

Opening Period Notes

In the opening the dog must earn a minimum number of points respective to the level of play to qualify:

  • Beginner – 15
  • Intern – 17
  • Specialist – 19

In the Opening the dog may perform obstacles in the order and direction of the handler’s choosing. Point values are:

  • Set of 12 weave poles = 7 pts
  • Contact equipment = 5 pts
  • Tunnels and tire = 3 pts
  • Double or triple jumps = 2pts
  • Single bar jumps = 1 pt

Obstacles can be taken only twice for points. Back-to-back performances are allowed.

At any time during the opening the bonus obstacle (described below) may be taken for its point value.

Closing Period Notes

In the closing the objective is to collect as many points as possible and, most important, to end time before the expiration of time. Typically the game is played 30 seconds for the opening period, and 15 seconds for the closing.

In the Closing the handler works against the clock while collecting points. The dog may do any obstacle up to two times for points (even those previously taken in the opening period.) Back-to-back performance is allowed. The goal is to collect as many points as possible and stop the clock by crossing the designated final jump as close as possible to, but not over, the course time.

Typically a specific obstacle is designated as the finish obstacle. This allows for an unambiguous conclusion to point accumulation. Note: Taking the designated final obstacle in any direction during the opening or closing will end scoring and stop the clock.

At all times during Strategic Time Gamble the handler must continue to work the course, collecting points. Should the handler loiter for the finish line, and is clearly not working to obtain points, the dog will earn Elimination.

Time Bonus

The dog may earn a time bonus in one of two ways:

  • By scoring 25 or more points in the opening period
  • By performing a specific obstacle designated as the bonus. Note: Completing the bonus obstacle earns the dog an extra 5 points in the closing.

Earning a bonus increases the window of opportunity for scoring points. Without the bonus the dog must take the finish obstacle between 42.5 and 45 seconds (if the judge uses 15) in order to qualify; (a 2.5 second window). With the bonus obstacle the window is opened up one second on either side, between 41.5 and 46 seconds; (a window of 4.5 seconds).

The final horn/whistle sounds at 47 seconds. If the dog obtains a bonus but the final horn or whistle sounds before he is done, then the dog is over time.


Strategic Time Gamble is scored Time – Then Points. Note: The dog with the higher time will place higher, so long as he doesn’t go over course time, because he is closer to the target course time.

In the event of a tie in the times, the highest total point accumulation value determines placement. If there is still a tie, the highest point accumulation in the opening determines placement. The last tie-breaker is the highest point accumulation in the closing.

Course Design

Strategic Time Gamble, like any dog’s choice game, might be carefully nested with other courses or games. The design should accommodate a variety of options for flow so that many interesting strategies might evolve.

The time-bonus obstacle should be positioned relatively accessible to the finish obstacle so that it is easily attainable by slower and faster dogs alike.

Strategic Time Gamble lends itself to perfect nesting or all levels playing the game as qualifying scores are based on differentiation in the number of points required to be accumulated. In DOCNA, if doubles and triple are used the course will have to be adjusted between levels. For example, Beginners level may not contain double jumps; triples are used only for Specialist level; Select at any level will have ascending double jumps only.


Strategic Time Gambler begs that the handler has a good understanding of the dog’s working speed. It is desirable for the handler’s strategy to give the dog a timely approach to the bonus obstacle as the Closing Period begins. And, of course, it is desirable to earn the maximum number of points in the final 15 seconds without going over course time.

Ideally the dog will earn the Time Bonus by scoring 25 or more points in the opening period. But even if he does so, the bonus obstacle is highly desirable in the closing because it is weighted with an additional 5 bonus points.

Inasmuch as this is a dog’s choice game, in which the dog can perform obstacles in the order and direction of his handler’s choosing, it might be an admirable idea to avoid those problem obstacles that consume time or are prone to fault. However, if the handler chooses to eschew qualification, or high placement, this class might be used to work through problem obstacles to facilitate success in the standard classes.

Qualifying and Titles

To qualify the dog must earn the minimum number of points respective to the level of play and finish within 2.5 seconds of the established course time.

Strategic Time Gamble is an eligible qualifying game for play in both Dogs on Course in North America (DOCNA) and the Teacup Dogs Agility Association (TDAA).

In DOCNA Strategic Time Gamble is included in mix with Traditional Gamblers so that any combination of qualifying scores between the two Gamblers classes result in Title awards.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

In what popular movie was the ancient Cherokee parable at the top of this post quoted?


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. Be sure to check out my distance training series: The Jokers Notebook; an (inexpensive) elaboration and improvement on the work I did in Go the Distance.


4 Responses to “The Wolves Inside”

  1. Linda Says:

    re Cherokee parable: the twilight saga new moon

    • budhouston Says:

      lol. Well, I heard it in “Dances With Wolves”, the Kevin Costner movie. I had no idea it was borrowed again for New Moon.


  2. Linda Says:

    Bud, “Dances With Wolves” seemed too obvious (been a while since I last saw it). Have only seen parts of “New Moon”, so don’t really know if quote was used in it. Probably not. But, it has Indians and wolves and has been on Showtime (it’s free until tomorrow) this week. So, I took a chance!

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