The Cat’s Mother

Okay, back from a USDAA trial at K9 Sports Center in South Boardman, OH. Had a pretty good weekend I think. Though the weekend began with a none-and-done in Snooker (Kory dropped the first bar and committed to the colored obstacle)… it was in some ways nearly perfect. We NQ’d in pairs on my partners wrong course; and we E’d in one of my standard runs as I’d left Kory’s collar on him; he otherwise nailed the course. The cool thing, Kory won the 26″ Steeplechase, both rounds. He had a Q in Starters Snooker and Starters Jumpers, and a Q in Advanced Gamblers and Advanced Standard. It looks like we’re coming together as a team. That pretty much means we are actually communicating with each other on course.

Kory did some stunning distance work. I should share the Starters jumpers course with you to talk about the implications of distance handling. He did the course in like 21 seconds.

I managed a simple objective… not dropping bars. Yah, I said he dropped the bar in Snooker. But it was the first bar of the weekend and he didn’t drop another for the rest of the weekend. What I find interesting about him is that after dropping the bar he kinda looked back at it as though to say “ouch! What was that about?”… and then blithely went on to the unearned colored obstacle.

We’re off next weekend for an AKC trial in Dayton. Trust me I’m not getting smug about how he’s doing. In AKC Kory is now competing in Excellent A which requires an unflinching performance. And at 2 years 5 months of age I’m not heaping any kinds of expectations on his young shoulders.

I know I need to turn my attention to the suite of TDAA games for the Petit Prix as I promised last week. First I have to attend to our own lesson plan and league play game of the week. We’re playing Pole Jacks. I’ll share the course with you below. You should know that my own training objectives are interwoven into whatever game and training we do here. Marsha and I both need work with the weave poles and the teeter. So these obstacles will play a central role in both the game and the lesson plan.

Pole Jacks


Pole Jacks is played like the children’s game of jacks. The performance of a short set of weave poles or performance of the teeter is the bounce of the ball. All other obstacles on the course are jacks, and have specific point values. After bouncing the ball, that is, performing the weave poles, the dog and handler team must pick up the appropriate number of jacks by scoring an equivalent number of points. Note that only the weave poles in the center of the course constitute the bounce. The other set is for performance and points only.

The handler and dog team will bounce “onesies”, bounce “twosies”, and so forth until either they reach “sevensies”, or time expires. The course time shall be 60 seconds.

The following point values are assigned to obstacles:

  • Jumps – 1 point
  • Tunnels and tire – 3 points
  • Contact obstacles, and the weave poles – 5 points

The dog must pick up points equaling the number for which the team is shooting after the bounce. For example, if the team is shooting for 6, they could do a jump and the see-saw, or they could do a tunnel and the tire.

Obstacles valued at 3 or more points may be taken only once for points during the run. 1-point obstacles may be taken as many times as the handler (or dog) chooses. No obstacle may be taken back-to-back.

Dogs will start on either side of the weave poles or on the teeter. Time begins after the dog has made the entry (nose past pole #2); or has four feet up on the teeter.

Time ends at the table.


Pole Jacks is scored points, then time.

If a dog faults during a pick-up, the dog must again bounce (perform the poles), and retry that same number. The judge will call Fault! to let the handler know that he or she has to go back to the weave poles. Faults include:

  • Any of the usual performance faults (missed contact, knocked pole, and so on).
  • Picking up a number greater than the number for which the team is shooting.
  • Performing a 3+ valued obstacle more than once.
  • Performing an obstacle back to back
  • Crossing the line of weave poles after a complete bounce.

Variation Note

While traditionally Pole Jacks is played with the weave poles as the bouncing obstacle, in this variation we will have two bouncing obstacles, the weave poles and the teeter. If the player bounces with the weave poles then the teeter is eligible as a 5 pt scoring obstacle; and if the bounce is with the teeter, then the weave poles is eligible as a 5 pt scoring obstacle.


Pole Jacks is scored Points, Then Time. The team with the highest number of points wins. Time is a tie-breaker only.

  • For a score of 7 (“sevensies”) mark your dance card for Games III.
  • For a score of 6 (“sixies”) mark your dance card for Games II.
  • For a score of 5 (“fivesies”) mark your dance card for Games I.

Good luck. Have fun.

Class Tweak

Though usually I abhor moving equipment between class and league play, it is my intention to tweak the set of equipment for class sequencing work. I’ll want 12 weave poles on the floor. So, I’ll have to get rid of the tire and wind up with the set pictured below. I’ve included here a couple interesting sequences. I’ll have several others designed before class begins.


Bud’s Google-Proof Trivia Contest

John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey borrowed an important expression from the works of H. Rider Haggard. What was it? And, to whom did it refer?

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 Cat’s Mother”

  1. Nora Says:

    “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” referring to his wife.

  2. Linda Says:

    Rumpole referred to his wife Hilda as “she who must be obeyed.”

  3. Linda Says:

    Sorry, Bud–the other comments weren’t showing when I chimed in!

    Thanks for sharing Kory’s performance progress with us. My Cairngirl (who is 10) enjoys Snooker and Gamblers. And she does well in Pairs–I think it’s because it’s a short course for her.

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