Minuet in G

This week we will play the Minuet. On the surface, the Minuet is a simple game with a straight-forward sequence repeated over and over again. In fact, the game will expose every flaw in movement the handler might have as the handler must also repeat his movement over and over again. There will be dropped bars, refusals and even off courses. This game demonstrates a simple principal. Most performance faults are the fault of the handler and not of the dog.

Following the briefing and description of the game I intend to write an educational bit to TDAA judges who are assigned the mission to design a minuet for competition.


The dog and handler have 50 seconds. Repeat the sequence as a continuous loop until the expiration of time.

The judge may specify that the dog has to cross a finish line or go to a table to stop time after the whistle blows to end scoring.


One point is earned for each completion of the loop. One decimal point is earned for each jump in an uncompleted loop when time expires. For example: In 50 seconds, the dog does 7 complete loops and the first two jumps in the sequence. The dog’s score shall be 7.2.

If the dog drops a bar, the handler must stop and reset the bar.

If the dog goes off course, one point is lost. Counting of the loop will not continue until the dog returns to the next on-course jump.

Strategy Note

In a game, like this, with a finite number of possible scores the time to the table will often determine placement. When the 50 second whistle blows, you should head for the table without hesitation.


Games I
4″ / 8 “
12′′ / 16′′
Games II
4″ / 8 “
12′′ / 16′′
Games III
4″ / 8 “
12′′ / 16′′

Course Design College

What you should immediately understand about the Minuet is that it is a small sequence with a feature technical challenge. TDAA judges often struggle with setting appropriate qualifying criteria for the game.

The qualifying criteria should reflect an appropriate rate of travel for the level and jump height of the dog. The only way to do this is to measure the sequence.

We have here a measured path (courtesy of the Clean Run Course Designer) that has the dog’s path at about 55 yards. Note that I took the table out as the end of sequence obstacle, because all real scoring takes place in the repetition of the basic sequence, which flows from jump #7 right back into jump #1.

The number of complete circuits a dog should be required to qualify really must be related to the rates of travel from the standard classes. Here are my calculations:

Games I
4″ / 8 “
12′′ / 16′′
Games II
4″ / 8 “
12′′ / 16′′
Games III
4″ / 8 “
12′′ / 16′′

What I got immediately from this table is that the Games III dogs should be about to do two complete circuits in 50 seconds. Lord knows that if a dog makes an error in the Minuet he’ll really deserve the Q of he picks himself up and still finishes in time.

The fourth column is a weighted percentage based on the rates of travel by level and jump height. So in the fifth column I’ve extrapolated how many obstacles in the sequence the dog should be able to complete. This would have been considerably more complicated if the sequence featured technical obstacles.

Beethoven’s Minuet in G


Nancy Gyes’ Alphabet Drills

You guessed it: this week’s game is based on the Letter G, right out of Nancy Gyes’ Alphabet Drills. The workbook and disk with all the drills in CRCD format are available at www.cleanrun.com.

This is exercise #17… though jump #7 was added to close the loop to make it a Minuet. Note that the transition from #7 through jump #1 creates a complication that was not included in the handling discussion in Nancy’s workbook.

The Rest of the Floor


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. You know… I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an embarrassingly inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.


One Response to “Minuet in G”

  1. Lola Says:

    Interesting, I could feel the ‘dance’ in the course. I didn’t expect that.

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