Archive for the ‘Jokers Wild’ Category

Much Ado

September 29, 2010

Much has been made about the performance of the tire. I’ve even heard the suggestion that at “today’s speeds” the tire is a dangerous obstacle. With this in mind I’ve always been careful with the tire to carefully condition an independent performance which includes a basic objective for the dog to square up in his approach for the performance.

The basic “conditioning” exercise (as in building a “conditioned” response) is the around the clock exercise. Note that the distance of the send from each of the clock positions is a matter of how advanced the work. When beginning the training the handler would obviously begin much closer with a smaller clock face.

The handler begins at 6:00 and gradually moves along the face of the clock. Note that by the time we get to the 9:00 position (on conversely, the 3:00 position on the other side. the dog really doesn’t have an open view of the aperture of the tire and must square himself up for the approach. Don’t expect the dog to actually understand this if you haven’t taught it to him.

The basic training of the tire allows the handler to direct the dog to the tire without fretting about squaring the approach. This exercise originally came from a discussion of the “control position”; which is a position the handler is obligated to gain for overall success of the mission. The answer, in this case, was to be alongside the dog as the dog arrives at jump #4 and, in the case of this exercise, the handler arrives at the jump with dog on left.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

This airplane was called “Songbird” by its owner. What kind of plane is it? Who flew this plane?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the August Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check 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.

Power and Speed

September 19, 2010

Power and Speed is the Iron Dog competition of dog agility games. The game demonstrates the ability of the handler to exercise tight control (power) through a part of the course, then show loose control (speed) over another part of the course.


Each handler and dog runs the course, split into two sections: Power and Speed.

Power – This section contains all of the contact obstacles. This section of the course is not timed. However, a dog will earn a 5-second time fault for any mistake. If, for example, a dog misses a down contact his score would be 5 for the Power section. Obviously, the ideal score for the Power section is 0.

The Power section is numbered red 1 through 6 for this course.

Speed – The Speed section contains a straightforward jumping sequence. The goal is for the dog to run the course as fast as possible, preferably with no faults.

The Speed section is numbered white 1 through 11 for this course. The time commences on the approach to jump #1. Time ends when the dog gets his feet up on the table.


Qualifying at all levels is based on a SCT from the Speed section of the course. Power and Speed is scored time plus faults: faults from the Power section plus time from the Speed section; plus faults from the Speed section. The lowest score wins.

The dog will qualify if the score after adding faults is less than the SCT (respective to the level and jump height of the dog)

Making Excuses

Okay, you can see that writing to my blog has fallen dramatically in my list of priorities. I think I could have been better with my time management… except that a couple weeks ago I was called to fill in for an emergency TDAA judging clinic. The clinic was already scheduled but the presenter was not able to fulfill the obligation because of family health issues. Those are six days that I’ll never get back!

In the mean-time I’ve been nearly wall-to-wall with weekend clinics and resort visits (that’s when a group comes to stay in a cabin and schedules a series of privates with me). I’ve been designing courses for my own upcoming judging assignments; and of course I’ve been working with the judges for the 2010 TDAA Petit Prix to finish up their courses and understand the games they’ll be judging (40+ hours of work in that task).

Meanwhile I’ve set a target of ten new pages for the Jokers Notebook every day (yeah right… I’m lucky to write two); and I’ve had the TOP SECRET TOP DOG project going on. I’d love to tell you more about that. But like I said, it’s top secret. And the thing that really scares me is not taking care of travel arrangements and so forth for a fairly busy schedule up and coming. I have to keep my nose down in my calendar quite a bit.

You know, my garden has really suffered from this crunch in my schedule. It’s been overgrown now with weeds and tall grasses. While I had successful potato and sweet corn crops most everything else suffered from inattention. I have routine chores to do around the property and I have my own classes to teach here.

So back to the blog… you know a real stopper for me is having to write that “Google-proof” contest at the last minute. I always wind up looking in the back of my head for some obscure thing that I know that might make a good trivia question. Then I have to rewrite it so it really is tough to “google”. What I’m finding out is that the internet is a powerful research engine; and people can be very clever about finding out something they don’t actually know. Every now and then I stump the field. In blog 647 I put up a picture of Otis Sistrunk and asked what University he attended. Well… he was not a college grad. So when asked the question he would say “the University of Mars”. He played for Oakland, btw, back in the Kenny “the Snake” Stabler days.

Okay… I have a Sunday mini-clinic today. I need to get myself out there. I’m hoping to do a bit of training with my own dogs before the mob gets here.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

It is a liquid at room temp.

It has the ability to hold other liquids.

It is 98.9 % transparent

It is very brittle at low temp.

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the August Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check 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.

Lucky 13

January 31, 2010

Lucky 13 comes to us from league play competition conducted by Northwest Agility League ~ sponsored by Columbia Agility Team. It is essentially a variation of the game as “12 Tone Row” with a couple of important differences.


The object of Lucky 13 is to collect as many points as possible while correctly performing a total of 13 obstacles – no more, no less – with the thirteenth obstacle being the tire. The course design is up to the handler. Each obstacle is assigned a direction and value indicated by the cone next to it. Some obstacles may have two different point values indicated by the cones.

Good natured help by teammates is allowed.

Maximum course times are 50 seconds for big dogs and 55 seconds for small dogs. Scoring begins at the designated start line and ends at the table which is not counted as an obstacle.


  • If the dog correctly performs more than 13 obstacles, only the first 13 count for points;
  • Each obstacle done correctly over OR under 13 incurs a special fault;
  • Each bi-directional obstacle (as indicated on course map) may be done once in each direction for points. Each direction correctly performed will count as one of the thirteen obstacles required;
  • Repeated obstacles will not count for the obstacle count or assigned obstacle points;
  • The tire must be the thirteenth obstacle, done in either direction, to avoid a special fault. Note: the opposite tire direction may be used in the handler’s course design; and
  • The table is live at all times and stops the clock. No specific position is required on the table to stop the clock.

Notes on faulted obstacles:

  • Each faulted obstacle incurs 5 faults (missed contacts, knocked bars, etc.) and there are no failure to perform faults;
  • A faulted obstacle is not included in the count of 13 obstacles to be done; and may not be repeated for points.

Notes on special faults ~ Ten point faults assessed for:

  • Each obstacle MORE or LESS than the required 13; and
  • The tire NOT being the thirteenth obstacle.

Conduct of the Game

Judge calls ALL points for correctly performed obstacles during a run, including repeated obstacles;

Judge calls out “fault” for any faulted obstacles; and the scribe will record all obstacle numbers called including any repeated obstacles in the order called and indicating an ‘F’ when “fault” is called by the judge. For example, 6, 9 F, 3, 6, 4, 16, etc.

The scorekeeper should count the number of obstacles recorded, excluding any faulted and repeated obstacles, to determine if the thirteenth obstacle was the tire. Then the scorekeeper will add up the number of valid obstacle points and deduct any performance and special 10 point faults. An example of scoring follows.

  • The dog performed the obstacles and stopped the clock within the allowed time; and
  • The scribe sheet reads: 7, 12, 9, 11, F, 13, 16, 6, 5, 15, 2, 14, 6, 18, 2, 8.

Fourteen obstacles were correctly performed and the thirteenth obstacle was not the tire. One obstacle was faulted and one obstacle was repeated. These two obstacles were not counted. The total of the first 13 obstacles is 138 points. Then the following points are subtracted from the total: 5 faults for an obstacle fault: 10 points for doing one obstacle over the required 13 obstacles, and 10 points for the tire not being the thirteenth obstacle performed. The new point total would be 113 points. (138-5-10-10 = 113).

Based on the qualifying criteria (see below) this score would have been an adequate qualifying score for Games I, but not Games II or Games III.

Scoring and Qualification

Lucky 13 is scored Points Less Faults then Time.

To qualify the dog must earn:

  • Games I – 102 points
  • Games II – 128 points
  • Games III – 154 points

Editor’s Note: The course used in this document was loosely based on the Northwest Agility League course but adjusted for play in the TDAA.

Joker’s Notebook #2 ~ Feb 2010

I’ve been working all day tidying up loose ends in the second in this series, a notebook dedicated to teaching agility distance skills. This is a work that is suitable for the agility enthusiast training alone in the back-yard, or the agility training center that wants to deliver a quality distance training program.

As it happens the Notebook is also a good source for weekly games for anyone running league play. Though, as should be expected, the games in the Jokers Notebook have a distance theme.

You will note the name change. Inasmuch as the Clean Run has threatened legal action because they claim trademark ownership of the title “Go the Distance”. I’m going to avoid the awkward moment and continue to publish a less flawed and more dynamic product that properly reflects the advances in training methods since I wrote that book some ten years ago, with Stacy Peardot.

Although the name of the Notebook has changed since the first month, our mission is renewed and undiminished. In this the February 2010 Notebook I go beyond the simple lesson planning that was envisioned in “Go the Distance”. I have always planned on writing companion volumes to that work that exceed the original content. Distance training is not a static pursuit that can be mastered with a few basic exercises. Distance training is a dynamic thing, an ongoing and evolving mission.

It is my intention to publish the Notebook on a monthly basis. While it is not intended to be a sequential and methodical step-by-step tutorial; it will certainly explore in great detail a comprehensive variety of distance training skills for both the agility competitor and his or her dog. The Notebook will reflect and represent the scope of training as I provide in my own training center; and when I am conducting camp work at home, or seminar work on the road.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Try this one on for size:

Name three American presidents who were not buried in one of the 50 states.

First correct answer posted as a reply to this blog post wins a free copy of the February Distance Notebook.

Funny Drawing

This doesn’t mean anything and certainly is an unfinished work-in-progress. I just like the look of it.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – Feb 2010 available tomorrow: