Agility Update!

So, I have done probably 6 trials now. My last one was in October and Ben had a panic attack and Woody found a snake on the course. Needless to say, we took a month break from agility, and just started back up going to practice. I’ll get into Ben’s panic attack another time but below is my understanding of the rest of the games I left out. I didn’t pay member dues this year (because I didn’t know) so I have to wait until December to get my official status of where I am in regards to levels, but some games we are level 3 and some we are level 2. AND Ben has level 1 jumpers still…. hahaha. 



Colors-Well this was easier than I thought. Basically there are two standard courses set up that overlap one another.There are typically 8-12 obstacles on both courses. You must choose one course or the other. Sometimes, obstacle 1 could be obstacle 1 on both colors, or obstacle 2 could be the same and you may have to take the obstacle from a different direction. Sometimes you may think you’re going to do the blue course but then your dog takes the red course and you must adjust. It’s a pretty simple game to understand! 

Wildcard: This course looks like a standard course, but at three different spots you will have to choose obstacle A or B. In level 1-2 you will choose two A obstacles and one B, and in the higher levels you will choose 2 B and 1 A. So, again, you can correct yourself a little if your dog chooses an A or B when you didn’t want them to! 



Jackpot: This one is confusing to me because most of the time they do what they call a “non-traditional” jackpot. Meaning, it doesn’t exactly follow the standard rules. I THINK the standard rules are something like this: 

You do whatever you want for the first part of the game. You collect points like full house and you need a min number of points based on level. THEN a buzzer goes off and you are to do the “gamble”. The gamble is typically 3-4 obstacles that your dog must complete but the catch is you can’t cross a certain line (they put tape down). So essentially your dog must be good at distance. You must complete the gamble with no faults and end on the table to Q. So, I’m glad most of the time it is a non-traditional jackpot. 

In non-traditional jackpots they can kind of do whatever they want. The courses I have seen is that during the opening time, you could complete the gamble and it may not require distance. IDK how that’s allowed but I like that. Then the buzzer rings and you still have that “gamble” time to collect extra points or something. IDK I just wait for my score haha. Some how it works out and the score you!13668981_863324830071_2221575898163967957_n.jpg



Second CPE Trial

This past weekend we attended our second CPE Trial. The amazing thing about trials are that there are so many good people around that all love their dogs as much as you do! The people there are almost better than seeing all the types of dogs!

In their first trial, I ran Standard, Full House in Snooker. So in this trial I added another game. We did Standard, Snooker, Full House and Jumpers. We have had a recent problem with Benny, however, where he chooses to always jump out of the ring and run to find his dad. So, we had to hide his dad this trial and not let him know he was present at all. Ben did stay in the ring, but he forgot what a tunnel was I think. Hopefully he grows past this need to find his dad because it would be nice to sit together!

So what I’ve learned for CPE agility is that there is standard and then four categories of games:

  • Handler Games(AKA PASS because I am so bad)
    • Colors and Wildcard
  • Strategy Games
    • Snooker and Jackpot
  • Fun Games
    • Full House
    • Jumper

So here are my interpretations of the games thus far:

Standard is pretty simple. It’s a numbered course meaning you must go in a certain order, and based on your level you can only have so many faults (errors). It is timed.

Snooker is said to be the hardest game but I like it. It’s a two part game, meaning you have to finish part one before you can do the second part. So there are 4 obstacles that are marked as “Red”. All the other obstacles out there are “white” obstacles. You must complete a Red obstacle and then a white, then a red, then a white, then a red and then a white–so three times. The thing is if you do R W W they blow a whistle and you’re done. If you do R R same thing. The other important thing is you can use each red only once. The white obstacles can be repeated. There are 4 red obstacles in case you knock a bar on one of the red obstacles…it’s a safety net. So once you complete your RW,RW,RW you then have to do part two. Most obstacles are also numbered regardless if they are red or white(some reds won’t be a number because they are not part of part two). the numbers are 2-7 and that specific obstacle is worth that many points so obstacle 2 is 2 pts 3 is 3 pts and so on. you must complete this series in order. A buzzer will sound and you have to get to the table within 5 seconds. You will qualify if you get the right amount of points for your level.If you don’t get enough points you can still place as long as you don’t disqualify yourself. The one thing  I didn’t mention above is that during your RW,RW,RW series the R are worth 1 pt and the W are worth whatever numbered obstacle it is. What I learned this trial is that sometimes an obstacle can be a red BUT ALSO a white because it has a number because it’s part of part two. MIND BLOWN. So I guess they let you take that jump as a RW combo. Then that jump can only be used as a white again in part 1. Confusing, i guess.

Full house is typically the first run of the day it’s offered (I’m told at least) because it lets the dogs run around and get some of their energy out. There is no set course, you are just trying to earn enough points based on what level you are in. Contacts are worth 5 points, circles (tunnels and tire) 3 and jumps 1. You need get at least 1 contact, 2 circles and 3 jumps(14 points total). It’s just a lot of fun and just lets you get used to running around out there too. I like it because it lets the dogs sniff the place. You have a certain number of seconds based on the dog’s height and then a buzzer will go off. Once you hear the buzzer you have to get to the table within 5 seconds or they will deduct 1 point per second from your total. If you get enough points for your level and you got the required obstacles then you get a Q(qualify). If you don’t get enough points and/or required obstacles you can still get a placement ribbon like Ben did!

Jumpers is a course that only has circles and jumps. It is numbered meaning you have to go in a specific order. You also have to know what a tunnel is (BEN). It is timed and if you run out of time you will get a NT(no time). This means no ribbons. If you get too many faults (IE point deductions) then you may get a NQ(not qualified) but can still get a placement ribbon.

So Woody Qed in Standard level 1 (2cnd leg), Standard level 2, Jumpers level 1, Full house level 2, Snooker level 1 which was all he competed in so he had a perfect weekend!

Benny Qed in Standard level 1 (1st leg). He NT Standard level 1(ran out of the ring), Jumpers level 1(ran out of time), Full house level 1(didn’t get the right obstacles and didn’t get enough points), Snooker level 2( refused to go in the #3 on 2-7 and thus didn’t get enough points)

It was a super fun weekend. The best thing was that I brought their cages. Ben never goes in a cage and the cage is new for Woody. Ben will now go in the cage as long as the door remains open, it’s actually his bed of choice! So I was able to work with Ben on cage training and shut the door for a few minutes at a time which was really huge for him!

I had one person tell me “yeah you know, agility is addicting” and it’s very easy to lose site of that when all you do are classes and your dog gets a little bored. My suggestion is to try to trial because it really revitalized my energy for agility.  I want to trial again soon! It’s fun to get to actually work your dog with a reason!!

Agility?This looks fun….

So given that I have an agility section, obviously I do agility with at least one dog. Benny started agility in October 2014. We put him in agility because we wanted to see him jump high. Turn out that your dog doesn’t just jump whatever they can… they are measured and put into a jump class. Talk about a let down… 16 inches? That’s it? That’s it. 12346460_822797781601_5616702011714559067_n

Woody started Agility about a year (and three months before his first competition) later because he is spoiled rotten and he gets to do everything. Woody learned very quickly because he is a Jack and now they both are in the same class level. 


So I’m new to this obviously so I am just going to tell you some quick facts that I’ve learned along the way. 

  • New dogs are called “green”. Owners are “green” too. 
  • An agility “venue” is not a location. It is the organization. For example CPE, AKC USDDA, TDAA. 
  • An agility event/competition is called a “trial”. 
  • Trials are done by skill level and height. 
  • Each venue has different rules that must be followed.
  • There is actually skill and practice required on the human’s part.
  • Contacts are obstacles that usually have yellow on both sides. They require the dog to climb up or down something (Think dog walk, A Frame, teeter). 
  • The human is probably the one messing up.
  • Dependent on your breed, it will be really easy or not so much.
  • Most of the time you will not understand the spins, or routes required and you will trip and fall like a fool.
  • People “walk”the course. This means they stick their arm out and follow the numbers as if they were running their dog. They try to get their footing and determine how they are going to run the course. Where will they turn? Will they make their dog slow down? Do they have options to do something different? Do they need to block the entrance to the tunnel? It looks funny. I was like “Yeah, okay. Whatever this is weird”. Well, I walk the courses now too.

Agility is actually really fun. However, I think one of the best things that comes from agility is the bond between you and your dog. They learn to read you, and you them. You create a connection that you are doing something together–its fun but they also need to stay with you and rely on you as the leader. You learn to control your dog and what they do. You also learn a hell of a lot about coordination which is really difficult. The best thing is that you have fun and so does your dog! 12347623_822797776611_3572408532971482662_n.jpg

A lot of people think that you have to have a lot of practice to do a trial. Sure it’s nice but as long as your dog and you have a good connection and they know the equipment, you can most certainly try it out. The judges and other participants explain everything for everyone and you have time to ask questions. It’s actually a great learning experience just to watch. And basically if you try you can get a ribbon-trust me. 12741953_833871355071_361503611206111769_n.jpg

So it looks fun and it is fun! In later posts I will go over some key things I’ve actually learned at class and trials that I hope help other newbies in the agility world!