Q. CPE Games

Q. I’d like to try the games at CPE (Canine Performance Events) trials, but I don’t know anything about them. Can you help?

A.  Three games are unique to CPE: Colors, Wildcard, and Fullhouse.  Colors is very straightforward.  The object, according to the rulebook, is to “successfully run your choice of one of the two overlapping mini-agility courses on the same field.”  Each course is 8 to 10 obstacles long and the courses cross paths or overlap several times.

The courses are differentiated by different colors used to number the obstacles and should be equivalent in length and in difficulty level.  When handlers step up to the start line, they must declare to the judge which color course they will run.  Once the color is declared, it cannot be changed.

One off-course is allowed in levels 1 and 2 only, one other fault is allowed for all levels, and the run must be 5 seconds or less over the time.  No level is allowed a knocked bar.  All obstacles must be performed successfully for a team to earn a qualifying score, unless the error is within the allowed faults total.  In levels 1-4 the team may not exceed 10 total faults; at level 5 they may not exceed 5 total faults; and for level C they must run completely clean.

Wildcard is a little more unusual.  The rule book states that the object of this game is to “successfully complete the course including enough ‘wildcards’ to qualify.”  A modified course of 10 to 12 numbered obstacles is used along with three “choice” obstacles, where the handler must decide which option to take.  Two obstacles will be placed parallel and 5′ apart.  One obstacle is worth 1 point and the other is worth 2 points.  The handler (or the dog) will choose which obstacle to perform.  Once the dog commits to or touches the Wildcard obstacle, he must complete that one.  After each Wildcard obstacle, the dog must continue on the regularly marked course.

Wildcard follows the Standard class measuring, yardage figures, and standard course times.  Levels 1 and 2 can have one off-course fault, but levels 3-5 can’t have any.  All levels may have one bar down, may be up to 5 seconds over time, and may have one other type of fault.  Just like in Colors, for Levels 1-4 the team may not exceed 10 total faults; for level 5 they may not exceed 5 total faults; and for Level C no faults are allowed.  Also, for Levels 1 and 2 the dogs must complete two 1-point Wildcards and one worth 2 points.  For Levels 3-5 and C, the dog must do two 2-point Wildcards and one 1-point option.  A 15-point fault is assessed for Wildcards that are faulted and not corrected (if the Wildcard is correctable) which will result in an NQ.

FullHouse is a strategy game in which the handler gets to design her own course while trying to accumulate the required points needed at a particular level.  The 4″ and 8″ and 12″ jumping dogs have 35 seconds to accumulate points and the larger jump heights have 30 seconds.  After the whistle sounds to indicate that the time is up, the dog must reach and touch the pause table with at least one paw within 5 seconds.  After 5 seconds, 1 point is deducted for every additional full second that the dog takes to touch the table.

The course that the handler designs must include at least three single bar jumps, two ‘circle’ obstacles, (tires, tunnels, and chutes), and one from this list: contacts, weaves, broad jump, double, or triple.  The minimum number of points required for Regular and Veterans classes are: Level 1 19 points; Level 2, 21 points; Level 3, 23 points, and Levels 4, 5, and C, 25 points.  For the Enthusiast and Specialist categories, Level 1 needs 17 points; Level 2, 19; Level 3, 21; and Levels 4, 5, and C, 23.  Single-bar jumps are 1 point, circles 3 points, and the contacts, weaves, broad, double and triple are worth 5 points.  Back-to-Back obstacle performances are okay if performed safely, and all obstacles will b e scored for only two performances.

When the handler and dog perform the required obstacles within the time allowed and have accumulated the required points, they have earned a qualifying score.  Placements are based on qualifiers, then points, then time, and those non-qualifiers who received a time are placed after.

The other games played at CPE are Snooker, Jumpers, and Jackpot (CPE’s version of Gamblers). These are the games played in several other organizations, but you should read the complete rules, available at www.k9cpe.com/forms/cpe2008rulebook.pdf before playing any of them.

© Clean Run, January 2009

5 Comments on “Q. CPE Games

  1. The first CPE trial I went to, I didn’t enter anything but Standard and Jumpers. It was really an experience for me and Mattie (my Bichon)as it was not only our first trial to enter, but our first one to watch. Next trial, Mattie and I jumped right in. We entered all the games! It was a blast!! For both of us! It’s not as difficult as it sounds and the judges have always given good briefings that helps clear things up. It’s fast and furious fun!!

  2. I have never tried CPE because it seemed quite confusing to me. Everyone that I have talked to that run CPE tell me that it is a lot of fun. Do you have to registar and get a number before you can compete like in NADAC?

  3. The first time running these games is a little daunting because you just feel so confused. But then the second time is a little easier and you begin feeling more confident. The hardest part for some of the games is if the dogs choose differently than what you’ve planned, you have to do some thinking on your feet – which can be very hard for a handler 🙂
    In general, CPE is very fun though. Some of these games run extremely quickly and are over in about 15 or 20 seconds. You end up wondering if you did it right because it just went so quickly! Very fun.

  4. Thanks for this post. I don’t understand everything either but I personally find that reading the rules (even if they don’t at first make sense) before seeing the rules helps me to ‘connect the dots’ so that when I then see them in action I can put language to what I see! 🙂

  5. This sounds (and reads) a lot more complicated that it actually is. I’d read the rules and was totally confused. However, I went and watched a CPE trial, and everything makes much more sense. I’m going to watch one more in a couple of weeks, and then we’ll start competing in CPE. I highly suggest that you attand a few trials just to watch.