USDAA Dog Agility Games

walkingthedogSometimes we just need a little change of pace to keep dog agility fresh and the USDAA has that in mind with some of the leading “Games” offered in dog agility.  USDAA classifies these “Games” as Nonstandard Classes and include many that closely resemble a “normal” course as well as those that are completely different. In fact, you can play these games and earn titles as well!

Gamblers is a high speed game where the handler chooses their own strategy for running the course set in order to collect as many points as possible during a set time.  Usually, any obstacle can be performed twice for points but the judge can put restrictions on sequences such as a non-contact obstacle must be performed between contact obstacles.  The judge can also designate a special challenge to earn bonus points like a short sequence of distance handling as well as a “joker” that can be performed for bonus points.

Jumpers is a class which excludes all contact obstacles.  Comprised of hurdles, it usually includes tunnels and many times will include the weaves.  For USDAA titling the course is run on standard scoring, SCT, which is determined by the judge.  However, it can also be based on time-plus-faults depending on the emphasis on speed.  In this case the team must be under a qualifying time then faults are added.

Relay classes are super fun to watch and two or more dog/handler teams competing on a course together.  It can be set up where the course is split and each team runs a segment of the course or where each team runs the entire course which requires all dogs are at the same jump height.  All obstacles can be used, but the table can only be used as a start, finish or baton exchange point.  Usually the course is based on a time-plus-faults basis, however it can be based on the SCT for less emphasis on speed.

Snooker is named after the billiards game popular in Great Britain and is another point-basis class where the handler develops their own strategy for collecting as many points as possible during the allotted time.  Also, one of the more challenging courses as the obstacles must be performed in a “Snooker” sequence, which is defined by color assigned to each obstacle as well as number.  A “Red” obstacle is almost always a displace-able jump and is required for USDAA titling. The “Color” obstacles are those that are a color other than red for example:  yellow, green, brown, blue, pink or black, the only other permissible colors.  Colors or points are given by the judge based on their difficulty to perform or placement on the course. The team must complete the opening sequence followed by a closing sequence and both must be completed in the overall time allotted by the judge.  The opening sequence is started with the “Red” obstacle followed by a “Color” and alternate through out the sequence.  The closing sequence is Yellow-Green-Brown-Blue-Pink-Black (i.e., the “Colors other than Red” in increasing point value as defined).The round is over when the course time allotment expires, when a fault occurs in the closing sequence, an improper sequence of obstacles is performed, or the course has been completed. A competitor’s score is the number of points earned during their round.

USDAA also offers other fun classes offered on a competitive basis which include variations on the above classes such as Time Gamble, Boxed Pairs, Strategic Pairs, Choose Your Own Course and Power & Speed.  Fore more information on these classes and their rules go to the USDAA official website

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