Agility: Games

Many games can be played on the agility field. Each organization decides which games are valid for achieving titles and how each must be performed, but there are many similarities.


Some of the common games are:

  • Jumpers: This numbered course consists primarily of various types of jumps and, depending on the organization, also weave poles and tunnels. The dog must negotiate the obstacles in the correct order within the standard course time (SCT). The dogs achieve their fastest speed on these courses because there are no contact obstacles to slow them down.
  • Gamblers: An unnumbered course. The game typically consists of two parts, an opening period and the closing period, also known as the gamble, joker, or jackpot. In the opening period, the dog has a certain amount of time in which to do whatever obstacles the handler deems appropriate and accrues points based on the obstacles completed. At the end of the allocated time for the opening period, a whistle blows. At that point, the gamble begins. The dog has a certain small amount of time (about 15 seconds) in which to complete a sequence of obstacles designated by the judge ahead of time. The challenge is that there is a line on the ground past which the handler must not step, typically paralleling the gamble obstacles, from 10 to 20 feet away depending on the level of competition. To succeed at gamblers, the handler must choose an opening sequence that flows comfortably for the individual dog’s skills and experience. The sequence must also be planned so that, when the whistle blows, the dog is in a good position to immediately begin the gamble. The greatest challenge is the distance handling and getting the dog to move or even turn away from you. The AKC Fifteen and Send Time (FAST) competition is similar to gamblers.
  • Snooker: This game is loosely based on the billiard game snooker. The course has at least three “red” jumps, each numbered 1, and six other obstacles numbered 2 through 7. The dog accumulates points based on the obstacle’s number. This game has two parts, an opening sequence and a closing sequence. In the opening sequence, the dog must complete a 1, then any obstacle numbered 2 to 7, a different 1 and any 2 to 7 obstacle (including the one already performed), and yet another different 1 and another 2-7 obstacle. For example, the dog could perform the red on the left for 1 point, the 7-point obstacle, the red in the middle for 1 point and then the 7-pointer again, then the red on the far side of the course and the 7-pointer one more time, for a total of 24 points in the opening. After successfully completing this, the dog must complete the obstacles 2-7, in order, for an additional possible 27 points. Failure to follow these rules “exactly” (such as knocking a bar or taking 2 reds in a row) results in the dog and handler being whistled off the course.
  • Pairs or Relay: Two dog and handler teams execute a portion of a standard agility course, with the handlers exchanging a baton between sections.
  • Tunnelers: A game where a series of tunnels are the only obstacles on the course. This is an exercise in speed and endurance.
  • Weavers: A game where the course is designed using only tunnels and weave poles.
  • Touch and Go: A game where the course consists of tunnels an A-frame and a dog walk.