RECCE-Winsota's Phantom Image, ADCH, EAC, MX

LEIA-Sas Jurassic Park Princess, AAD, OA

Every profession, sport, or occupation has its own special vocabulary of terms, definitions, and slang. Agility is no exception. What follows are some of the more common (and not so common) agility terms. For those people not familiar with agility, the following vocabulary reveals some of the challenges of this exciting sport.

Angel: A group of obstacles, usually jumps, that are assigned as one number in the sequence of a course.

Angled Weaves: A method of training dogs to do weave poles where the poles are placed 90 degrees from the vertical and slowly brought upright.

Astrohall: Another term for the USDAA nationals. This term is frequently used becuase the event is held at the Houston Astroarena and Astrohall.

Back Chaining: Training method in which the last portion of an obstacle or obstacle sequence is taught first.

Back Jumping: Going over or through a jump or tire in the wrong direction.

Back Weaving: Going through the weave poles in the wrong direction.

Banking: Situation in which a dog will quickly step on and off, or "bank," a wall jump, tire jump or wishing well jump. This is faulted on wall jumps and wishing well jumps.

Blind Change of Sides: Change of sides that takes place while the dog is in a tunnel.

Blocking: Handler movement that prevents the judge from seeing the dog hit or miss the contact zone. Also used when a handler attempts to prevent a dog from taking the wrong obstacle by standing in front of or "blocking" the dog's approach to the unwanted obstacle.

Body Magnet: A principle of handling where a dog is controlled by body movement.

Call Off: A maneuver where the dog is called sharply off his direction of movement, usually as a result of a trap.

Channeling: A training method in which the weave poles are spread apart and linked with wire or string, creating a channel.

Clean Approach: Approaching a contact or jump from straight or nearly straight in front of it.

Clean Entrance: Approach to the weave poles from straight on or from the right side of the poles that does not require the dog to go around the first pole to enter correctly.

Contact: Any obstacle that requires the dog to touch a safety zone.

Contact Zone: The area on a contact obstacle painted yellow to designate the Safety Zone.

Counter-rotation: A method of tightening a dog's turn radius by turning into the dog rather than turning with the dog.

Course Faults: Any fault incurred while running a course. Errors such as refusals, displaced poles, missed contacts, off course, and handler errors are course faults.

Cross Over: Process where the handler goes from one side of the dog to the other. Can be classified into blind, static, and dynamic. Also called "Change of Sides." A "cross over" is also a large piece of equipment, similar to a dog walk but with four ramps instead of two. It is only used by a few organizations.

Crossing Pattern: Element of a course where the dog and handler will cross through a congested portion of the ring with obstacles on either side of the dog and handler.

DAM Tournament: Dog Agility Masters Tournament. Three-dog team tournament held over five events. Each event is scored and the fifteen scores totaled . Highest team score wins.

Depressed Angle Jump: A series of three jumps arranged in a semicircle where the second jump is pushed out away from the first and the third jump causing a "depressed angle." This results in the dog having to make a steep approach to perform the second jump.

Directional Discrimination: Maneuver requiring the dog to be able to distinguish direction (i.e., left, right, or straight).

Directionals: Any command given by the handler to turn the dog in a desired direction.

Dirty Approach: A difficult or off-center approach to a jump or contact.

Dirty Entrance: Approach to the weave poles from left of the first pole, requiring the dog to go around the number one pole to enter correctly.

Double or Nothing: A variation of the gamblers games class where two gambles can be performed. If the team is successful at both, points scored in the game are doubled; if unsuccessful at either one, all points are lost.

Doughnut: Any dog spinning completely around in a circle before or after an obstacle.

Dynamic Change of Sides: Change of sides performed with both the dog and handler visible to each other.

Exiting: Refers to the direction the dog will come out of the weave poles. Even number poles, the dog comes out to the left. Odd number, to the right.

Fading Left (or Right) Turn: A turn to the left (or right) between two obstacles that requires the dog to move staright ahead a given distance after performing the first obstacle before he can turn to and perform the second obstacle.

Familiarization: Time set aside at the beginning of a day's competition where the dog and handler can get on the equipment prior to competition . Limited to Starters/Novice Dogs.

Faults Over Time: Method of scoring agility runs. In this method, a dog who runs under the Standard Course Time (SCT) will place ahead of another dog who is faster but has course faults.

Flatten Out: A jumping problem where the dog takes off too soon (resulting in a flat rather than curved arc over the jump) and knocks down the bar.

Flyoff: The act of a dog leaving the teeter totter in an uncontrolled manner when the down side of the teeter is not close to the ground.

Front Cross: Any maneuver where the handler changes sides in front of the dog's direction of motion.

Gamble: A specific sequence of obstacles (also called "Joker") taken after the whistle blows in a Gamblers Class.

Games Class: Any class other than Standard class. Snooker, Gamblers, Relay, Jumpers, What's My Line, Beat the Clock, Team Pursuit, Knockout, and Move over Rover are examples of games played for fun and to earn titles.

Gate Steward: Person responsible for getting dogs lined up and in the proper order.

Grand Prix: See "PGPDA."

Handler Challenge: An area on a course where the dog must distinguish either directions or obstacles. Also know as "traps" by handlers.

Handler Line: A linear demarcation on the ground on a gamblers course restricting the movement of the handler into or out of a given area.

Hard Left (or Right) Turn: A 90-degree turn to the left (or right) with minimal distance between the two obstacles requiring the dog to turn sharply between the first and second obstacle.

Impulsion: Dog's willingness to drive forward towards an obstacle withour handler coaxing.

Judge's Brief: Time prior to the start of the class where the judge will review items such as scoring, time and distance.

Leading Off: Maneuver where the dog is placed on a wait at the start line and the handler moves away prior to starting the course.

Left (or Right) One-Eighty: A series of three jumps that are performed in such a way that the dog makes a 180 degree turn to the left (or right).

Left (or Right) Two-Seventy: A turn over a series of jumps made to the left (or right) through 270 degrees such that the eventual exit dirction from the jumps will actually be to the right (or left).

Loading: The process of getting the dog into the weave poles correctly.

Maximum Course Time: The maximum amount of time allotted on course before the dog is considered eliminated. Known as MCT for short, maximum course time is a function of the Standard Course Time (SCT).

Nationals: Grand Prix Tournament Semifinals and Finals that determine the top working dogs in the country each year.

Olympia: The British version of the U.S. Nationals.

Out and Back: A maneuver in which the dog performs an obstacle (such as the tire) first one way, then the other in succession. Also refers to a maneuver where the dog performs two obstacles (tunnel then tire, for example) the first away from the hander and the second towards the handler.

Outside Run: Refers to the layout of the course where the course has a long sweeping arc along the outside perimenter of the ring.

Oxer: Horse jumping term sometimes used in agility to denote a spread jump.

PGPDA: Pedigree Grand Prix of Dog Agility, a national tournament.

Poleing: A corrective measure to keep a dog from dropping the hind legs, thus preventing the dog from knocking down poles on a jump.

Popping: Missing a safety zone or weave pole, or knocking down a jump bar.

Puller: Any dog who moves toward the handler more readily than away from the handler.

Pulloff: Inadvertent maneuver by the handler that causes the dog to pull away from the intended obstacle.

Punching Out: A dog who misses a weave pole and runs ahead, without attmpting to continue weaving.

Push Out: Any maneuver where the handler gets the dog to move away from her/him.

Push/Pull: A method of teaching a dog weave poles, where the dog is alternately pushed or pulled through the poles on leash.

Pusher: Any dog who moves away from a handler more readily than towards a handler.

Random Targeting: Training method where a course or given sequence has targets placed on the ground in no apparent pattern. After each run, the target placement is changed so the target is not necessarily in the same place twice.

Rear Cross: Any maneuver where the handler changes sides behind the dog's direction of motion.

Regional: One of a number of Grand Prix qualifying events around the country.

Right Side Weave: Situation where the handler is on the left side of the weave poles.

Round: One agility course run. Usually refers to either of the two runs in a Grand Prix Regional, or Semifinal or Final course run.

Runout: A specific type of refusal where a dog runs past the intended obstacle.

Safety Zone: An area painted on a piece of equipment that the dog is required to touch on both the up and down side of the obstacle in order to avoid a fault.

Scribe: Person who records faults for the judge.

Split Weaves: A course setup of the weave poles such that instead of one long sequence of ten to twelve weave poles, there are two shorter sets of five or six each.

Spreads: Any jump with more than one bar set horizontally. There are several types: spread jump, extended spread jump, and triple jump.

Standard Class: Any titling class or Grand Prix event.

Standard Course Time: The amount of time that is allotted to perform a course without incurring time penalties. Known as SCT for short.

Standards: The ends of a jump that hold up the bars or planks.

Static Change of Sides: Change of side performed while the dog is on the table.

Stick Pass: Passing of the baton in a relay.

Super Q: A specific type of score and placement in the Snooker games class.

Sweep: Refers to the course design where the obstacles are set in a a long, circular pattern.

Switchback: A course design that results in the dog making continual 180-degree turns.

Targeting: A training method where a motivator or "target" is placed on an object or on a specific point on a course to get the dog to focus on that given point.

Time Faults: Faults incurred as a result of running over the Standard Course Time. Usually assigned as "one fault or fraction of" or "one second or fraction of."

Time Plus Faults: Scoring system where faults accrued on a course are converted into time on a one-to-one basis, then added to the running time to come up with a total time.

Titling Class: Starters/Novice, Advanced, Masters, Veterans, Open, Elite, Excellent and Junior Handlers are titling classes. All require three successful runs to advance to the next level.

Touch and Go: Process of hopping on and off the table before the count.

Tunnel Sucker: Any dog who preferentially goes to the tunnel over other obstacles regardless of the commands given by the handler.

Vertical Hop: Any jump taken in such a way such that the vertical distance jumped is greater than the horizontal distance.

VIFFing: Vectoring in Forward Flight. Motion of a dog which causes such a spin or turn that the dog will ultimately perform the obstacle sideways or backwards. Seen mostly with jumps but can happen with other obstacles.

Walk Through: The time given prior to the start of class for the handlers to walk and examine a course.

Weave Pole Dancing: The characteristic walk or dance that many handlers do while getting the dog to perform the weave poles (a.k.a. "Weave pole shuffle").

World Cup: An international agility competition held in conjuction with the World Dog Show, which is an international conformation competition.

Zooming: Any dog who loses concentration and runs around the course in an uncontrolled manner. Also known as "Buzzing."

Thank you to Stuart Mah and Dog Magazine's Senior Editor Vicki Samson for permission to reprint his article, Conversational Agility, from Dog Magazine, August, 1996.

Stay tuned to this site, since Vicki Samson sent me several back issues of Dog Magazine with many of Stuart's articles. For information on back issues, subscriptions,or a free copy, use this Dog Magazine link.

Thank you, Stuart and Vicki!

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