In preparation for the TDAA’s 2013 Petit Prix today I’m going to give the game Puppy Cannon another look. There are several TDAA judges’ clinics scheduled this year. And at the trials hosting these clinics we are playing Petit Prix games. So we hope to give the rules of each of the Petit Prix games a good workout so that something suitably challenging is offered at our National Tournament. At the same time, those of you looking for a championship run should be studying up on the rules.

Puppy Cannon in League Play

At our training center here in Waterford, OH we try to give different games a good workout. It happens that this week we played Puppy Cannon. And from our experience I’ve made some gentle revisions to the rules to make this former “training game” a solid game for competition.

Puppy Cannon




The objective of Puppy Cannon is for the dog to do three of the four numbered sequences shown on the course map. The sequences can be taken in any order. The dog starts on the table and must begin with the pipe tunnel (the Puppy Cannon) before the performance of each of the three sequences.

The judge may specify that certain sequences are bi-directional. On this course there are no bi-directional sequences.

After the final sequence the dog should go directly to the table to stop time but may transition through the pipe tunnel (without penalty) to get to the table.

Scoring and Qualifying

Scoring for Puppy Cannon is Time, Plus Faults. The dog with the lowest score wins. Our course distance is about 197 yards. To qualify a dog must finish without going over the established SCT:

4″         113

8″         101

12″         91

16″         82

20″         74

[Please note: These are not TDAA calculations.]


The course designer was striving for sequences of some technical merit. Previously Puppy Cannon has been presented as a pipe tunnel surrounded by three simple and inconsequential handling sequences. As a game of competition, these sequences should be imbued with a bit more depth.

Variation Notes

Incorporating four sequences and requiring the dog to do only three of them is a unique variation. It allows the handler to select those sequence that play to the dog’s performance strengths. On the other hand, the U-shaped pipe tunnel labeled #1 white squares and #1 white circles introduces an interesting element of composure. Should the dog select a tunnel entry other than the one the handler had planned, then the handler should be prepared to take the opposing sequence. That being said, the calculating handler might also put the dog into the entry on which he’d planned and take the 5 faults for a wrong course. It is a Time, Plus Faults game, after all.

Of particular interest in this course design is the notion that the handler will want his dog taking the Puppy Cannon towards the table twice, rather than away from it twice. And so the opening gambit might be how to get the dog to the opposite end of the Puppy Cannon pipe tunnel from the start at the table.

An important departure from the previous rules of this game is that the judge may not require a final performance of the Puppy Cannon pipe tunnel after the last sequence. Frankly, the course design might not lend itself to that final performance and so it should not be required.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Visit our webstore at: Our web store includes more than five years of lesson plans for three levels of agility training in the pages of The Just For Fun Agility Notebook; and each includes a “game of the week” for league play. Many of these are the games we play today in the TDAA.