Pole Jacks is intended as a game of strategy, comparable to Snooker. Pole Jacks creates an atmosphere for intensive work on the weave poles. The game requires consistent performance and pits the dog against the poles with a variety of entries and velocity of approach. Use this game in training to sharpen everyone’s weave pole work. Pole Jacks has been called Weave Pole Snooker.



Pole Jacks is played like the children’s game of jacks. The performance of a short set of weave poles is the bounce of the ball. All other obstacles on the course are jacks and have specific point values.

After the “bounce” (doing the weave poles), the team must “pick up” the appropriate number of jacks by scoring an equivalent number of points. The handler and dog team will bounce “onesies,” bounce “twosies,” bounce “threesies,” and so forth until either they reach bounce and “sevensies” or time expires.

The dog’s time begins when he first makes a “legal” entry into the weave poles, entering between pole #1 and pole #2 from right to left. Small dogs will have 60 seconds to play; big dogs will have 55 seconds. The end-of-time whistle ends scoring only; the clock continues to run until the dog goes to the table. After the time whistle, there will be no fault and no points for the dog taking additional obstacles on the way to the table or finish line to stop time.

The dog must pick up points equaling the number for which the team is shooting after the bounce. If the dog is shooting for 6, he could do a jump and the A-frame, or he could do a tunnel and the tire.

No obstacle may be taken twice on the same pick up.


Pole Jacks is scored Points, Then Time. The dog’s score will be the number of his last complete pick-up. The winner is the dog with the highest points and with least time in the case of a tie. The maximum points that can be earned are 7.

The following point values are assigned to obstacles:

  • Jumps, 1 point
  • Tunnels and tire, 3 points
  • Teeter, Dogwalk and A-frame, 5 points

If a dog faults during a pick-up, the dog must again bounce (perform the poles) and retry that same number. Faults include the following:

  • Any of the usual performance faults (missed contact, knocked pole and so on)
  • Picking up a number greater than the number for which the team is shooting
  • Crossing the line of weave poles with incomplete points in the pick up
  • Repeating an obstacle in the same pick up


Refinements on the Rules

If a dog drops a bar, that jump will be out of play for the balance of the game.

A pick-up is safe only after the dog makes a legal entry into the weave poles after scoring the points in the pick-up.

The weave poles cannot be faulted. If a dog pops out, the handler has the option to restart from the beginning, or just put the dog back in where he popped out.

If the dog has a pick-up of 7 points some caution should be taken while approaching the table to stop time. If the dog, for example, takes an extra jump on the way to the table then the 7-point pick-up is faulted for scoring a number too high.

Traditionally the table is treated as “part of the floor” before the dog is on the 7-point pick-up and has no point value. But, FAIR WARNING, attend the briefing and be sure this is clearly stated. The judge may establish rules that have no bearing on tradition.



Understand your dog’s strengths and weaknesses. If a dog has a problematic relationship with an obstacle, exercise discretion in including that obstacle in the scoring strategy.

Find the shortest path. A dog can beat a faster dog if the path is smarter.

Consider bringing a trained dog. Here’s a YouTube recording of Marsha Houston doing daily meal-time training with her dog Pip (a terrorist mix). Marsha wants this dog to be ready for Pole Jacks at the Petit Prix!


Early Bird Reminder

Entries Postmarked by 7/13/18 get a nice discount. Refer to the Petit Prix premium for details:

Oct  5 – 6 – 7 , 2018   TDAA PETIT PRIX  Trial number T18999
at Four Seasons K9 Athlete Ctr
Washingtonville, OH
Judges:  Sheri Rockhill, Pittsburgh, PA,  and Christina Wakefield, Louisville, KY
Contact:  Marsha Houston at Houston.marsha@gmail.com
Indoors on padded turf, TDAA-sized equipment, 10 runs for all + final round.




Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.