We continue discussion of the games of the 2019 Petit Prix.

Four-Leaf Clover



The objective of this game is for the dog to perform a numbered sequence and earn bonuses for working at a distance from the handler.

The dog must first perform the stem of the clover, and then each of the leaves. The dog will earn bonuses for the handler remaining in the containment area (usually defined by the jumps). The course ends when the dog makes his way back down the stem to the finish line.

On this course the petals can be taken in the order of the handler’s choice.

Qualifying course time is established by the judge based on the measured length of the course.

30 bonus points are possible. The dog will earn a 5-point bonus for each petal of the clover if the handler stays in the containment area and the dog performs the petal without fault. The dog may also earn a 5-point bonus for the stem in both directions. In order to earn the first bonus, the handler must leave the dog on a stay and be in the containment area before the dog crosses the start line. The last bonus will be earned as with the petals, the handler must stay in the containment area while sending the dog away to finish the course.

In the petal opposite the stem the dog earns a 5-point bonus if the handler does not advance past the #2 jump. An additional 5-point bonus shall be given to the dog if the handler remains behind the #1 jump.


Four Leaf Clover is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus


There are many points of strategy worth contemplating. Here’s a simple list:

  • The very first bonus that can be earned is the initial call over the first three hurdles. All the handler has to do is get in the box before the dog commits through the tire. Be mindful that if the dog breaks the stay at the start line, the bonus might be lost.

    It’s worthwhile for the handler to watch the dog while taking a lead out. If the dog breaks his stay… the handler could step into the box before the dog commits through the tire. With that in mind, it might be useful to start the dog back an extra 5′ or so to give the handler a second more to get in the box.

  • It’s not a terribly bad idea to practice sends over jumps to a tunnel well before testing the skill at the Petit Prix. While it’s possible that the judge may do something evil in the petals—like putting the weave poles out there, or the teeter—the tradition is to use a U-shaped pipe tunnel.

    Practice your lead out, as well.

  • The Qualifying Course Time for this game builds in some expectation for success. The course was measured and course time by level and jump height was calculated, with a bit of time taken out of each QCT. Games 1 was reduced is by 5 seconds; Games 2 is reduced by 10 seconds; and Games 3 is reduced by 15 seconds.

    The handler must weigh whether it’s worthwhile just to run the dog against the chance that a send may go wobbly and spoil whatever bonus might have been earned.

  • It’s tempting to grab the double-bonus (white squares, #1 to #5) right off the bat. If the handler has confidence that the dog will succeed in that longer send, it doesn’t make much sense to approach it out of a turn. And so the best time to grab the double-bonus is with the dog coming out of the stem.
  • In the history of this game as many bonuses are lost getting to the jump after the tunnel, as are lost getting to the tunnel itself. The handler shouldn’t go flat-footed admiring his work after the dog goes into the tunnel… the dog will need direction coming out of the tunnel to get back to the jump.
  • Most handler’s will intuitively put themselves on the turning side of the course for the transition from petal to petal. However, a better strategy might be to be on the side away from the turn in order to do a Tandem turn (cross behind the dog on the dismount of a jump). The Tandem has an accelerating quality which might make the dog a lot faster on this course, and improve the impulsion for each send.

Enter the 2019 Petit Prix

Time is growing short. The Petit Prix is less than two months away!

Oct 4– 6, 2019 TDAA Petit Prix!!

Jackson County Expo, Central Point, Oregon
Judges:  Norm and Robin Carlstrom, Lynnwood, Washington
Contact:  Marsha Houston at Houston.marsha@gmail.com

Fairgrounds atmosphere. Four standard classes and six games over two days. Games include Power & Speed, Four-Leaf Clover, Lucky 13, Tag 10, Quidditch, and Snooklers. Warm-up workshops (Wed-Thu prior to PP) provide an opportunity to acclimate AND you earn Qs and titles!


The TDAA has approved a restricted entry for DOGS NOT QUALIFIED. Follow this link for information. Feel free to share this PDF.



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.