TDAA 2014 Petit Prix

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The TDAA’s National Tournament ~ The Petit Prix is designed to provide a championship format suitable for dogs of small stature. Beyond that obvious notion, the Petit Prix is a unique and fresh approach to a championship tournament for the sport of dog agility.

The ten rounds of competition typically include only three standard courses and seven games. An amazing variety of games are played in the TDAA. This feature has developed the enthusiasts of the TDAA brand into the finest dog agility games players in the sport of dog agility.

The Petit Prix is a showcase for the finest small dog agility athletes. The tournament is unique in the agility world. No dog is eliminated for one small misstep. So a dog may start off slowly and still climb to the top with consistent performance. There is no round where dogs are dismissed and must go home. Everybody gets to play to the very end.

These tournaments are amazing fun.

A Page of History

There’s still opportunity to register your dog for the TDAA 2014 Petit Prix.  Follow the link below to download the premium.


Oct  17 – 18 – 19 , 2014   TDAA Eastern Petit Prix  T14999
B&D Creekside Activity Center
Latrobe, PA
Judges:  Dave Almasy and Darla Annonio
Contact:  Jill Almasy
Indoors on field turf.  Three standard rounds and seven games, featuring Run ’til You Drop as the Finals game.


National Champions

The Teacup Dogs Agility Association awards the TDAA National Agility Championship Title (TNAC) upon any dog that: 1) achieves the highest overall score in each jump height at the TDAA Petit Prix, and 2) scores among the top 25 dogs in the tournament.


This is a unique title in our agility culture as it is a championship earned by excellence in competition; specifically, by an unambiguous win in the national tournament.

The four TNAC title winners from the 2013 Petit Prix were:

4″ Star Rainbow’s Dazzling Star a Miniature Dachshund handled by Sally Murray
8″ Tiffany Lynn Trinity a Miniature Schnauzer handled by April Johnson-Mozzetti
12″ Trudy Lynn Trinity a Miniature Schnauzer handled by April Johnson-Mozzetti
16″ Kya Red-Dawn Kyanite a Border Collie handled by Karen Rose Cercone

Qualification Notes

All dogs, without regard to competition level, or titles earned, compete on the same courses. All games and courses are eligible for dogs to earn qualifying legs towards TDAA titles. Standard courses are judged under the TDAA Superior rules. Games are judged under TDAA Games III rules. However, the dog earns a qualifying score only at the level for which he is eligible.

Watch This Space!

For the next several days we will be providing an exhibitors analysis of the game scheduled for play at the TDAA 2014 Petit Prix. These Analyses are must read for the canny TDAA competitor!

Please note that prior to the Petit Prix we will hold the traditional Warm-up Workshop in which we get to both discuss and practice the games of the Petit Prix. The workshop is a live trial. Dogs can earn qualifying scores toward TDAA titles.

Oct  15 – 16 , 2014   TDAA Petit Prix Warm-Up Workshops  T14997
B&D Creekside Activity Center
Latrobe, PA
Presenter:  Bud Houston
Contact:   Marsha Houston at
Indoors on field turf.  Classes and games identical to the Petit Prix.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Visit the web store at: Please note that the web store carries The Book of Agility Games. This is an important reference for any club who plays the variety of games that we play in the TDAA.

Games of the Petit Prix Part 1 ~ Puppy Cannon

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In preparation for the TDAA’s 2013 Petit Prix on this blog, over the next few days, I hope to give a comprehensive discussion of each of the games scheduled for that championship competition.

At the same time we’ll be having a robust round-table discussion on the TDAA Judges’List on Yahoo so that our judges can share they experience and expertise in the design and play of these games. Of course that discussion won’t be limited to the Games of the Petit Prix.

Now… the documentation below comes right out of the Book of Agility Games. I will be sure to share any possible enhancements to the basic rules that arise from our discussions on the Yahoo List.

Note that I’ve made additional comments to the text; these will be presented in bold blue type.

Puppy Cannon!

Puppy Cannon is a fast and furious game of handling, often used as a training game but suitable as a game of competition for top competitors.


The objective of this game is for the dog to do all three of the numbered sequences shown on the course map. The sequences can be taken in any order, and in either direction. The dog starts on the table and must begin with the pipe tunnel (the Puppy Cannon) and return to the pipe tunnel after the performance of each of the three sequences.

The judge may specify that certain sequences are bi-directional.

After the performance of the final pipe tunnel, the dog must be directed back to the table to stop time.


Scoring for Puppy Cannon is Time, Plus Faults. The dog with the lowest score wins.

Course Design


In many ways the design of Puppy Cannon resembles Beat the Clock, except that the central obstacle is a pipe tunnel, rather than a tire. The featured tunnel should be straight and aimed, like a cannon, at some obstacle (which may or may not be the next correct obstacle).

In the design of this sample course two other pipe tunnels are engaged… aiming at wrong course obstacles; but with sufficient room for the handler to turn the dog towards the next correct obstacle.

On this course the judge specifies that the white-numbered sequences are bi‑directional.

Note that the table is the starting obstacle on this course. This should not be viewed as a constraint. The judge might use any beginning obstacle.

Design Analysis

Note that the spacing between obstacles might seem more generous than you might see in typical TDAA sequencing our course work. These distances are consistent with our course design guidelines. While wrong course “options” are central to the intent of the game, we require a minimum of 12 for the avoidance of a wrong course option.

The sample course includes two tunnels that aren’t central to the game (like the tire in Beat the Clock). They both are set very intentionally to introduce the possibility of the wrong course option. While the exhibitor may be giving his best focus to the central tunnel… these too should come into play.

The handling sequences might be more challenging than was portrayed here. However, we don’t want to get far from the main premise of the game… to challenge handlers to demonstrate their ability to direct the dog when shot out of a tunnel. And so any peripheral handling challenges should not overwhelm the basic challenge of the game.

Please note that the final game at the Petit Prix will be Black Hole. This is a really basic follow-the-numbers sequencing game that has the cruel twist… if a dog goes into a pipe tunnel he is immediately eliminated… and the game ends. At this year’s Petit Prix it could prove to be exceptionally challenging, so immediately following a game in which the dog is directed to dive into every pipe tunnel that offers itself.

Judging Notes

Dogs should be judged according to their respective level in the standard classes. That means, when appropriate, refusals and weave pole errors should be faulted.

In briefing the judge should be very clear on several points:

  • After the start the dog must be directed to the central pipe tunnel
  • After each sequence the dog must be directed to the central pipe tunnel
  • The three sequences can be taken in whatever order the handler desires
  • Which, if any, sequences are bi-directional
  • The dog must be directed to the finishing obstacle after the final performance of the central pipe tunnel.

The judge should offer neither handling advice nor strategy advice to exhibitors in briefing.

Qualifying and Titles

Qualifying Course Time (QCT) is based on the measured length of the overall course using rates of travel appropriate to each dog’s level and jump height. After faults have been added to time if the score is equal to or less than the established QCT, then the dog shall receive a qualifying score.


Original ~ Puppy Cannon was originally envisioned simply as a training game; mostly to demonstrate that turning the dog on the dismount of a pipe tunnel could be quite a trick of handling. In this variation there is no established course time.

Premium Blurb

Puppy Cannon is a game featuring the pipe tunnel as a test of the handler’s skill when redirecting the dog. It is typically played with three (or more) small numbered sequences that can be taken in the order of the handler’s choosing. Puppy Cannon is scored Time, Plus Faults.


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.

Quidditch Design Tutorial

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For a moment, let’s make this a tutorial on the design of a Quidditch course. This is an obscure study… which is to say, there’s like 3 guys in the whole world worrying over the matter (and I’m not really sure who the other two are).

Here’s a rare look at the course review process. This is all based on a game that was submitted for review. I’ve carefully redacted the review to remove the cuss words. The game under review is Quidditch.

I rarely get involved in the design process; this game and course being an exception. There was some sense of urgency. Because this game was for the Petit Prix and the judges had like eight months to prepare for it… naturally we were still working on the courses at the last minute, while the club was screaming for the courses so they could send their exhibitor catalogs to the printer.


Your course feels cluttered to me… and I want to fix that. I suggested bringing the containment down to 8′ because there wasn’t room for the handler to set up for the beater; but after shrinking the containment… you also crowded the sequences against the line; once again taking away important handling room. First step in uncluttering… is to move stuff away from the beater.

Beginning with the lower/right sequence I’m going to rotate it around. And I’ve changed the sequence slightly; thinking ahead, I want a nice opportunity for a bludger on the dismount of the sequence which wasn’t really possible with the #4 jump crowded against the containment. So the #4 jump goes away.

I’ve also rotated the tire for the approach. It’s really difficult to design everything for a natural approach to the tire in this game. But we’ll really try as we go along.

Btw, since you’ve gone to four sequences rather than the traditional three… it allows us to name the four sequences after the four houses of Hogwart. That can be a nice touch.


On the Ravenclaw sequence I’ve pretty much preserved the original challenge. I’ve backed everything a tiny bit off the beater containment. Note now that swapping the weave poles for the pipe tunnel makes the pipe tunnel a for real bludger opportunity after the Ravenclaw sequence. And, the #1/#4 jump in Ravenclaw is a bludger opportunity after the Griffindor sequence.


I really changed your Slytherin sequence. First, I altered the colors of the numbers. All that black stuff up there added to the clutter. I took the A-frame out for a couple reasons, not the least of which is that it would trap the judge at the back of the ring, to get a view of the contact, yelling out numbers to a scribe at a distance.

In the design we continue to watch for a nice square flowing approach to the beater. This design once again introduces a bludger after the #5 jump of the Slytherin sequence.


I’ve changed your Hufflepuff sequence just a bit. By reversing the direction of the wrap it allows for a square approach to the beater (which I had rotated early on). Also… the #1 jump in the sequence serves as a bludger on the approach to the beater. I like the balance of that. Note that all of the sequences now have bludger challenges without ever actually using a dummy jump.


In a final adjustment I changed the position of the table and rotated the start line so that there’s a choice of either Hufflepuff or Gryffindor as the starting sequence. You know, if I had wanted to I could have run the start line from the vicinity of the table to the upper right corner of the course. That would have allowed the exhibitor to start on any one of the four sequences. I might be tempted to do something like that at some small regional trial. But at the Petit Prix it would be a drag on efficient ring administration.


The next bit we really need to attend to is checking whether the Qualifying Course Time (QCT) that you established falls within the rates of travel standards for all dogs. As you can see, I measured this course at around 100 yards. And you established, in your briefing 60 seconds for big dogs, and 65 seconds for small dogs.

I ran the 100 yard estimate through my Rates of Travel calculator using a mid-range rate of travel, and came up with these interesting numbers:

Games I 4″ / 8 “


12′′ / 16′′


Games II 4″ / 8 “


12′′ / 16′′


Games III 4″ / 8 “


12′′ / 16′′


We really aren’t so interested in GI and GII for the Petit Prix… everybody competes at the Superior/GIII level. The calculated times for GII, however, suggest that you might want to toughen up on the QCT. At a minimum you make it 55/60; but you could toughen it up to 50/55. Note that I did not bother to include Slytherin in the measured calculation. In the strategy of the game the handler must decide whether to risk the Golden Snitch (75 points) to steal another 100 points for Slytherin and beater. The faculty at Hotwarts will tell you, dealing with Slytherin house is a good way to get snake-bit.

* * *

Your briefing says “Each sequence can be successfully completed only once and only 3 sequences may be completed.” Oh, I really disagree. You put four out there… you really should take the opportunity to entice the greedy. Remember, there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots. But there are no old bold pilots.

Your briefing says “If a team completes or attempts one sequence more than once the final score for the team will be zero.” This is from the original rules. It makes you wonder… why would anybody want to do that? That being said… I’ve seen a handler repeat a sequence with her dog because she thought that her dog’s fault of the beater actually faulted the sequence which preceded it. So I’m thinking… setting the score to zero is a terrible punishment for not completely understanding play of the game. And you would feel awful if that exhibitor went out to the parking lot and shot herself. So, we should soften this rule to say “If a team completes a sequence more than once the second performance will earn no points.”




Big dogs will have 55 seconds and small dogs 60 seconds to complete at least three numbered sequences. When time expires the dog must be directed to the table to stop time. The point values for each of the sequences are 15, 20, and 25 points. Each sequence can be successfully completed only once; but all four sequences may be completed.

Each obstacle has individual point values that are earned by a team if a sequence is only partially completed prior to time expiring.

• 1 point for jumps

• 3 points for tunnels

• 5 points for contact obstacles and weave poles

Upon successful completion of a sequence the dog can earn bonus points for a successful performance of a tire; the ‘Beater’ bonus, for which the team will earn an additional 25 points if the tire is performed from behind the containment line. Refusals will be faulted on the tire, but nowhere else on course. The initial direction of the dog’s approach to the tire will define the run-out plane of the obstacle for the purpose of judging refusals. If a dog commits a refusal on the tire, the Beater bonus is lost. If the handler faults the containment line, the Beater bonus is lost.

After attempting the Beater bonus the team should attempt another sequence. If the team completes three different sequences they will earn a ‘Keeper’ bonus of 50 points. Note: the bonus points earned or missed by the completion of the tire do not affect ability for a team to earn the Keeper bonus.

A dropped bar, some off-courses (see wrong course rule, below) or a missed contact will be considered a sequence fault. The team can immediately reattempt the same sequence or move to another sequence.

When time expires no new points can be earned.

The Bludgers Rule

  1. A Bludger (wrong course obstacle) performed during the performance of an individual sequence shall result in a sequence fault. No points are earned for the performance of any individual obstacle unless the sequence is not completed due to expiration of time.
  2. Performance of a Bludger after the successful completion of a sequence on the way to the Beater (tire) shall be considered a fault of the Beater. The ability for the team to earn the Beater bonus is lost. The team should proceed to the next sequence, or to the table if appropriate.
  3. If the wrong course occurs: Bludgers (wrong courses) shall not be faulted: between the starting line and the first obstacle of a numbered sequence; between the Beater and the first obstacle of a numbered sequence; between the Beater and the table (to stop time).
  4. No points shall be earned for the performance of any Bludger.

Expiration of Time

If the whistle sounds prior to the completion of the three sequences, the dog should be directed to the table. The team will earn individual points for obstacles completed prior to the sounding of the whistle. When the dog touches the table, time will stop. No table performance is required.

The Golden Snitch

If a team successfully completes all three sequences, earns all three 25 point Beater bonuses, and touches the table prior to the 60 or 65-second whistle sounding, the team will earn the Golden Snitch bonus of 75 points.


Quidditch is scored Points, Then Time. The dog with the most points wins. In the case of a tie, the dog with the shortest time will be the winner.

A perfect score requires completion of all three sequences and successful performance of the Beater bonus. The scoring notation would look like this: 15-25-20-25-25-25-50-75.


• Games I: 55 points

• Games II: 75 points

• Games III: 95 points


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. Five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook are available on the web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.