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Training Exercises: Tunnels vs. Tables

Work your tunnel/table discrimination skills! By Deborah Davidson Harpur

This course will test your tunnel/table discrimination skills. In one version, your dog needs to bypass the table while exiting one end and then enter the next tunnel at the end closest to you. 

In another version, you have to get your dog into the tunnel entry closest to the table, come out, pass that same entry he just went in, and then go to the table. Then you have to do the same coming from the other direction. 

In the third version, your dog goes to the table before taking any tunnel entries. Each course has you pass by either a tunnel entry or the table, or maybe even both. 

Things to consider: 

  • Where is my lower body showing my dog to go? 
  • Is my upper body in tandem with my lower body, showing what is coming next or am I using my upper body to handle the current obstacle? 
  • Am I using verbals to direct the dog, and if so, am I using them to support or to detract from what my body is doing? 
  • If I train using a particular system, what are the systems "rules" about handling in these situations? 

There are lots of ways to handle all three versions of this course and numerous options to renumber the course to challenge you and your dog in different ways. A blank map is included so you can design your own. 

Design your own...

Deborah Davidson Harpur has been competing in agility since 1999 and is known as a handler of a wide variety of breeds of all shapes and sizes. She offers agility training classes in the Port of Los Angeles area for both recreational and competitive agility students. You can find her on facebook at or read about her dogs at


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