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Clean Run Course Designer: Not Just for Judges

Clean Run Course Designer is the world's most popular software for designing and sharing dog agility courses and exercises.

By Brenna Fender

Clean Run Course Designer is the world's most popular software for designing and sharing dog agility courses and exercises. Developed to take the place of bulky course model sets and accuracy-challenged hand-drawn methods, CRCD is an acronym known around the agility world.


The latest incarnation, Course Designer 4 (CRCD4), has many upgrades to make the design process smoother for judges and others who use it for training, instructing, or giving seminars. One of the most exciting enhancements is the way courses can be modeled in 3D, enabling a virtual 3D walk-through of a course. But Course Designer 4 also has a number of other important new features, including:

  • The properties of multiple shapes can now all be edited at the same time. For example, you can change the jump type of multiple jumps at once.
  • New viaduct and wall jumps that are different from a panel jump.
  • New NADAC obstacles: hoop, gate and barrel.
  • Up-to-date built-in obstacle specifications newly include those for TDAA, CPE and ADAA, and include NADAC and ASCA separately.
  • A new feature of dog paths finds "options" on AKC courses.
  • The tire jump and broad jump are now included in the list of jump types that can be changed between.
  • And more!

How Can You Use CRCD?

For Judging

Agility judges are very experienced in using the Course Designer program, particularly since many agility organizations, like AKC and USDAA, require its use. For those who have upgraded to CRCD4, the virtual 3D walk-through is a popular addition. AKC and UKI judge Arlyn Sigeti says, "You can see the course as you would...on the ground. You can do a virtual walk-through and more or less get a feel of what the course is like. This is handy for figuring out my judge's path, [to determine] if I can actually get into position to judge certain sequences or obstacles." Emily Hurt, a USDAA and UKI judge, says, "I do like the 3D feature. It's fun to play with. I do like some of the obstacle movement features, and being able to mass change the colors of obstacles. I like that you can select multiple obstacles and rotate them as a group."

Judges may find other ways in which Course Designer can be useful to them. For example, USDAA judge David Bozak says that he keeps "lots of snippets of courses, combinations of obstacles I like, from old courses and idle thoughts, etcetera, for use/inspiration for course design."

For Classes and Seminars

But if you aren't a judge, you can still get a lot of use out of Clean Run Course Designer. Agility instructors and seminar presenters find that using CRCD offers many benefits. Jeff Boyer, an agility judge, seminar presenter, and instructor, says that he uses CRCD to "prepare lesson plans, handouts, and so forth for classes and seminars." Boyer has many uses for the program:

"I teach classes from foundations all the way through competition. Having a CRCD layout helps me ensure I have the correct equipment out and can track what has been done in the lower level classes. While the lessons don't usually change much over the months and years, sometimes I change things up depending upon the skills and progress of the students.

For upper level classes, I design sequences for different skills to be taught. Sometimes canned courses, such as Alphabet Drills, are appropriate, but sometimes I want to try something different or use something I saw at a trial or in print, and want to have it as a CRCD map for future use. I sometimes give out copies of the maps, if they are my work. I also use text boxes on the maps to note what I want to show/teach/demo at points on the courses. If I co-teach a class, I can also note which instructor handles different parts of the lesson.

I teach seminars in games. How to play, how to strategize for success, how to win. I use CRCD to prepare course maps for the seminars. I give them out to the students to study and mark up."

Other instructors and presenters agree that Course Designer is useful to them. Siegti says, "As an instructor, I use it to plan exercises for my classes." Ann Bridges, former USDAA, NADAC/ASCA judge and current instructor, says she finds that CRCD is useful for laying out class exercises.

Alicia Nicholas, who runs Journey Agility, in Peoria, Arizona, has several uses for Course Designer in her classes. She says, "As an instructor, I use CRCD to design lessons for my handling classes as well as for making handouts for my foundation classes. What I like about CRCD4 [is] the 3D option where you can view the course from different angles. It is helpful to be able to make a diagram with the handler facing a jump but from the handler's or dog's perspective."

For Other Uses

Agility competitors that don't teach, present, or judge can still find many great uses for Clean Run Course Designer. Hurt finds that it is definitely helpful for more than just designing courses for trials and classes. She says, "I design courses for classes, fun matches, training challenges for myself and friends... I find [CRCD] the most useful outside of judging."

Bridges uses the program in a variety of ways as well. She says, "I use it as a trial host [to] give layouts to my judges with ins and outs and where things are." She also enjoys getting CRCD versions of courses shes competed on so that she can "play" with the courses.

Nicholas has found even more uses for Course Designer. "CRDC is also handy for making diagrams to enhance blog posts and articles," she says.

For Everyone

Clean Run Course Designer, particularly version 4, has value and uses for anyone involved in agility. From novice competitors to agility professionals, CRCD is a helpful tool in agility advancement.

CRCD can be purchased on


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