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Team & Performance Versatility Pairs Snooker

Classes have been completed.

By Brenna Fender and Monica Percival, Clean Run


The classes have been completed. The same course was used for the Dog Agility Masters? International Three-Dog Team Championship Snooker class and the Performance Versatility Pairs Snooker class.

For complete results, go to

For a list of competitors, go to

Dog Agility Masters? International Three-Dog Team Championship -- Snooker

Background: This event was begun in the early 1990's as a means of featuring the variety of skills necessary to successfully compete in dog agility in five major classes of competition -- Standard Agility, Jumpers, Gamblers, Snooker and Relay. This tournament is a test of competitive versatility and endurance as teams go head to head.

Description: A team may is comprised of three competitors with dogs from any two height classes (e.g., 12"/26", 16"/26", 22"/22", etc). Each team member competes in Standard Agility, Jumpers, Gamblers and Snooker, with their scores accumulated for the team. Individual awards are also recognized for an individual's success in each class. The top thirty-six (36) teams after the four classes will advance to the final round -- the Three-Dog Relay.

For Standard Agility, the handler must direct their dog to negotiate ramps, tunnels, jumps and weave poles on a predefined course sequence, as they race against the clock. The sequence is not revealed until an hour or so prior to the start of the class. In a similar fashion, in jumping classes the dog must be adequately prepared to perform a variety of hurdles, jumps and the weave poles with precision and reliability as they race through another pre-defined sequence.

In Gamblers and Snooker classes, the course is presented with a somewhat random alignment of the obstacles, and the handler must establish their own course path and performance strategies to accumulate as many points as possible in the allotted time under the strategic rules of the game set forth by the judge just prior to competition.

Finally, in the Three-Dog Team Relay (the fifth and final class), the three dog/handler team perform a course
together, passing a baton between handlers at strategic points in the course. Points from this final class are added to the team's cumulative score coming into the round to determine who will be the current year champion. The first four Team Championship classes will be held Thursday through Saturday, and the finals are scheduled for Saturday night.

Scoring: A special points-based scoring system applies to all classes in this tournament, with the team accumulating the most points being declared the team champion. Masters scoring shall apply to all classes in this tournament except that each refusal shall be scored as two (2) faults instead of five (5), and three refusals per dog or wrong course shall result in a loss of one-third of the Class Point Value. Standard, jumpers or team relay classes will be scored on a time plus faults basis. Team rankings and placements shall be on the basis of cumulative scores through the five classes of competition. Points will be allocated to the standard team class, jumping class and relay class at tournament coordinator's discretion, which generally will approximate two to three points for each yard of total course distance. Point values will be 390 points for the standard agility class, 300 points for the jumpers class, and 450 points for the three-dog relay class. The combined individual performance scores computed on a time plus faults basis will be subtracted from the course point value to determine their final team score for the class. Points earned in the gamblers and snooker agility classes will be added to the team score, but may be multiplied by a factor to increase or decrease the "weight" of these classes to the other tournament classes. For example, a team's final gamblers score of 75 points may be multiplied by a factor of 1.5 for a total score of 112.50. The weighting factor will be announced at the event. The top thirty-six (36) teams with the most cumulative points through the first four classes will advance to the final round - the three-dog relay class. The team with the most points following the final round is declared 2004 team champion.

Pre-Run Commments from Competitors: There are 202 teams competing in the Team competition and 613 handlers are competing in the Team Snooker class.

New Yorker Melanie Behrens, who is entered in Team Snooker with her Border Collie, Willin', says that the course is "challenging to finish within the time allowed (48 seconds for the big dogs) if you go for the big points."

Barbara Silverstein and her Italian Greyhound, Deuce, will also be running the Team Snooker course. Silverstein says, "It's challenging but fun! My dog is a little green so I'm going to play is safe for the team. I'm just looking to have a good time!"

Performance Versatility Pairs -- Snooker

Background: Versatility Pairs Snooker is part of the Performance Versatility Pairs Championships which utilizes standards of USDAA's Performance Program, which was introduced in 1998 for those who wished to pursue the strategies of the game without the more rigorous obstacle training required for international championship competition. The Performance Program offers lower jump heights of 8", 12", 16" and 22", a lower A-frame, the absence of spread hurdles and more time allowed to complete the course without penalty.

Description: This competition is open to all dogs who have qualified for Performance National Standard Championships but are NOT entered on a team. Each individual in the pair shall compete in four classes of competition -- Standard, Snooker, Jumpers and Gamblers. A percentage of pairs shall then have the opportunity to compete in a fifth and final class -- versatility two-dog relay. The courses used in Dog Agility Masters Team event will be used for this event, but with obstacles modified pursuant to Performance standards. A pair may be comprised of dogs from any height class.

Scoring: Scoring will be the same as for the Dog Agility Masters Team event. Pairs rankings and placements shall be based on cumulative scores through the five classes of competition. Points will be allocated as follows: 260 points for the Standard class, 200 points for the Jumpers class and 300 points for the relay class. The combined individual performance scores in Standard, Jumpers and Relay shall be computed on a time plus faults basis and subtracted from the course point value to determine the final pairs score for these classes. Points earned in the Gamblers and Snooker classes will be added to the pairs score, but may be multiplied by a factor to increase or decrease the "weight" of these classes relative to the other classes.

Pre-Run Commments from Competitors: There are 71 pairs competing in the Performance Versatility Pairs competition and 142 dogs entered in today's Versatility Pairs Snooker class.

Californian competitor Marq Cheek, who is entered with his Shetland Sheepdog, Wyatt, says that the course has some significant challenges. He states, "It's made such that the two is so far out -- that's the difficulty, with the two and the seven at one end. You want to minimize the risk of the off course jumps. There are three mirror image sequences on the course, which gives handlers options of a left-hand or right-hand approach. One trick is, they are letting you do the tunnel, jump, tunnel in the opening, but in the closing, you have to do the other side of the tunnel. The dogs are going to get pattern trained... Also, they are not able to number the jumps because of all the sequences. If you knock a one, it's going to be hard to know where to go."

Lori Sage from Beaver Creek, Oregon, is also running Versatility Pairs Snooker with her Shetland Sheepdog, Mikaela. She says, "The Snooker course is tough. Snooker is our favorite game. We're good at Snooker. We usually get three sevens, but not today -- we're going to do two fives and a seven and hopefully we get it all."

Course Analysis

Janet Gaunt, who competed with her Border Collie, Legend, offered the following comments about the Team and Versatility Pairs Snooker course.

"I think a lot of people walked this class with a higher-scoring strategy then they wound up running. They underestimated how far they'd have to run to get to the seven and then back to a one, and how long it would take to do the closing.

"A good, safe, high scoring strategy for team dogs was two fives and a seven. The winning strategy for large dogs would be to try for two sevens and a five. The winning strategy for the 16" class would be two sixes and a seven. The winning strategy for 12" class would be two sevens and a six because they had an extra 9 seconds. The 12" class is overly handicapped since the handicapping is built into this class rather than Standard and Jumpers."


Course Designer

Course designed by the judging panel.


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