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Exercises: Tunnel Test

Deborah Davidson Harpur shares exercises designed to work on double tunnel placement and sending to a designated end of the tunnel.

This course was designed to test your skills on a double tunnel placement. It also serves to evaluate your abilities when sending to the right end of a tunnel when a table is nested in the center of that tunnel. 

In my class, I renumbered the course several times, starting out with a few obstacles and moving up to a full 18 obstacles. Of course, using the blank map, you can number as you please. 

Map #1:

Map 1 (8 obstacles) starts you off easy and it shows if a dog would take the table from #3-#4 or if he would be tunnel sucked. In my class, some handlers pulled, others did a cross. Going #4-#5, most handlers pulled across their feet and sent dog to #5 off their left side, but some backed into the pocket between #4/#5 and sent the dog into #5 off their right side. 


Map 2 (11 obstacles) expands the run and tests your tunnel discrimination skills at #5. It's easy to send the dog wide to the outer opening, especially for novice and open dogs. Then, at #8, you need to go to the outer tunnel; if you're too far behind, does your dog send to the correct opening or does it look back and then end up in the wrong tunnel or even on the table? At #9, many of my students tested different ways to pull into #10. Do you go to the right? To the left? Keep it simple or go for a fancy move?

Map #3

Map 3 (16 obstacles) starts with a different tunnel and before you get to #3 (the tire) you'd better know which way you are going and how you are going to get there or you are in for a real fun time. Later, at #12, you have a similar choice to make, except this time you are going to a different tunnel and have the dog on a different side. 

Map #4:

Map 4 (18 obstacles) has you choose your handling right away at #2. Are you going to go to the right or left to get that far number #3 tunnel? After a nice, smooth loop, you get the same choice at number #8. Most people turned to the right off #7, but a few did do it the other way successfully. Going from #12-#14, how are you preparing your dog to know to go to the table and not one of those tunnels that it has already taken with such glee earlier?

I like to try the courses and change handling at least two times each time I run it. Try running it in a way that is a bit outside your usual style. If you are a front crossing machine, try a rear or a blind. If you can open yourself up to adding a few more skills in practice, just think what you could do when you are surprised by something at a trial!

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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