This webpage contains a description of the following -

  • Summary of Round

  • Aims

  • Equipment needed

  • Round Starters Level

  • Round Bronze Level

  • Round Silver Level

  • Round Gold Level

  • Round Platinum level

  • What the Handler learns

  • What the dog learns


Round is a Dog Game that involves a dog being sent through the start/finish poles to run round a traffic cone (or similar obstacle) 50ft/15m away, and return through the poles to be rewarded with its motivator while the handler is holding its harness

The dog learns to go round the "cone" by either following a target stick (which can be used later on to teach the dog many tricks and dog sports such as Heelwork to Music), or by being lured to run around the cone by the helper's body movements. This second method is particularly suitable for dogs that are easily over-stimulated and find concentration difficult. This is because it is a natural progression from the Dog Game Recall - the dog is called or lured by the helper to run up to the cone, and then is called back by the handler the moment that the dog has gone round the back of the cone. These type of dogs love the freedom to run with a purpose and for a reward, without having to overtax their confused brains.


see Before Each Training Session Begins



The dog learns to run over some jumps, retrieve an object a distance of approximately 50ft/15m from the Handler and return to the Handler over the jumps. The object can be anything that the dog is comfortable with carrying in his mouth. Dumbells are often used in obedience classes because they are easy for the dog to pick up regardless of how they end up having been "thrown" or placed. We DO NOT THROW items in Dog Games because this could trigger the "chase mode" in dogs.

Commands such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “wait” etc. are not required in this or any other Dog Game.



This Dog Game is a combination of Bounce (where the dog learnt to jump four 8 inch/20cm flyball jumps set about 10ft/3m apart in a row) and Hand (where the dog learnt to run away from their Handler to a black rubber mat 50ft/15m away to retrieve a "toy" and return it to the Handler's hand for a reward - its motivator).

Dogs enjoy this game as they have the added bonus of jumping the low hurdles as well as retrieving things for their handler.



  • netted training area

  • comfortable harness and lead

  • treat box or motivator

  • toy

  • traffic cone or similar

  • touch stick


Eventually either or both these "prompts" can be removed so that your dog can do Round without anyone being near the obstacle. Therefore, this Game is a great way to teach your dog to run on ahead of you, and also gives you the opportunity of teaching your dog directional commands (left and right turn) that can be used in Agility.

As well as being a fun Game for all types and sizes of dogs to do using very little equipment, it also has an added benefit for those dogs that may progress later on to do flyball. If a dog runs and presses a flyball box head on, the force with which it slams into the flyball box can damage its shoulders, back muscles and bones. However, if a dog is used to running round a "cone", and this cone is placed a few feet in front of the flyball box, the dog will approach the box at an angle and press it while doing a smooth "swimmers turn" around the cone. Not only does this type of turn lessen the amount of force exerted around the dog's body when it touches and turns on the box, the dog also keeps its momentum and speed going throughout the turn and returns down the lane at a similar pace to which it approached the box. Meanwhile, the dogs that run straight on to the box lose their momentum as they come to a stop and then turn, they have to build up speed again as they return down the flyball lane - losing precious seconds in the process.


At the Silver level of any Game, plastic netting should be used between lanes in the interests of the safety for each dog.



In the early stages of training Round, the handler needs either a trainer or an assistant to help guide the dog round the cone (see Round Starters) with a target stick or their hands. Later on the handler and dog can practice by themselves without these training aids.

The handler learns -

  • In Method One, how to teach a dog to follow a target stick that is being held by another person, yet return to the handler for its reward.
  • In Method Two, how to teach a dog to run up to the cone and be lured around the obstacle with the movement of the helper's hands and body and then run back to them.
  • Dogs have a "critical distance" (ie a distance at which the dog is reluctant to venture further away from its handler) when learning sendaways. As the training of Round progresses and the distance between the traffic cone and the handler increases, the dog will suddenly become reluctant to run that far away and further positive and rewarding training will be needed to overcome these fears.
  • To give simple vocal commands to achieve the exercise rather than have the dog become too dependent on the handler being nearby as it turns.

The dog learns -

  • Not to become too dependent on its handler's body movements as it runs towards the traffic cone, but to concentrate on what is in front of it.
  • However, as it comes around the cone, the dog may need the handler's body movements and signals to help it to continue in the correct direction behind the cone.
  • That the traffic cone is always placed in exactly the same position each time the dog is sent to run around it. As the distance in training is increased the handler moves further from the cone, yet the dog is still confident as the cone has not been moved. This is how a dog learns to run further than its "critical distance".


This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).


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