Dog trainers form to groups of teams of equal size. Each group forms their own line one behind the other with the first team of each group directly behind the starting line that had been marked earlier and the rest of the teams behind them. When the course instructor gives the signal the first team starts running against the other team towards the previously marked turning point where they make their turn and head back to their team’s starting line. As soon as they pass the starting line the next team can head out and on and on until the group whose last team crosses the starting line wins. There are a number of different variations to the relay race exercise and here are some of them:
- The teams have to run a slalom while the dog trainer carries a spoon with a hard boiled egg on it. The dog trainer has to pass the spoon onto the next team as they cross the starting line.
- The first team has to fill a ladle with water from a bucket and carry it to the turning point and back trying not to spill any water. At the end of the race the team with the most water still in their bucket wins.
- The dog carries a toy or object in its mouth and without dropping it has to run the slalom with its trainer. Upon crossing the starting line the dog must give up the toy to the next team with a “Drop it” command (or something similar).
- Even more difficult: the dog has to carry in its teeth a shelled hard-boiled egg or a hotdog. If the dog eats what it is carrying before re-crossing the starting line then the whole team is disqualified.
- Each team has a number of tennis balls at the starting line and the dogs have to carry one ball at a time with their masters to the turning point at which time the dog that is carrying the ball should sit and give the ball to its trainer on command. The trainer then has to take a few steps away to another line behind which they must stand and attempt to throw the tennis ball into a basket. The trainer then retrieves the dog and returns to the starting line so that the next team can go.
The team with the most balls in their basket at the end of the agreed upon time limit wins.