AKC Premier Class Challenge: The Inverted Pinwheel

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has been developing a new Premier Class that will emphasize international handling elements like threadles, 270s, forced layering, longer distances between obstacles, and bi-directional jumps/tunnels. Various clubs have offered the class as a demonstration, and one of them mentioned the use of inverted pinwheels. Many people, including us, had never heard of an inverted pinwheel, and here is what we’ve discovered:

Image Provided by Kathleen Rupprechtfrom Judges Re-Education

Image Provided by Kathleen Rupprecht
from Judges Re-Education

Inverted Pinwheel Using Tunnel

Inverted Pinwheel Using Tunnel

Handling Option #1

In the video below, we begin the sequence with a threadle maneuver at the first jump.

Handling Option #2

In the video below, we begin the sequence with a 270 at the first jump.

Addendum: Handling Option #3

Thank you to Steve Schwarz over at AgilityNerd for bringing up the option of going to the outside (far wing) on Jump #3. Momentum and a slightly better approach to #4 favor the far wing, while the shorter distance favors the near wing. In applying Greg Derrett’s guidelines for determining which path is faster, that’s a 2-1 score favoring the far wing. However, when Sarah took her large border collie Venture to the far wing, the time was slower. In a rare exception to Greg’s general guideline, the difference in yardage far outweighed the smaller difference of approach to #4 as well as momentum (because the dog must wrap the far wing almost as much as the near wing). As always, try both ways with your own dog.

Ultimate Challenge Option

If you aced the first two options, try moving the #3 and #4 jumps closer to #2 so that you create a very small pinwheel with about 5 feet between wings, and try the exercise again, as demonstrated below!

Ultimate Inverted Pinwheel

Ultimate Inverted Pinwheel


First and foremost, people will need to improve their threadle and 270 work to comfortably complete this sequence. However, there is a serious but subtle problem that many experienced dogs will run into at the end of this pinwheel sequence. Watch the video below.

Don't Miss This!
We have some additional details about the Premier class from the AKC Directory of Agility Carrie DeYoung. Don’t miss this podcast! Episode 93: The New AKC Premier Class is Coming
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