Wednesday, December 05, 2012

How things change ...

When Brody and I started agility it never occurred to me that there could be any way to do 'real' agility at home. We did street agility when we saw something to jump or walk along but basically agility was a once a week activity. Brody weaved through the rolls of Christmas wrapping paper planted in weighted down glasses in my living room. 
We started trials and about 6 months later I got a teeter for my birthday. I used it occasionally and appreciate the way both Brody and Sally understand teeters. I am sure having our own to play with made a big difference.  I'm loving having it with Yen at the moment too.
Now I have more space than I know what to do with, a complete set of contact equipment, a few jumps and tunnels, and  I have never even had the dogs on the dogwalk. Crazy right? One day having the time, space and energy will all come together. This I know.

We do play at home though. In a funny shaped yard that has undulating ground. 
There are some other challenges to playing here at the moment too. 
A dog who isn't seeing well, a dog in her prime, a young dog and a puppy - and occasionally a rocket fueled Chihuahua and a goofy  golden - all have very different needs. Being ultimately lazy I hate resetting things multiple times. There are a couple of designs that allow me to work very very different skills with each dog. 

Here is my current favourite: 

The table is sometimes used just as a waiting pad for Sally and/or Wyn.

I've only numbered 2 variations but there are literally hundreds ... Sally is enjoying the distance work we play with  drectionals and leaving me are both lots of fun for us, Brody loves the tight wraps around the standards. Wyn has done a little bit of work through the standards only  turning and moving with me. Yen has begun to think about the principle of GO... racing ahead of me to a plate, she's also starting to understand that a straight line may not always be the desired path. Sam loves  blasting through straight lines and Thea just loves running!  

I believe that jumping is a skill that dogs need time to work on and develop - I don't jump daily, but I do use a box, a pinwheel and a fair bit of one jump work to make sure the dogs all understand how to jump (Wyn and Yen are both still on poles on the ground and will be until each is one-they are getting plenty of cross country jumping on our walks!).I also set up grids particularly for Sam and Sally who have long strides that they need to learn to adjust. I see much grid work in Wyn's future too! (He's a brick with legs, a little pin head,  at the moment!)

if I had to pick one thing to have (or fake) at home it would be a jump. Ideally 3 or 4 jumps, and a tunnel or two. Today's back yard training event will have lots of great ideas to try.  Maybe one will bump my number one setup out! The amazing organizer, Steve, has over 70 set ups listed! Check em all out and tell me your favourites!


Sara said...

I am sooooo lazy about setting up equipment, and usually resort to playing redlight/greenlight instead (no obstacles required but my feet).

This looks like a quick and easy set up. I think I'll give it a try.

Helen said...

Glad to hear there are other lazy people out there. I come home from trials and seminar and have great plans on what I'll work on. Then I go out and just make something up with the set up that is there. I really like having my own teeter though, it's hard for a dog to get confident on that if they see it once a week.