Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Backyard Agility

This weekend we had really nice weather.  Not too hot, not too humid.  Perfect for outdoor activities.  I should have taken the opportunity to do some weeding.  That would have been the “responsible” thing to do.  Instead, The Child and I set up an agility course.

Here's our course for the weekend.  
Lots of work on front crosses.

Using a “Backyard Dog” course from a recent Clean Run magazine, this is the course The Child and I chose.  I would say we both built it, but he lost interest in course building about halfway through.

I love that the open space in my back yard is big enough to accommodate the “Backyard Dog” courses.  These courses are perfect for at-home practice, as they require 40’x50’ worth of open space , and weaves, jumps & tunnels are the only obstacles required.  They can also be run multiple different ways, so one course can stay up for days!

Maggie studies the course.
She seems to be eyeing up the tunnel.

 Each of the dogs got to run the course. 

Ziggy got to run the whole course.  I was impressed that he still remembers how to weave (albeit slowly), and his weave entrances were very good.  He even did a bit of cantering between obstacles.  Unfortunately he decided that a couple of runs were enough.  At that point, he merrily trotted away back to the house – tail up and wagging.  I did bring him back to the course and had him do a short sequence (with lots of praise at the end) before “officially” releasing him.  I don’t want the boy to get the idea that he can dictate the terms of work.

Meanwhile, I had to stash Maggie and Rip in the house.  I tried using an expen as a gate to keep them on the deck.  The two of them were having none of that, and knocked it down straight away to get to the fun…

After Ziggy was done I let Rip out.  Since Rip just turned 1 year old, he’s not doing agility “for real.”  Instead, he and I worked on sending to the tunnel, some “one jump” exercises with the pole on the ground (mainly sending him to the jump), and some flatwork in the form of circles and front crosses.  Needless to say, Rip LOVES agility.  Action!  Food!  Running!

I couldn’t forget about the Old Lady, Maggie.  I mainly couldn’t forget about her because of her incessant “I want to work” barking.  She and I worked on tunnels and a few jumps with the bar laid on the ground.  Maggie loved it, and I loved working with her.  Working with an enthusiastic, well-trained dog just feels good.

Not to be outdone, The Child ran the agility course without a dog.  He jumped over the jumps, went through the tunnel, and weaved.  I was particularly impressed that he got the right weave entrance every time!  I also chuckled because every time The Child went through the tunnel, Rip would spot him and run full tilt into the tunnel.  This resulted in a squeal from The Child as Rip got in more than a few good licks.

A good way to spend an afternoon.

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