Archive for ‘Agility’

June 4, 2011

Day 84: Backyard Agility

Today we broke out all of Bailey’s agility equipment and set it up in our tiny yard.  This was the first time that Bailey has had all four pieces of equipment set up at home, and he loved it.  He had his new set of weave poles, his tunnel, his jump and his A-frame today.  It was a whole mini-course for him :)

Craig was our photographer and videographer today, as I am usually always the one to do the handling with Bailey’s agility.  I don’t feel like processing all of these images, even the main 365 image above, so these are all straight from the camera, just converted from RAW to jpg.  Thats why they may look a little bad.   They didn’t get the attention that RAW images require in postprocessing.

I am so proud of Bailey on his weave poles.  We are still working on his correct entrances.  The “correct” way is for the dog to always enter with his left shoulder against the first pole (ie from the right, which is how I always remember it).  Once he is in, he rocks his weaves.  At one point when we were running his “course” he went from his jump right into his weaves all on his own.  Of course, he entered from the wrong side but it was still a great achievement for him, and I am so proud of him.  With more practice, he’ll have it down in no time.

He was very happy to have his A-frame taken out of the garage.  It hasn’t been taken out since last summer.  I forgot how big it was.  Each side is 8 by 3 feet.  We are so used to the A-frame at our agility classes where they use a scaled down version since there isn’t a ton of room at our training club.  It’s hard to say if Bailey has a favorite obstacle because he seems to love every aspect of agility.  However, if I had to choose, I would say the A-Frame would be Bailey’s favorite piece of equipment.  We could put the A-frame up in the yard, and he would just run back and forth on it non-stop, with no cues from us at all.

and here are some pictures…  all taken by Craig.

Aaaaaaaaand the videos…  One thing I noticed when watching the videos was how Bailey was going off the A-frame on the side.  That was due to a bad set-up of equipment as the a-frame was on a hill and tilted down that way.  Also he was a little eager for his jump, although I’m pretty sure it was the tilt that was throwing him off the most.

His 2 best runs…

Entering the weavepoles on his own, but from the wrong side

A mess-up run… jumped instead of tunnel and got stuck on his way back up the a-frame

Hope everyone else had a lovely Saturday!

May 22, 2011

Day 71: Weave!

We got outside to practice Bailey’s new weave poles today.  I have been meaning to make poles for him for a long time, and I’m glad we finally did.  Weave poles have always been Bailey’s most challenging agility obstacle.  He never got to practice them much, and the weaving motion isn’t necessarily natural for dogs, at least in my opinion.  He has the potential to be great at them though if he has a chance to actually practice them often.  So I’m glad we have a set of them at home now.  They are so easy to set up that it is something that we can do for 5-10 minutes every day.  Pretty soon he’ll be weaving like a pro all on his own.

(The weave poles look a little wonky in the photo, but they were all in a straight line.  They were just a little slanted and the angle of the photo distorts them as well)

For anyone interested in doing agility with their own dogs, a lot of pieces of agility equipment are very cheap and easy to make on your own.  The set of 6 weave poles that we built for Bailey cost us 15 dollars in materials from home depot.  For just as cheap, if not cheaper, you can make jumps also using pvc pipe.  Bailey’s tunnel is a kids tunnel that we got from Toys R Us for like 20 dollars (great for small dogs… probably pushing it for bigger dogs unless you can find bigger kids tunnels).  His A-Frame (as seen in the previous post) was the only expensive item to build probably costing between 75-100 dollars to make because of all the wood.  If there is any interest, I could type up some “DIY Agility Equipment” instructions for certain pieces of equipment.

Our only problem now is that we are acquiring so many pieces of agility equipment and our yard isn’t big enough for them all.

May 21, 2011

Day 70: Agility Fun Day

Today is going to be a lazy post and picture day and result in a little bit of cheating.  Well, it’s not actually lazy.  More like all the plans I had fell through.

We had “Agility Fun Day” today.  I meant to take some photos there… or rather have Craig take photos since I’m the one that always runs the agility with Bailey.  But guess who forgot her camera.  Yup, me.

Then we stopped afterwards to go to Home Depot to get some materials to build some weave poles for Bailey since I really need to practice those with Bailey.  We got home and built them, and I wanted to set them up later for him to practice and get some photos.  However, we had to run a couple errands, and by the time we got home, it was dark.

Then I went to take some photos inside, and my camera battery was pretty much dead.

So no new photos today.  I’m hoping to get some weave pole photos taken tomorrow.

So instead, but still keeping with the agility theme, here is an old photo of Bailey from last summer when we first built his A-Frame.

Today’s “Agility Fun Day” was fun (lol).  They had a course set up for all the dogs to do.  Bailey made both me and his trainer very proud.  I’ve said it before but Bailey is what we like to call “ADD Puppy.”  Sometimes that lack of focus comes out in class, whether it be wanting to socialize with the other dogs or sniff the floor for treats.  Bailey didn’t know a single dog there today.  We thought for sure he would have trouble getting himself focused because he would just want to go meet all the other dogs.  However, during his first run he went right on the course, paid attention to me and ran the course great.  He didn’t even care about all the new dogs on the sidelines.  I was very proud of him and his trainer was very impressed with how focused he was.

We got there a little late due to a time mix-up, along with another dog, so we were invited to stay a little later and run the course a couple extra times.  It was a bigger dog and when it was Bailey’s turn we forgot to lower the jumps.  He normally jumps about 8 inches, and the bars were set to either 16 or 18 for the bigger dog.  No one realized that the jumps weren’t lowered until we got to our first one.  Bailey soared over it no problem and then cleared the others as well.  Bailey didn’t seem to mind, and everyone was laughing at how effortlessly he jumped them.

Bailey was also the only small dog there during the session that we attended.  Everyone was quite impressed by him :)

March 27, 2011

Day 15: My Little Agility Star

Bailey just finished up the last class in his latest round of agility training.  So today’s post is all about Bailey and his agility.  (Photo taken for today was taken out in our yard with Bailey’s own tunnel, not at class)

Bailey has been doing agility for about a year now.  Although it started when he was a puppy, and we made him his first jump out of some pvc pipe.  From that moment, I knew it would be something that he would enjoy doing and looked forward to getting into it with him in the future.

It took a while to find the right training club to do it with, but eventually we found a local club, and we signed up for “Small Dog Agility for Fun.”  It was perfect for us.  Not only did we start learning the basics of agility and handling and the equipment, but the class was also focused on ways that we can implement and practice agility at home.

I also loved that it was focused on fun, rather than competing.  Bailey absolutely loves agility.  It is fun for him, and  he is fearless when it comes to trying new obstacles, so he learns rather quickly.  He is also a speed demon when it comes to running the courses.  However, if dogs could officially be diagnosed with ADD, Bailey would have it.  Bailey’s attention span comes and goes.  I am also convinced that Bailey does agility for himself, not for me.   The reason he does the agility isn’t to obey me or to please me.  He does it because he has fun doing it.  What does this mean?  Well it means that sometimes he gets really excited and will just run the entire course and do the obstacles before I say it’s okay to go.  It means that he sometimes finishes a course, and his reward for himself is to turn around and run the course backwards.  When he gets tired and is done, he checks out.  It doesn’t matter what I ask him to do.  He doesn’t do agility for me.  He does it for himself.  So when he is done, he’s done, and there is no fighting him about it.  Then there are some days that his nose takes over his brain and all he wants to do during class is sniff the floor at the training club for treats that other people dropped.   Most days, he does listen and obey really well, but some days he just can’t focus that little brain of his.

Here is an example of Bailey’s ADD and excitement getting the best of him when practicing his agility. (This video was taken last Summer)

So for all those reasons, he probably wouldn’t be the best at competing, however it is a wonderful thing for us to do together for fun.  So many people don’t understand how important it is for dogs to not only get physical stimulation but also mental stimulation.  Dogs LIKE to think.  They LIKE, no they NEED, to have their mind challenged.  Agility is great for that, and it is something that we get to do together, so it builds our relationship and communication for every day life as well.

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