egwenna: (dog)
[personal profile] egwenna
Out of boredom and a need to do *something* I set up an agility course in the house. Just to see if I could get Dexter to run through it.

It started with a little cloth toddler tunnel he can't actually stand up in.
Then I grabbed two tiny plastic kiddie chairs and a mop and made a jump.
I added a second section of tube, and a second higher jump with kitchen chairs, a broom, and a quilt to make it solid.
Then I covered the exit of the tunnel with a towel.
Then I uncovered the second 'high' jump.

It took me about half an hour to teach him to go over (not under) the naked high jump, do the second jump, and go through the tunnel blind. By the end I could toss the treat to the far end and he'd run our mini-course solo to go get it.

How long does it normally take to teach dogs these things? I lack all experience in this matter and have nothing to compare to. I just thought it might be fun.

And somehow I expected the kids to be able to do the little jump too.. but they cannot. At least they had fun with the tunnel and tossing the treats back and forth watching him go. Now I've got to find our hoola hoop so we can add that. I also think I need to space the jumps wider, when the higher jump was last his jump looked really ...steep? and sort of awkward.

Date: 2011-01-28 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, the early building is great. Dogs will pattern really well to a few obstacles. It's when you start adding more, and more complex ones, that the patience has to be factored in.

He should have two strides before a jump set at competition height, which is about the height of the shoulder. If you halve the height, then one stride. (this is not from any source, just out of my head btw) If he's still under 13 months or so, he should be jumping half height to cushion impact on his growing joints.

Crawling the tunnel is normal for large breeds in competition, so it's not too big of a deal here. He'll be ecstatic when he's introduced to one he can run through.

Competition has several jump types, but the heights are typically the same. For fun, there's no reason you can't vary the heights.

You could introduce a broad jump with some cardboard boxes - these are a series of angled planes, rising slightly higher for each plane. Something for the house could be 8" wide x 6 and 8 inches tall. Two for the house should be plenty - they are set up right next to each other. Make your jump width at least 30" indoors for this (standard is 60" - unwieldy inside) The wider the better, to help him see it.

I just found out that dogs have a blind spot right in front of their face close to their body - explains a lot of behavior I've witnessed...

Sounds like you are having fun!

You're going to want more room, I'm sure.

(minor proofing edits)
Edited Date: 2011-01-28 06:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-29 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The blind spot makes sense... we typically don't see the tip of our nose, so that they'd have one just about the same place makes sense since they use the same style vision we do.

.... the jumps might actually have been the right height. I think the one off the kitchen chairs was shoulder, or maybe a little bit higher, off the kiddie chairs was probably half that, but he didn't have two strides anywhere (before, after or inbetween) since we were in the hallway and I wanted to stay on the carpet for traction (everywhere else is tile, hardwood or loose area rugs). I think we have about 12' to work in.

Maybe tomorrow if we need something to do we'll set it back up and I'll swap the higher jump for a box and drag his crate out of the way to give us another few feet. We're also anticipating another snow day, so it'll be a good activity... we can set the obstacles up so the tunnel is off the corner of the couch into the living room. That rug is big enough that it doesn't move much and he doesn't move as fast going through the covered tube, so he shouldn't have trouble turning the corner.

I'm trying to label them (Tunnel, Jump) so he's easier to direct. It'll be interesting to see how many we can add. Elly brought me the third tunnel piece, but I still need to go find the hoola hoop....


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