Everyday Agility

Golden Retriever

Ok, so why can't I just walk around all these things?

I’d love to try agility with Honey. I’ve taken her to a couple of competitions where she’s enjoyed watching the dogs go through their paces.

Unfortunately the  closest agility classes are ten miles away and I don’t see well enough to drive in the dark. Next best thing? Find agility obstacles around the neighborhood and start working on them.

Weave poles

Our local high school just completed some construction. They’ve set up dozens of plastic bollards mounted on soft foam bases. It is absolutely the most perfect set of weave poles I could ever imagine.

Honey doesn’t quite get the point of going through all the poles when she can just walk around them but she’s working on it.

Tunnels

Near my house are the remnants of old industry powered by massive waterfalls. Yep, including a huge tunnel.

Culvert at Ithaca Falls

Nice and roomy. No flapping canvas sounds. Honey found this much easier than a typical agility tunnel.

The darkness inside the tunnel and the light at the end made it hard for me to get a good shot of Honey. But she didn’t find this scary at all.

Honey has shown some reluctance around flapping canvas blowing in the wind so I suspect a traditional agility tunnel will take some work for her to feel comfortable with it. Big metal pipe with lots of echos–no problem.

Jumps

Responsible agility instructors do not allow large breed dogs younger than 18 months or so to do a full agility course. They want to be sure a dog’s bones are formed before putting too much stress on them.

However, that doesn’t mean they can’t get used to being around the equipment or stepping over a low jump. I was lucky to find this three doors from my house. But it won’t be there much longer.

Golden Retriever

It says "caution." Are you sure this isn't dangerous?

I guess it’s too much to ask my neighbor not to repair her broken sidewalk, huh?

Table

Agility folks, feel free to give me the right names for these things. I’ve seen some courses where the dog has to jump up onto a table and stay there for a short time.

Although Honey has enjoyed jumping on my desk or table at work for the sheer joy of it, I find it hard to teach her to jump on much lower items on cue.

I find some people are a little put off when I try to get Honey to jump on a picnic table. I don’t know–something about paws that have stepped in dog poop or something?

Once again the local high school came to the rescue. They have some new architectural features at the ramps (benches? I don’t know) that are pretty low to the ground. Honey got some practice putting her front paws up on the surface. We haven’t yet gotten to jumping the whole way up. No hurry. These aren’t going anywhere soon.

Golden Retriever

I'm ready for my pet-icure. Please use clear polish. I prefer the natural look.

Finding obstacles around our neighborhood has been a great way to add some fun to our walks and keep Honey from getting bored. She never knows what’s going to happen next. And until I see the next obstacle, neither do I.

Does anyone else try to bring different activities to their walks besides “walking?” I’d love new ideas.

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Comments

  1. We found your blog on the Saturday Blog Hop. Love the title of your blog. We had a Golden and her name was Honee too just spelled differently. In her young days she was extremely energetic and a very fast learner. Goldens love to please their owners and thrive on any attention they get. We never did the agility training but I’m sure she would of loved it. The only thing that sometimes makes it hard to train them is their excitement of just being the center of your attention.
    Have a Great Week!

  2. Cool!! Mom says I’m going to start agility real soon and I bet there’s some of these things around here.

  3. Stopping to say Hi! from the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. Great ideas for how to get some agility practice without the equipment. Thought I would pass along this link for more ideas for cheap equipment- http://members.peak.org/~helix/Agility/ My favorite is using a pop-up bag (usually used for yard work) as a tunnel. It’s small and easy to pack away or take on the road to use.

  4. My first Golden would climb over, under or through any obstacle we found. When we tried her at agility, she snorted and refused. I think we might have insulted her!

    Sam

  5. No, but what a great idea. I will look for some of these things. It’ll take patience because I’ve messed with their routine, but what fun. I have some jumps I could do. Our morning walks are short because they’re at 4 am, so to make them more interesting will be great for them. Thanks.

  6. Hi Y’all,

    Just hopped by to see what y’all were doin’…The bench you found will also do well for the low dog walk.

    Hope you can take classes when the day gets longer. They teach the Human how to get us to do all that stuff.

    My Humans made some obstacles for me out of PVC pipe. My Human Momma sets up the weave poles for me and after our walk, just before I go inside, I weave through the poles.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog