26 March 2008

Contact training in small spaces-a primer.

When you have a teensy space to train in, it does help to have small dogs. That is a fact I cannot deny. Team Small Dog might have included big dogs by now if we were living on a ranch with space. We patch together a driveway for the poles, make a tunnel out of a box, and have a modified contact trainer/table thing for contacts. You just do what you can do. I practice anywhere, and everywhere I can. What I would do for a big, flat yard...like one would have if one owned a ranch. A real estate story for another day.

We have dabbled in many contacts. My friends that for whatever freakish reason, don't do agility, you see, they have to run FAST over things made of wood and touch the yellow paint with their feet. Easier said than done. Ruby had a 2o/2o that I modified into a running dogwalk and a-frame, and she runs to the end of the teeter, stands for the ride down and runs off. Otterpop has a 4 on the floor that has been modified into a running dogwalk and a-frame, and she slides into a down on the end of the teeter and holds that til it hits. I'm Super Proud of Otterpop's contacts, and Ruby's do pretty good. Her dogwalk can be dicey when she's really fast. We practice it a lot. Gustavo is learning the same teeter as Otterpop, a 2o/2o dogwalk, and a pure running a-frame at speed. I would love to try teaching a Silvia Trkman dogwalk, but with no space to practice consistently, we're just going with the tried and true.

We only practice the a-frame at top speed, channeling Silvia, with it still super low to the ground. We do this not at my house, where there is just no room for a-frames. So I am like the a-frame slut. If you have an a-frame I can lower and practice on, I am there. I am shameless. As for his dogwalk, he's been over the whole thing a few times, but mostly he practices on running down from the top, or on my thing in our backyard. I want it fast, and a solid, quick set of brakes that release just as fast. I have a modified contact trainer wobbling on a patio table sort of wedged up against my house. Looks great! The game is run over there, up on the table, and down the dogwalk board and slam me a contact.

They all like to practice together. I let them do it. It might be bad agility, but it cracks me up to see them throwing out all their different contacts over and over to see if I'll toss anyone some food. Otterpop usually just shoves everyone else off the top of the dogwalk board like some crazy, drunken pirate. Gustavo is pretty serious about his contacts. He's usually like this little party dude, running around like he's on spring break in Mexico and the vodka slurpees are flowing and strippers are everywhere waving banners with his name on them and he would probably be listening to like, Justin Timberlake and texting EVERYONE! But for his dogwalk stop, he makes this great pause, hits his target, stays there for a cookie, like he is SO MATURE, until I release him off to get a stuffed squirrel or a tupperware and the party just starts all over again.


Simba said...

awesome!! You've really become an addiction! LOL! Yes, I too have a small space and a small dog. I'm hoping to make my own contact trainer for my apartment this weekend.

I've just ordered some 2x2 weaves someone is making for me out of PVC. I've got a small tunnel I bought at a big box pet store. and some makeshift jumps with a plastic rod and pylons!!

Agility, ghetto style!! LOL!


Urban Smoothie Read said...

u juz remind me i don't have any contact obstacle at home....only gotta practise it once a week at the training ground...how sad is that....

but we do attempt 2on/2off on elevated board...