31 August 2010

Team Small Dog official report on rubberized contact equipment.

My non dog agilty friends, a craze has swept the dog agility world. Sort of like when skinny jeans that sit down below your ass crack came into style. All of a sudden, bellybuttons and thongs and ass crack galore. You couldn't escape the sight. Until you had your own and you learned the sad reality of muffin top. Like every good craze, it lasted a really long time and trickled down upon the masses until it became normal. Now we just call these trousers, and everyone goes about their daily lives, unfazed by crack button thong.

In the dog agility world, rubber is the new craze. Have you ever been to the Folsom Street Fair? It's in San Francisco and there are a lot of rubber clothes on parade. With very visible ass cracks. It's usually on a hot and sunny day, the rubber is mostly black and there's a lot of sweaty leather too. It's sort of like a dog agility trial with all the collars and leashes and special harnesses. Just without the agility. It's actually a whole different rubber thing, but when you say rubber, that's the first rubber I think about.

If you are fashion forward, you might already have the dog agility rubber. Not the kind you wear. Or maybe you have both. Maybe you even made yourself some really good skinny pants when you were hooking up the contacts? You poured out rubber sheets and sanded and glued and stitched and ooh aah when you finally finished and your dog ran across the rubber. You then had to make sure that you have a lot of friends because all the stuff that had the rubber glued on now weighs about 4 million pounds. Which is actually useful for the skinny jeans if you are using your core muscles every time you move that a-frame. Less muffin top. Rubber pants are way less work in the long run but really, not just everyone should wear them.

Our friendly local agility clubs now have rubber contacts for the trials. The not so fashion forward folk like me don't have any to practice on yet. So this past weekend was the first time for many of us to run the dogs over the rubber. This just sounds dirty to me.

Here's what Team Small Dog can report on, if you've been wondering about the rubber but haven't tried it yet. I couldn't really tell any difference on the contacts with Otterpop. She was just like, whatever. Whisper quiet. She did have a great weekend, so did the rubber help? Can't say. Otterpop isn't very sensitive to changes in equipment. Offensive hat on a judge, another story. And no way could she ever go to the Folsom Street Fair.

Gustavo is a whole other can of worms. Move a rock 2 inches to the right, and he can have a stress attack and meltdown. Or not. He's predictably unpredictable. So the rubber contacts were a big experiment. He seemed ok with everything, even the teeter. The one noticeable difference though, was his dogwalk. Holy smokes. No dogwalk contact all weekend. Not a one.

We did a little damage control test on Monday morning, to see what we were dealing with. Up we went to forest agility, and can report all dogwalk, all the time. Even when I was running as fast as I could with distance away from it. I set up my video camera to spy on him at the yellow down contact for proof. They were better than they've been in the last couple weeks. I also asked him for a couple 2o/2o, to see if he remembered. He did, even though he hasn't had to stop in months.

Maybe some of you have had this happen when your dogs started running on rubberized equipment? They feel all bouncy and frisky and leapy? We have a week to practice running the board until the Regionals next weekend. It could be worse. I could be needing to fit into black latex lace up pants. I think fixing a running dogwalk contact is a much easier proposition.


Elf said...

Tika had two major flyoffs this weekend, one DW and one Aframe. Boost stuck only one contact all weekend. Although Tika's contacts are always iffy, and Boost's have been deteriorating lately, this seemed extreme to me and I'm thinkin' I'll blame the rubberized contacts, because it's easier than trying to fix them.

team small dog said...

Gustavo's were just so uncharacteristic, and jubilant!

Elf said...

That's what I told Nancy in class last night when she asked whether there had been any comments about dogs' performance on 24" weaves or rubberized contacts: "Dogs were having TOO MUCH fun!" Jubilance is a good reaction.