17 April 2015

7 Things You Can Learn, too, if you Train a RDW.


Perhaps you are in my running dogwalk class. We like to saw RDW in our class. It's our very own secret code. We have this instead of a handshake.

Our teacher lives in Slovenia, and everybody has a girl crush on her. She looks like Kate Moss (uh, '90's supermodel gone bad-gone-good-gone-rich reference) and she has loads of dogs and is like the quadruplest world super champion of dog agility. She is nice. She is my most favorite teacher of ever.

Her whole job is to try to teach us how to teach our dogs to run super fast over the planky thingamajig of dog agility and make sure their feet touch down securely in the yellow bits on the ends.

My classmates live in Denmark, Zimbabwe, Austria, Brazil, Serbia, Holland, Luxembourg, Australia, Hungary, Finland, Norway, Germany, Poland, Estonia, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada, Spain, England, France, Czech Republic, Peru, Italy, Scotland, USA and Slovenia.

I'm not sure if the Slovenians get to go to the teacher's house for a party at the end.

You take the class by getting a video camera and setting it on a box or a tripod or a tree every time you practice and remembering to turn it on. You have to learn how to plug your camera into the computer and get the movie out and get it in slow motion all clipped up and get it in the internet for Silvia to watch in her computer in her totally adorable house in the beautiful Slovenian countryside. Silvia's job is to sit and watch hundreds of videos of slow motion dogs running across planks every day.

This is a little bit of a weird job but she's really good at it.

So to do the class, you have to make your dogs some planks to run on. No matter what country you live in, you either need your very own agility garden (we call backyards gardens in everywhere else in the world) in your front or back yard, or you have to borrow a garden. Or a hall. We call agility places with walls halls in everywhere else in the world. This is where you'll put your planks.

This is really, really hard. Except for some people that have a really good garden or hall already. Most of us don't so a lot of class is setting up a garden somewhere in a field or on a roadside or near the mountains or in front of some apartments. Or driving to a hall.

Lots of the class is dealing with the garden and the hall issue. Good luck with that.

Once you have your hall or garden, stuff you can make planks out of include chairs, wood, crates, rugs, boxes, plastic stuff, cardboard, tables, sandbags, bricks, blocks, and rocks. Hopefully you have this stuff in your garden! You are gonna get really good at making planks! Because you start with your planks low and it takes a long time to stack up and build a very nice bridge out of your stuff.

Please don't let your planks be too wobbly! Although I have noticed, many dogs in other countries other than mine don't care if the planks wobble. USA dogs may be wobble sissies.

Someday in your future of planks, you will want a real dogwalk. I am very, very lucky to use my friend Kathleen's at her garden! She has a very nice garden with trees, and best of all, with a lovely dogwalk with rubbery skin.

In terms of dogwalks, this is a good thing to have.

So to get your dog actually running on your planks, you will need to be an excellent ball thrower. I cannot even elaborate on this huge bummer of a life skill that I do not have. I have no words. I suck at ball throwing and this fact affects my dog agility training.

With me so far? So far you have had to learn to build stuff, take videos, edit videos, upload videos, and now throw balls. And probably, unless your dog belongs to one of my other RDW friends, Banksy's frenemy forever, Kirk, your dog is a long way from learning to run over the boards with their feet securely plopping down on the yellow parts.

Here is a video example of now this might look:

Yes, this is a 6 minute video of one dog chasing a ball in slow motion over some planks!

I have approxmately 30 of these videos. Maybe more. I'm afraid to count.

You might notice that I never run. This is because I had knee surgery! I will tell you something hard to do. Train a dog to run over some planks when you personally can't run! Not a good idea, I will tell you right now.

Our class isn't done. Pretty much, Banksy has learned to almost hit the yellow a lot of the time but not if I don't do a good job of throwing the ball and definitely not if I don't throw the ball or try to use the red rubber ball instead of the tennis ball and not if I don't put on the rug. And not always with her RF.

This is secret code for rear feet.

She likes to hit a lot with FF.

Secret code for front feet.

She is good at extension. This means running so damn fast yer legs splay out far. Frequently too good. There are rdw remedies for this which I seek daily.

This is not the first time I have trained a RDW. Me and my friend the robot trained Gustavo's. It was hard and took years and it may have made me stomp my feet sometimes and bang my head against a fence post. So I am very used to the sadmaking that RDW gives me a lot of the time. But I am very excited when it gives me the happiness of RF running through the yellow. Banksy is pretty happy all the time because there is always a tennis ball flying around at some point. This is like her favorite thing to do, ever.

Has she learned a RDW yet? Um, no. I think I am actually not the greatest teacher of this, even though I have learned to throw a ball totally better than when I started and have good ideas of building things that stack up planks without anything wobbling.

For now, if you're looking for me, try Kathleen's garden, I might be down there on her field, trying to get Banksy to run her back feet through some yellow paint. There's a good chance that's where you'll find me.

9 comments:

Mary said...

There are many things that contribute to not learning RDW as fast as Kirk. For example, if the dog's handler is stuck thinking RF means Right Foot and FF means Front Foot for quite a long time. In other words, if the handler is not too bright, in general.

team small dog said...

Oh shoot, you needed the de-coder ring! Another stumbling block for me was one hand is for a click and one a throw and do not throw the clicker and click the tennis ball or throw the tennis ball or clicker into the bushes.

Agility Foot said...

Laura, you are going to have to run your ass off to keep up with Banksy. Make sure that knee is ready-to-go.

OBay Shelties said...

So very funny! Made my day reading this!

Mary said...

Oh, and Banksy is looking good!!!! And I like the lighting in this video. And it made me so homesick for Heartdog I almost cried.

team small dog said...

Yes Denice I am kind of not sure what I was thinking.
Hello Bernadette and the shelties!
Mary we miss you at heartdog!

Remy said...

I have realised training a RDW is like cleaning the house in which dogs live at: once you think you are done it only takes a day to get shitted up again. And then you clean again. And again. And practise throwing the ball (or in my case, fluffy heavy squeky thing). -Reetta, from cold Finland and with a too-small-garden

team small dog said...

I whole other problem that many of you RDW friends had...the cold and a garden filled with snow for RDW. We have a drought here so once it rained and we couldn't practice dogwalks. Every other day it is bright and sunny. But we do have wobble sissies here in the USA so that's our tradeoff for no cold. And Mary has snow over there in Ohio.

Vala said...

Hahaha, this I can relate to!! I'm in the category of lousy thrower, but - finally We're getting somewhere 😂😂 So now, before thing starts to go to hell again I've decided to fade out the ball, so that my lousy throwing is taken out of the equation ;-) Good luck to us all ;-)