I am very excited at my recent discovery!  I have discovered a free, open to everyone, enclosed dog park/agility course that is 12 minutes away from the house! 

We had seen it while driving past when we first moved here, but I always assumed it was restricted to current customers (it's attached to a vet's office).  Then, when I was researching dog parks in the area, I ran across that information!

Today was our first visit, and I'm sure it will be the first visit of many.  My only regret is that it doesn't have a pond to do water retrieves in, but beggars cannot be choosers!  Trooper made up for this fact by putting his front two paws in a giant water bucket they had for the dogs to drink out of.  Oh well.  Supposedly in the summer they also have a little doggie pool, but it's nothing like a good stretch of water. 

ANYWAY, I'm still excited!  This is a place that has 10-foot high fences around a big expanse of grass.  Within the park, there are a number of agility obstacles that anyone is free to use!  I will most likely get the terminology wrong, so forgive me, but they had the following:

A-frame ramp
Long bridge
Weave poles
Many, many adjustable single and double jumps
O-ring jump
Two open tunnels
One closed tunnel (the fabric drapes down and the dog has to "open" the tunnel)

I first let the dogs just do some open exploring and sniffing around when we arrived.  No dogs were there at the time.  Then we played tennis ball to let them run off some energy.  Before I go much further, I should preface this by saying Cosette is totally and completely uninterested in agility obstacles.  She retrieves.  Enough said.  Trooper, however, needs more mental and physical stimulation to be satiated. 

The first obstacle we tried was the long bridge.  He first tried jumping all the way up (about 4 feet off the ground, past the ramp part).  I then managed to show him he needed to walk up the ramp while making sure his paws were touching the banded parts (sometimes they are white, these were yellow).  If we ever got into agility, that's a good habit to instill.  He was so excited, though, he kept losing his footing and falling off.  What a goof.  I ran some more energy off of him with tennis balls, and then he seemed to be able to focus a bit better and walked up and over with no problem.

Then we tried the platform with a good "sit," wait, "jump up," "sit" and "down" and "okay!"  So, I made him wait to jump up on the platform, and then gave the ok, then once he was up I made him sit and then lie down.  That obstacle he was a super pro at (but I'm not even sure that's what he was supposed to be doing).

Then we tried the A-frame.  This one he had a bit more a problem with.  He would climb up to the top and then turn around and jump off and weird angles.  He finally just went running at it on his own once, and managed to get up and over.  He had his little lightbulb moment, and then I worked further on it with him.  I backed him up about 5 feet away from it, and then walked over to the apex of the frame and held his tennis ball up on the top.  I then told him "okay" and he ran up the frame and down the other side, following my hand with the tennis ball in it.  Every time he did it successfully, I threw the tennis ball for him.  He then explored the tunnel without me prompting.  I'm not sure how to teach how to go through the open tunnel other than to throw a tennis ball in, so I'm going to wait and read up on it.  But at least he's not afraid of it!

We also did a few jumps, but nothing major or high.  I was mainly wanting them to just run off energy and get used to everything. 

There were some small dogs that came to the park (a Yorkie, and then two little mini poodles).  Cosette and Trooper's response to them was HILARIOUS.  They barely perked up their ears at them, and then completely ignored the little dogs (it seems they share my big-dog bias). 

Then some big dogs arrived (a fat yellow Lab mix, a fat golden retriever mix, and a pitbull mix).  The owner kept the pit mix on a leash, but kept walking over to where I was at with the dogs and would tell her dog, "No, they're playing" and would drag her back away.  After the fifth or sixth time she did that, I asked, "Can she not be off-leash?"  She said that she was worried about how my dogs would react to her, and I looked back at C&T and said, "Ohhh, no, they'll be fine.  They're used to being around other dogs."  She was really apprehensive and made sure it was ok with me to let hers off leash.  She bent down and unclicked the leash, and the little pit mix ran over to C&T.  Cosette ignored her, and Trooper chased her (good-naturedly) a little, but then lost interest.  My dogs were more interested in the tennis ball and could care less what the other dogs were doing.  Oh well. 

All in all, we were out there for an hour and a half!  Wow.  I completely wore them out!!  I'm sure I'll be updating more with our agility course adventures.  Maybe I can try snapping a few photos, with the help of Joel.  ;)
11/8/2010 20:00:05

well, my adrenaline is probably in sympatico with yours.
off -leash
close to home

life is perfect

I like weave poles.
The IKEA near me has them on their upper deck- so used them to train my last pup-perhaps people thought i was nuts. But the "green jacket "was on so people seemed to understand we were working.

I have analyzed my reaction to little dogs forever-not a fan of them- but I think it's more their "people" that are irritating. If everyone would treat little dogs with the same rules as bigger ones-this whole big-dog, little-dog thing would not exist.

I prefer to be in a open field experiencing the season's first blizzard than to be an a dog park.
It's too much a reactionary place with silly people. (and great pups!!!)

Enjoy your new play space eh?

12/22/2010 19:32:58

Fashion Conscious: Only 5% still want their man to be a hip fashion conscious "metrosexual" male


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