When we first put it up, Jonah was, in fact, a little worried about it. It did wiggle a little bit which I was actually pleased with since that seemed to be what concerned him about the dog walk in class last week. Dave and I set it up on the low height first (about 20"), and he jumped off the ramp the first time up, walked very slowly and cautiously the second time but went all the way across, and then he decided it was lots of fun. Dave and I each stood at one end and called him across it back and forth and, before we knew it, he was running carelessly along it. So cool! He even blew a contact he was so excited and he surged right over it. (Yes, I know that's not a good thing, but I'm not worried--we'll be able to fix it.) It was nice that he actually was nervous about the dog walk at first and then overcame his fear. The more confidence building he can get, the better. I'm hoping that confidence carries over to class and other new dog walks he encounters. Even if he's nervous about some other dog walk he'll have good, positive memories of another one.
At lunch, I took the plunge and raised it to its final height, which measures out to be about 40 inches. I know that's 8 shy of regulation, but it's going to be good enough for us. It's definitely higher than it's ever been set up for us in class. So far at this height Jonah hasn't shown noticeable nervousness, but he does go a little slower. He'll trot along it but he hasn't really run yet. He's doing well with the contacts but so far I've been staying close to him. It will be fun to keep working on them with me being in different positions.
I also set up the weave poles outside. Since he's been doing so great with 6, I put up 9. I actually brought out a tape measure and made sure they're nice and straight and evenly spaced. They're 22" apart for now. My stakes are not perfectly straight and one doesn't match, but I'm convinced they're a good training tool for the time being. When I asked him to weave them, he kept popping out at pole 6, not being used to 9. I guess he already has muscle memory or something that's gotten him used to 6. Knowing this, I'm going to go up to 12 as quickly as I can. First, though, we'll get some practice with 9 and get that going consistently. It would have been better if I weren't changing both the number of poles and the location at once, so maybe I'm rushing things too much, but we'll see how it goes. If I have to go back to 6 (or 7 or 8) to get his confidence and speed back, I'll do it.
In the ebay world, I am currently bidding for tunnels. There's a package of a tunnel and chute for $50 and an individual chute for $30, so I'm seeing if I can get a tunnel for less than $20. I went ahead and put in five bids, and four are currently winning with prices of $2.75, $1.04, $4.08 and $1.25. I'd be very surprised if people don't bid higher, but if they don't I'll be laughing at myself for having 4 tunnels. Oh well, I certainly won't be spending much (they have free shipping, too)!
So, now for the big surprise of the post...in honor of the new dog walk, I decided it was time to step the blog up and add pictures! Enjoy :)
(The dog walk, lookin snazzy. I put it between a cluster of trees because the space was pretty unusable for any other equipment--got to make the most of what we have! Also you can see the lovely rock in the foreground.)
(Close up of the contact zone with the target. The yellow's already getting dirty, but I think overall it's not half bad. You can see one of our hula hoop 'tires' behind the dog walk.)
(Jonah nailing his contact...with his eyes closed)
(Happy dog on his new dog walk)
(Now showing off his new set of 9 weave poles)
(The weave poles alone. Not perfect, but a good start for us.)
(Jonah on his table)
(Blurry Jonah flying through one of his 'tires')
That's all for today, but tomorrow is our class, so you'll be hearing from us again soon.