Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow Fun

I'm a student, so I get a lot more vacation than a lot of people, but it still feels like I don't have a lot of time off.  So, when there's a foot of snow during my vacation and I want to be doing agility, I get restless.  Jonah gets crazy if he can't run around too much.  Solution #1:  Shovel a path around the house that we can run around (carefully).  Solution #2:  Make a path around the fenced area of the yard, Jonah's favorite place to run, so he can have his regular romps.  Solution #3:  Practice the teeter in the garage where there is no snow.  Solution #4:  Get so fed up with the snow that I decide to just shovel the back yard.  Well, not all of it, but about a 30' x 30' area.  It took a while, and by the time I was done I hardly had any energy to actually use it.

Anyway, I shoveled the area down to an inch or two of snow.  It's not ideal traction at all, so I don't want Jonah full speed or jumping much, but I've been wanting to work on obstacle discrimination and distance, so we did a little of that.  First I had a U-shaped tunnel and just worked on sending him out ahead of me to either entrance.  Then I made the tunnel straight and put a single 8" jump parallel to it and worked on sending him to those from a distance.  We're at the point where 5' distance is easy, 10' is a doable challenge and 15' is difficult.  So, we work mostly around 10' but I vary it a little.

We also put out the pause table from Four Paws for the first time.  It's great!  Jonah really likes the table.  He could be faster if he jumped and downed in one continuous motion, but as it is he jumps on and starts to go into his down as soon as he's up there, it just takes him a second to get all the way down.  Now we have a table to really work on his speed.  Definitely a good use of $25.

Jonah is doing great on the teeter, too.  He doesn't blink an eye at it, and yesterday was the first day that he actually had a happy face all the way across it.  Usually he doesn't look especially unhappy but he's not overly excited, either.  Yesterday, though, was definite enjoyment.  It's good to see.

We're going away again this weekend for New Years (but Jonah's coming with us this time), so we'll have another few days off from agility.  When I get back I'd like to try to dig out the weave poles and keep him sharp on them.  We should be getting our real set in about two weeks. 

I'm not sure I actually blogged about the weave poles we're getting--I found a place (Circle S Agility) that will make weave poles to order and will send them unfinished for much less than the other stores.  For $70 they'll make a set of 6 poles at your choice of spacing and with your choice of leg types.  This is their practice set, so it comes with 36" poles instead of 40" and the hinge in the middle (used for storage) is a lighter duty type.  Since I'll probably keep mine set up most of the year, the lighter hinge won't bother me, and Grace even recommended the shorter poles for Jonah so he keeps his head down in front of him.  I'm ordering two sets (so I'll have 12 poles) with 24" spacing, and welded offset legs.  I'll have to paint them once they arrive, but that shouldn't be much trouble.  I'm excited. 

We get back Sunday and then I start class on Monday.  So much for vacation :-/.  This is a two week class and then I have one more week off before the real grind starts again.  I hope I can still give Jonah the attention he deserves with agility.

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