This week the temps have dropped significantly around here, and with the ground frozen and some snow flurries, my agility equipment has now been packed away. Ok, the weave poles are still out, but everything else.
There are still many ways we can practice our agility skills sans equipment though. As my back yard littered with traffic cones, some stick in the ground fence posts, and a couple of trash barrels shows. I’ve found cones, posts and barrels to be great markers for practicing handling moves, directional skills, distance skills and turns. The term I’ve always used for practicing moves without equipment is ‘on the flat’ and our New England winters I generally get ample chances to practice in this manner.
Today Zora and I had some fun with her speeding around cones and barrels practicing my body language and foot work for out, here, tight, switch and go. She loves chasing after her jolly ball when she hears me call out “Yes! Good girl!”
Doing these exercises forces me to really shore up my handling communications. As unlike when I can call out “Go Hup!” and if there is a dog walk and a jump near by she will take the jump as she knows “Hup” means jump and “walk it” is for dog walk, when all there are is a bunch of cones, I really need to make my body language super clear about what path exactly I’m wanting when I cue “Go!” And I will tell you, I’m certainly needing the shoring up! It was a very good practice today. Zora is such a good willing dog. Love her to bits!
Not to be left out, Tom got to play a bit too. He doesn’t care about chasing toys around, but he does love his biscuits and butt scratches. We all had a fun time.