One man’s junk is another man’s jungle-gym


Gwynn is good at going slowly through the sticks... if he's given incentive 🙂

the easiest way I've found to get Gwynn to go over jumps is to do it myself... monkey see, monkey do

In a perfect display of slacking on yard-work, we spent one afternoon turning our yard into a personalized agility course.  We took our mostly empty yard, and a variety of not-in-use bits of scrap, and turned it into our very own agility course.  It is pretty epic, I know.  If you ignore the fact that it looks a bit like the beginnings of a hoarder’s back-yard collection.  Then again, the fact that we had so much of this stuff just lying around is probably a good indication that we have issues with throwing things away. 

And, of course, once we’d run through it a bunch of times, we figured we should take some pictures of Gwynn in action, and also give some ideas on things you can easily set up in your backyard, without going out and buying things.

 
 

the piece of hosing was a bit short for him to walk through, so we practiced the 'crawl' command

 

we borrowed a table as a place to hop up... this is, by far, his favourite trick. He's now jumping up on random rocks in the path, picnic tables, and anything else he can find that he can get up on.

Those weaving sticks?  Those are actually marshmallow sticks… and a weed pulling device… and a crowbar…  The jump is lawnchairs (obviously), and a big piece of metal that mysteriously fell from the side of our house.  And the hose is the closest thing we’ve got to a hula-hoop, or tunnel.  The small plastic table was the equivalent of the platform a lion stands on in a circus.If you’re planning on doing something similar to this, Clementine boxes are great to start off as the supports for a jump – you can increase the height easily by adding boxes. 

 Gwynn has already done a bit of jumping in his training classes as well as over my previous attempts at building jumps for him, so I didn’t need to start off low.  Even starting off with an upright 2×4 plank will start your dog in the idea of jumping.  
 If you don’t have as many random poles as I do (or don’t want to poke holes in your yard), chairs, or planter pots, or anything, really, can be lined up for winding through.  This isn’t, after all, a professional and timed agility course – this is just for a bit of fun in your own back yard.  When you start off, leave a big enough gap for you to fit through, and lure your dog around the posts as you walk through them yourself. 

… does this remind anyone else of Calvin and Hobbes’ happy dance?

Having something that your dog can crawl through is a good way to practice the crawl command, or even start it off… even if it is an old piece of hose.  If you’ve got a kiddy tunnel, try bringing it out and getting your dog to go through it.  I think a used kids tunnel might be my next purchase (hopeful for garage sale season!), because that was Gwynn’s favourite thing when our trainer brought in the agility type stuff.   This entirely unrelated to obedience training is alot of fun, and gives you a new way to play with your dog.  The  other place I’ve found a use for some of his trick training is in meeting new people – it is hard to be scared of a dog that can wave at  you, or bows to you.  He’s charmed his way through a nursing home and a book shop with these tricks.

 

A final bow from Gwynn at the end of his performance

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8 Comments

  1. How inventive….and an effective way to avoid what you SHOULD be doing 🙂 Looks like you guys had fun.

    • I figured that ‘exercising the dog’ is a valid part of a day’s work 🙂

  2. Don’t fret about procrastinating the yard work. Any good neighbor should be way more impressed by your innovative dog agility course than by a clean yard.

    • or they’re hearing battling banjoes in the back of their minds every time they look across the fence at the junk assembled in my yard! But at least we’re entertaining crazies, kind of like the beverly hillbillies, as opposed to creepy ones, like in ‘Wrong Turn’.

  3. Great ideas! Chet works part-time at a garage, I bet I could get an old tire! I love it! Gwynn is adorable and it looks like you two were having a grand time!

    • A tire would be fun! Especially if it’s big enough for your dogs to run through or jump through!
      It’s definitely alot of fun, though I find that I’m running just about as much as he is, which is a bit tiring 🙂

  4. Ohh, for some reason I can’t see his bow..darn. Love this!

    Sandi

  5. Looks like a fun way to avoid yard work!

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