I've been intrigued by the Dog Agility Blogger events lately, and I just found out that today's event is "Backyard Training."
Matt and I moved into our house about 2.5 years ago. When we were looking for a house to rent, we knew we had to have a fenced in backyard so we could let the girls run around, and also so I could have room to work them in agility when I could. We weren't able to find a house with a big yard, but it's sufficient for a little bit of foundation work.
Our backyard is shaped like a thin U, but one side is basically useless (it does have a Rubbermaid container that can at least hold my stick-in-the-ground weave poles and a few other smaller items), so we basically have an L. With the way it is set up, I'm at least able to set up my weaves in a couple of different ways, which is good. I'm also able to use the wider corner to set up a small pinwheel, as well as 180s with my two jumps.
I have two jumps--one that I have to be careful with how I set up the bar because after about 10-inches, one little tick (or slight breeze) can cause the bar to drop. The second I was able to get at the AKC National Agility Championships with a gift certificate to Max 200 from my aunt. It's super nice, so I'm lucky.
I don't work Dally much in the backyard--she's not a big fan of some of the grass in the backyard (we say she has "tender toes") and it's hard to get her to do much. So LaMesa's the only one really who has the backyard training.
I do my best to try to set up some things like 180s of varying distances, maybe even have her work a serpentine into the weaves. One negative for backyard training is that it's hard to get her to get her up to the speed she's at in trials. Also, I've learned that you can control the environment if it's your backyard--unless you're working something totally different, it's not really training to do the same thing over and over again in a controlled environment. If we were scored on how we run in my backyard, LaMesa could basically be earning QQs by now! But, we're not...so, like you read in our last post about tackling the weaves again, we're starting to train outside of our backyard in as many different places and environments as possible.
I've learned from my friend Merinda that you have to think outside of the box, and right now, I'm having to train outside of the "safe confines" of our little backyard, at least when it comes to the weaves. But I do plan to work on some more distance sends with pinwheels and 90* corners this winter and into the spring.
I'm looking forward to thinking outside of the box with my backyard training in 2013!