There are very few things I love more than learning new games/sports/tricks with the dogs. I love the process of learning together… of taking a journey together where neither of us really know the route. It’s why I’ve taken obedience classes, rally-o classes, agility classes, frisbee seminars, and even a short freestyle-dancing seminar (shhhh don’t tell!). While frisbee will always be a big passion for us, we’ve also been bitten by the agility bug. Both dogs love it and have done exceedingly well considering they aren’t formally trained in agility. Once a week was just not enough for us to continue to improve. Like I’ve written about, I’m a huge believer in baby steps build[ing] a strong foundation. I would like nothing more than to have an entire class built solely around jumping, handling, or sequencing drills.
Given that the majority of people in our classes aren’t so impressed with this type of drill work, I knew that if I wanted that type of practice, I’d have to do it myself. Fortunately, I’m pretty handy. Heck my college roommates joked that I would make the perfect husband…and wife… I can bake rock-awesome cupcakes AND fix a wobbly kitchen chair (at the same time!)!
I searched for plans online for jumps and didn’t find any that struck my fancy. I didn’t have jump cups (and am not patient enough to wait LOL!) so I opted for a solid bar and a single height (that can be switched out by changing the height PVC poles) which was fine considering both dogs will likely be jumping the same height class. Since it’s still super rainy and somewhat snowy, I made the jumps narrower than the norm so I could easily set up 2 or 3 in the dog room. Although I have free-standing weave poles for 2×2 training (and stick in the ground), they were not as awesome as I had anticipated and I wanted more usable 2×2’s. I came up with a plan with a PVC ground bar (like the typical metal bases)… I was super excited! I did the math to figure out how much i’d need and set off to Home Depot.
The people at HD just laugh at me most of the time, I’m either buying copious amounts of 2″ steel rings and clips for tug leashes, crazy quantities of PVC, or boards (for wobble boards). I needed 50ft of PVC today and about 30 different connectors. They didn’t have a 3-way elbow connector that I needed so I got a few elbows to jury-rig 2×2 weaves (so far the seem to be working nicely… going to see if the skills transfer to real weaves eventually–and actually, they are similar to obstacles used for handling drills/practice so they may turn out to be cool additions regardless). After a few odd looks while checking out (though, mad thanks to the employee who punched in “quantity 24” on her special computer so I didn’t have to ring up 24 individual “T” connectors) I made it home. I busted out the hacksaw, put some music on and muscled out 40 individual pieces pipe. Hacksaws, while fun to say that I use, are actually sort of hard to use after the first 20 pieces…but I figured, if I tried to fight the hacksaw, I would lose, so just sweet talk it and go slow.
Two hours later, I had 4 jumps and 3 sets of 2×2 weaves (ish) all finished! All I need to do is put some tape on the bars and weaves and we will be ready to go! Now if only the weather would cooperate… 1.5inches of rain the last 60 hrs and looking for 3-6inches of snow tomorrow. I’m desperate to set up some box work for the pups… but we’ll have to just play around in the dog room!