Sunday, February 12, 2012

My dog, the bar knocker.

That's something I never thought I'd have to worry about, but now, well, I'm worried.

I went out for a semi-private lesson with Gary White today. To date, I've only ever taken lessons with the comp-agility trainer at my facility. So I've only ever known one way to train my dog. I figured I was in for a wake up call. I was right.

Basically Cohen was knocking bars left and right. Or, well, she was knocking bars at the apex of turns. Gary assures me this is not normal, and needs to be addressed quickly.

The biggest issue stems from Cohen not being accustomed to jumping 22". It sounds ridiculous, but she never jumps competition height except at competitions. If I were smarter I probably would have put two and two together and had her jumping higher in class. It was perfectly normal to have all the "big dogs" jump around 16" and the "small dogs" around 8" - I think partially due to laziness when adjusting bars and partially so we don't put undue stress on the dogs' joints. Gary pointed out that the way a dog handles a course varies tremendously on the height of the jumps (which again, makes sense and I wish I'd figured that out before). I didn't realize bar knocking at that rate was unusual, which I think was the most embarrassing part. It's not unusual for Cohen to knock one bar a night on our home turf. So I'm worried that there's a bigger underlying issue here. Ugh.

I'm really looking forward to continue with Gary on a regular basis. It's a long drive out of the city, but I think it'd be worth it. He seems quiet and kind, and will provide a fresh approach for my dog and me. I was completely overwhelmed at our first session but hope to really settle in as we progress.

Now, does anyone have any recommendations on where to get (or make) a flirt pole?


  1. Any feed or tack store should sell lunge whips. That is what I use for a flirt pole.

  2. K-Koira, do you just tie a toy to the end? Are they strong enough for some mild tugging?

  3. I made my own flirt pole. I used a wooden dowel, drilled a hole in the end, tied a knot larger than the hole on one end of the string and a slip-knot at the other. The slipknotted end was then cinched around a small floppy toy's neck. It stands up to tugging just fine. If anything, I'm scared for the toy.

  4. I used a lunge whip flirtpole for a while, but I'm not sure it'd be strong enough to withstand a Cohen-sized dog. Ours is pretty trashed, and Lola's around 14lbs. The stretchiness of the lunge is nice, though.

    The easiest way is to get a length of PVC pipe, run a rope through it, knot it at one end of the pipe and tie a toy to the other end of the rope.