Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Farm Dog Agility

Maizy did a "Intro to Agility" class when she was about eight months old. She got to go on some low contact obstacles, like the dog walk, jump teeny "jumps", practice her wait on the table and whip through tunnels. She absolutely loved it and I did too. Unfortunately, a lack of money (thanks horses) means Maizy and I are out of luck when it comes to real agility training, at least for now.

In the meantime, we do what I call "Farm Dog Agility". This is a great example of using your environment to your advantage - you don't need all the fancy gimmicks when training your dog, though they are sometimes nice to have! I am lucky that I have access to a full set of equine jumps, which gives me a bit of an advantage. However, Maizy and I also do "City Dog Agility" which involves jumping over low walls, balancing on benches, weaving through trees, ect. We have even found tunnels to practice with in local parks!

Maizy's 5 Rules for Farm Dog Agility

So, you want to get into Farm Dog Agility? Here are the "rules" as described by Maizy:

1. Your human's directions are, at best, a suggestion. You may find that your time may be better spent doing the "Squirrel Chase" movement instead of the "Jump Over Things" movement. Trust your dog instincts: you know what you need to work on most. Ignore your human's yells of "GET OVER HERE" whenever possible.

Did you say "Come!?" JK I don't care.

2. You get extra points for getting super dirty. The dirtier and wetter the better.

You get extra points for being really wet and dirty.

3. The swimming phase of Farm Dog Agility should only be done in dirty water. Again, the dirtier, the better. Help your human get in on the fun by shaking off all over them - they will scream with delight.

The bigger the splash the better.

4. Jump all the things! This part is the most fun, though you do have to listen to your human for direction here. However, be sure to keep them humble by occasionally pointedly ignoring them: "Sit? I have no idea what that means. Never heard that word before in my life." If you are a Springer, be sure to excitedly bite your human after a jump, they love it. 

Don't I look adorable? 

5. The "cross country" phase also great fun. Here you get to run and jump over natural obstacles. Additional points for carrying a stick while you do it. 

Going down a bank is a traditional obstacle.

Finally, this is not a rule but rather a piece of advice. Do not let mean corgis steal your sticks. I am posting this horrifying photo so you are all aware of the danger:

Watch out for thieving corgis. That stick was mine! 

When you have completed your Farm Dog Agility course, it is important to hydrate and have a snack. Preferably your human will take to Tim Hortons for a well deserved TimBit. 

Those are the basics of Farm Dog Agility. Remember these 5 rules and you are sure to succeed.

Love and Dog Kisses,


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