Monday, August 11, 2008

A-frame box update

We gave it another go with the pvc box on the ground at the agility field today. The problem last time we tried this was that the box disappeared in the grass. So, I attached a little sponge at each corner thinking that would help raise it and make it more visible. Well, while the piddly little sponges make it perfectly visible on the living room carpet, they do next to nothing in the grass. So, back to the drawing board; I'll have to put a few sponges on each corner I guess. Oh and the other problem that we don't have at home on the living room carpet is I can't throw our usual treats in the grass because they disappear and it takes Lucy forever to find them. Ok, so our action plan is to (1) find a way to raise the frame a bit higher off the ground so it doesn't get swallowed up in the grass, and (2) find some large, light-coloured treats for throwing.

As the days get shorter and the end of green fee season starts to approach, I concede that Lucy's frame retraining will not be finished this year. Heck we've barely started it! So, my plan is to really get the groundwork part of it down pat over the fall and winter and next spring be ready to put it to the equipment. Trialing-wise, I'm encouraged by following the current thread on the Clean Run mailing list about Rachel Sanders' pvc box method: it's ok to keep trialing as long as you're still on the groundwork part of it. It's once you start putting the box on the frame that it's a good idea to take some time out from doing frames in trials.

Check out Emily Snider's You Tube videos for some neat footage of her border collie's progress with the pvc box method. Here's her most recent frame training video:


Elf said...

Freeze dried liver treats are large and white so should be easy to see. Some people here use meatballs from Costco (I think), just broken into slightly smaller chunks than the whole meatball; I guess the smell gets the dog right to them.

If you make your pvc box with corner pieces that have a riser connection (so there are 3 tubes--one at a right angle to the other two and with threads), you can then just use various sizes of inexpensive screw-in plastic risers. They make them as short as a couple of inches and as tall as a foot or more. Go to the irrigation department at Home Depot (or maybe a better hardware store) and tell them about this and they should be able to help you find the pieces or similar ones.

Other than that, you could just take pieces of cardboard and fold them in half (so they make sort of a tiny a-frame) and use one of those at each corner. Height varies with the size of the cardboard.

Probably lots of ways like that to get it up 2 or 3 or 4 inches.

LucyandWalter said...

Yeah, freeze dried liver would work. I've since tried cheese and that works too; it can be cut into long but thin pieces easily visible in the grass.

When I bought the pvc, the guy at the store looked at me like I was crazy when I described the corner pieces I had seen in the magazine (or your blog - one or the other!). I should really go to a specialty store rather than a big box as I'm sure they would have them.

Cardboard would be a cheap alternative too. So thanks, these suggestions will help. Now I just need to drag my lazy butt off the couch and get to it!