I learned a new thing on the way home from Maryland last month. I love it when that happens, especially when it makes me a better dog mom and a better trainer. It was the start of December and a little snowy. As I looked out my hotel window I noticed a playground about 200 feet from my room. It was cold and I knew my agility nut dog would love a romp in the playground. There was a see-saw, some swings, and a nice slide, also some chin-up bars which substituted for weave poles if you used the uprights. It was the middle of winter so the chance of running into children was basically non-existent. It taught me a lot about improvisation and flexibility. It was late and getting dark, but I had the course in mind for the morning.
We all sit in the car eight to ten hours a day on our many cross country jaunts. It’s important to get good fast timely exercise and this impromptu agility session was perfect. I checked the equipment without my dog before we went out there in case something was broken or hazardous. I didn’t want to disappoint her if we couldn’t do it. I knew she’d be excited when she got out there. Once everything was approved I went and got her. We warmed up with some stretches, and got us both ready to work out our cold bones. We started with some basic cues: “sits”, “downs”, “puppy push-ups”, some “heels” around the equipment. We did some “watch me’s”. Then we were ready. We did many “teeters” and some weaves between the uprights. The slide was metal and I’m sure cold, so we just used it as a quick stop off, a pause table. A nice park bench for some “walk-its”, then back to the teeter. We spent a good fifteen to twenty minutes on the agility course and I put a satisfied, tired nine year old in the car for the four hour last leg of our trip home. She slept all the way home. It was easy and quick and I’m sure there are many agility courses out there waiting for us and our travelin’ dogs.