Our new Agility Practice Tunnel Arrives Tomorrow!

  • Last week I bought an 18' x 24" Diameter Agility tunnel online. They tunnel I bought is blue, has stakes to keep it from rolling, and is make from 600 Denier nylon material.

    Since Roo is now about 14 months old, its time to start training. I have been lucky enough to find a person that trains dogs for agility in my local area. Although she has never trained a Basenji in Agility she is more than willing to help me learn and train Roo. By the way her husband has a degree in Animal nutrition from the University of Illinois and they run a Doggie Daycare that is attached to my Vets Office. We also buy our food from them.

    I did buy one of the Barons books on Agility training so I am in the process of reading that also. I am sure that book will be the first of many.

    I have been training Roo in Obedience since he was a puppy. He understands the words Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, Lay Down, Down, and Up. I also have been teaching hand signals along with the commands so I can just point and he will sit for me. Of course he is not perfect so we will have to continue to constantly work on Obedience training. I also have trained Roo to jump through a hoop.

    The trainer suggested that we start with 1/2 hour private lessons that will cost about $20 each. I thought that was reasonable. She told me that she usually works the dogs through 3 obstacles which they have set up in the back of their Doggie Daycare.

    I asked her about buying some of my own equipment so I can start some of the training at home and she thought that would be ok because she will not be able to get with me for another month or so.

    The book I have has plans how to build several things like weave poles, jumps, and more.

    I have watched agility on TV several times but I have never attended a real event. I hope to do so sometime this summer.

    For those of you that have already trained your Basenji or another Breed or dog in agility, is a tunnel something good to start with?

    What would you say was the hardest thing to teach your dog?

    Are there common mistakes made by novices like myself that I need to be aware of?

    I plan to only use a positive method of training like I always have practiced with Roo and the other dogs I have trained in the past. Any hints and advice would be appreciated.


  • Good for you Jason! I am really looking forward to hearing about yours and Roo's future agility successes. 🙂

    Yes, the tunnel is a nice easy obstacle to learn on. Keep it short and scrunched up and straight for a while to build his confidence. (Sometimes when it's long or curved and it's dark inside, it's scary.) You can have someone help you hold Roo at one end in the opening, and you stand at the other end looking at him through the hole and calling him too you. Once he's comfortable with the tunnel and knows the command you can do all sorts of things with it. It would also be easy to build a couple PVC jumps for your backyard. They don't take up a lot of space and are very portable.

    The hardest things to learn are probably the teeter, becuase it's narrow and wobbly, and the weaves because they take a lot of focus and concentration. I would invest in some weave poles for home because that will be something you'll need to practice often too. lol There are several different methods of weave poles and different ways to learn them, so you might want to get with your instructor first to see how you guys will learn together before deciding which to build/buy.

    Remember to take your time learning everything, keep the sessions short, and have fun! And don't forget your sense of humor, because the Basenjis are good at showing that. 🙂

    Mojo says go Roo!

  • I took Nicky through 2 agility classes (3 months each class) and she really excelled…at first. She was fearless, loved the walk, A-frame and teeter. For us the weave poles were where we slowed almost to a stop! She never got the idea to dart through them, she plodded along...slower, and slower. At 'matches' in class everyone would be laughing at us, said it looked like we were doing it in slow motion. We never really competed as she obviously was liking it less and less. She also started going around jumps, though she could jump with ease. But it sure was fun! And as she was so fearless we were usually the 'demo dog' for class.
    Go for it and have fun!

  • I do worry about the weave poles and the teeter so I hope we get past that.

  • How are you doing with this?

  • I love watching the b's do agility.
    Always good for a laugh.
    I can't wait to see your b weaving…you will share a video yes?

  • Arlene, we set up the tunnel in our house and of course we have not issues there. Roo loves to run through things and under things. I have not started lessons with him yet although I did stop in and ask her husband when and the trainer is supposed to call me soon. I am going to build my own weave poles and a few other pieces of gear as we go. Hopefully I will get my weave poles done this next month. It was suggested that I first put them in a V type shape so I get Roo used to walking through them and then slowly bring them up right as he learns and gets more comfortable. This advice came from the trainer's husband who by the way also has a degree in animal nutrition from the University of IL. From what he told me after we get some basics, they have a fenced in area at their home about 20 miles out of Champaign IL where they have a full set up for agility training and practice.

    Sorry we are going slow but life sometimes get in the way.

    Jason and Miranda

  • Hey, that's the way things go! Sometimes slow and steady wins the race. If you look on the internet, there are some very inventive people in how they are building their agility equipment. I've built some of my own as well. I know of one gentleman who took an old door, crashed the window out, and used it as well. Good luck and let me know how you do.

  • We are also working on getting our yard fenced once the drainage issues and River Bank Erosion that was caused by the building of a house next door and altering the Drainage across my property is fixed. Once that is done we hope to go to 6 foot plastic fence panels and then we will have a fenced space to set up and practice outside. Since we live on a riverbank with lot of critters, birds, and other animals around, at that point I will get an good idea of how much of an attention problem I am going to have. I have to laugh at myself now, because when my children were little I put up a play ground for them. Now that my Basenji is little, I am putting up a Playground for him too.


  • Well, isn't he your little boy too? Only the best for the Babies!

  • We had our first meeting with our agility training teacher today. Even though we had a lite drizzle this morning, I was able to meet to the agility person that is going to be training us.

    After looking Roo over and watching his behavior we did a couple of simple things.

    First we did a very low jump. We did this several times. Of course Roo being the chow hound that he is did just fine with it. The trainer wants me to practice doing this with Roo with him on both the right and left side of me. She said to limit the jumps to 8 inches right now and that it was not important to go fast.

    The next thing we did was the Tire Jump. Again Roo had no issue with this. I told the trainer that I have been working with him with a hula hoop. A while back I made a connection with a person that trains circus dogs. In fact her husband is an elephant trainer. The Circus trainer gave me a few tips on how to teach my dogs to jump through hoops, waltz and sit pretty. I have been able to use her suggested techniques with great success and Roo went right through the tire over and over. The agility trainer wants me to start saying Tire out loud to Roo when I want him to jump through it. She says this way he will start to associate the word with the obstacle.

    The next thing we did was see if Roo would go on the A frame. While this is not normally something this trainer starts with, I told her that when Roo was a puppy, I put one of the boards that I use to load my riding lawn mower into the trailer with between our front porch and the grass. Roo had no issue walking up that board when he was a very young puppy, but I had taken it up and put it away as he got older. Well I guess Roo impressed her because he got on the A Frame and got all 4 feet on the board and actually walked up it a few feet. Since this is all about comfort zone as the height increases Roo did very well for his first time.

    So all in all she felt that Roo did ok. When I asked her about practicing she said about 10 mins a day. I let her know that this was the way I have been training Roo but normally after I walk him 3 miles. Then we spend 10-15 mins max training on a daily basis. That is really enough time for any dog to train.

    It will be interesting to see if Roo is going to be able to handle the Teeter and the weave poles. I am really trying to go along with the trainer and work on the things she wants me to and not jump a head and sometimes that is really difficult.


  • Sound like great fun for you and Roo….

  • I'm sure Roo will do fine. Zest says in order to do the weaves, it's important to hold your tongue right.

    Those are her weave poles. I asked hubby for a six pole set (because I got tired of separating the 12 pole set), so he made a set and decided they should be pink for the princess. I call it Eukanuba pink and tell her we're practicing for the Invitational <gg>.

    Have fun!</gg>

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