This is the first post in the 2015 A to Z Challenge, and I’m really excited.
I thought I would have difficulty decided how to start and which word I will be using for A, but this post actually came pretty quickly. I bought an agility kit for QQ last year and I’ve been meaning to do a review about it for awhile, so it ties in neatly with the first post of the challenge.
A is for the Agility Kit!
We have been wanting to sign QQ up for agility classes for a long time. We took QQ to a pet store once that had an agility room. The ladies there kindly took him through some of the equipment and marveled at how quickly he learnt them. There’s also some agility equipment at a dog park we visit occasionally, we we taught QQ to go through it in 3 tries. It was clear he takes to it and he has so much fun doing it.
However, QQ’s reactivity issues made it very difficult for us to do so. The first school we tried had an evaluation requirement, and QQ did quite well for almost the entire evaluation, but he failed the last test when he growled and snapped at a fake dog the trainer brought out. We took him to observe a class at the second school, and he immediately began growling when we stepped into the room filled with dogs, and it was clear he won’t do well in the classroom environment. We have actually been walking him on leash around some outdoor obedience classes for the last few months in an effort to desensitize him, and he has been doing really well on those walks. This last weekend, the husband discovered that the school holding the outdoor classes in the park is starting to hold a agility-like class too, and we might finally be able to sign him up for a real agility class.
However, last year after trying two different schools and failing, I was in despair and thought it would be near impossible for him to go for any agility classes. I came across a ad in Coupaw for an indoor agility set selling for $30. I was attracted by the fact that it was an indoor set, as we do not have a yard to set up an outdoor set. I also thought that being an indoor set, it would be great to use to train QQ during rainy days when we cannot go out for walks. QQ is such a hyperactive dog that rainy days always seem especially difficult for us.
And so I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. Naturally, after I bought it, we didn’t use it for a really long time. I’m such a huge procrastinator. Given the choice between using the indoor agility kit and going for a hike, we naturally choose to go for a hike.
But recently we had a set of rainy days and we decided to break it out and give it a try.
I really like how compact the the packaging is. Everything fits within a yellow flat bag, so it’s easy to tuck away when it’s not in use.
The bag itself wasn’t large either. Here’s a photo of QQ with the bag for scale.
Okay, the bag is larger than QQ. But QQ is a relatively small dog!
And here are the contents of the bag.
It consisted of a tunnel, 7 sticks, 6 stands and two holders to form the adjustable jump. With this, you can create an obstacle course of weave poles, standard jump and tunnel.
This a couple of photos with everything set up.
I have to say, the quality of the equipment wasn’t good. The “tunnel” especially felt very much like a collapsible laundry basket without a bottom. The bases weren’t stable and easily fell over. The poles tended towards crookedness when set up. Everything was made out of very lightweight plastic.
However, for what it’s worth, it worked for our purpose. We easily set up the obstacle course and could train QQ to navigate it using treats. We made sure to set up the standard jump really low as we don’t want to exert QQ’s joints as he wasn’t 18 months old yet. QQ was originally unwilling to go through the tunnel, but after some luring, he was willing to scoot through. After a day though, he became comfortable enough that he even chose to lie down inside it when we left it up after training.
Here are some success videos!
And here’s one with Chyler acting as a distraction.
Our final verdict is that this agility kit is a good buy for us. It helped us get through two rainy days in a row this year and to do some agility training on our own. We can also set it up in various configurations to challenge QQ. Although the quality isn’t as good as we wish it was, it did do what it advertised. And I really like how we can pack it up and tuck it away, and it doesn’t even take up much space in the cupboard due to its slim packaging. Maybe people with large yards can make up their own agility courses with items around the house, but for people stuck indoors, this was $30 bucks well spent!