()
I was in Target earlier and saw some tiny agility gear - a very low ramp, a very short tunnel, etc. Are those toys for the average dog owner or are they actually useful?

(In the meantime we're on Impaction Watch here at home. Cinder and Image and I got back from a run this morning to find that Crow had opened the doorknob on the door to the downstairs bathroom (she's the only of my dogs who can do that) and let herself in, and Eclipse followed her. The door swung shut behind them and since Crow hasn't (yet) figured out how to open a door towards her they were locked in, during which time among other things one or both of them ate about 1/3 of a roll of toilet paper. I imagine they'll be fine but this is one of those keep-a-weather-eye situations.)

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
@panix2.panix.com:
() I was in Target earlier and saw some tiny agility gear - a very low ramp, a very short tunnel, etc. Are those toys for the average dog owner or are they actually useful?

I saw those! I was shopping for cleaning supplies yesterday, and they were on an end-cap by the paper towels. Anyway, they seemed awfully small, and just a little bit weird. I know bupkis about agility, but little orange mesh "cones" for weaves?
during which time among other things one or both of them ate about 1/3 of a roll of toilet paper. I imagine they'll be fine but this is one of those keep-a-weather-eye situations.)

Yikes! Fingers and paws crossed for a swift and uneventful passing of the TP.

Shelly
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
(In the meantime we're on Impaction Watch here at home. Cinder and Image and I got back from a run ... opened the doorknob on the door to the downstairs bathroom (she's the only of my dogs who can do that)

I'm reminded of the Far Side cartoon..."Knowing how it could change their lives, dogs struggled to understand the doorknob principle."
and let herself in, and Eclipse followed her. The door swung shut behind them and since Crow hasn't (yet) figured ... 1/3 of a roll of toilet paper. I imagine they'll be fine but this is one of those keep-a-weather-eye situations.)

Yikes!
Today while walking Peanut, he pooped something bright red that we thought at first was blood...then remembered the red hand towel with a perfectly circular hole in it that we found last night.

Um, hope everything comes out all right.

Bright eyes/burning like fire,           > Kevin Michael Vail Bright eyes/how can you close and fail?  > (Email Removed) How can the light that shone so brightly > . . . . . . . . . . Suddenly shine so pale?/Bright eyes      >  . . . . . . . . .
() I was in Target earlier and saw some tiny agility gear - a very low ramp, a very short tunnel, etc. Are those toys for the average dog owner or are they actually useful?

I haven't seen them but DH saw them advertised on TV. I haven't seen them advertised to serious agility people.
I suspect it's kind of mixed bag as to how they get used. Our first practice tunnel came from ToyRUs. It was about eight feet long - and Spenser made it his job to install windows along the way. Our breeder always has a tunnel in her living room for the dogs. Sometimes they run through it, sometimes they sleep in it. (And I bought one - padded with crinkly stuff - for DD's cats.
When you are training, some people start with downsized equipment. WAY downsized - as in the dogwalk might be completely on the floor and then get raised up very slowly. And a lot of people don't have outside room for agility equipment.
I have mixed feelings about people getting this stuff and thinking that they can train their dog to do agility on their own. Instead, they can create some really bad habits - assuming that they ever want to go on and do the real thing.
OTOH, I figure it's a case of Diane's credo - Play With Your Dog. Anything that gets people interacting and playing with their dogs can't be a bad thing.
I have a book of agility cartoons - one of them shows the creative uses for indoor agility equipment. The horizontal on the dogwalk becomes a mantle. The tire jump is a frame. The table is, well, a table. I don't think it shows weave poles but obviously they would be clothes racks.
Judy
Spenser - Carbor Talk of the Town, MX, AXJ, NF
Sassy - Can CH Carbor Back Talk, OA, AXJ
I suspect it's kind of mixed bag as to how they get used.

When I saw the things that are supposed to be for weaves my immediate reaction was that that would be useful for gee-haw training (I've been mowing paths out in the field, with various kinds of intersections, but you can't move those around and surprise the dogs). Then I realized that that was actually a pretty stupid idea and that if I wanted to do something like that I'd be better off with much sturdier traffic cones.
Our first practice tunnel came from ToyRUs. It was about eight feet long - and Spenser made it his job ... through it, sometimes they sleep in it. (And I bought one - padded with crinkly stuff - for DD's cats.

This tunnel was very short - maybe 4', probably less. I could see where that would be useful for introducing dogs to the equipment. Towards the end of one of Emmett's obedience classes the instructor, who's mostly an agility person, introduced some agility equipment. Emmett's fearless in dealing with natural obstacles but this artificial stuff frightened him and she had to shorten the tunnel down to a couple of feet before he'd go through it the first time.
OTOH, I figure it's a case of Diane's credo - Play With Your Dog. Anything that gets people interacting and playing with their dogs can't be a bad thing.

I wonder if it's a sign that people are doing more with their dogs. I don't think companies like that take a lot of risks and they surely do their market research homework. But as I said, I was really surprised.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
"Judy" (Email Removed) said in
When you are training, some people start with downsized equipment. WAY downsized - as in the dogwalk might be completely on the floor and then get raised up very slowly. And a lot of people don't have outside room for agility equipment.

This is the way I'd prioritize equipment:
1. A stick-in-the-ground pole.This is what I'll start May on (maybe a Rubbermaid stool, too). There's a ton of flatwork that can be done with no equipment at all, the pole moves it up a notch.
2. A jump.Continue with the above pole work, add things like send-outs.
3. A second jump.Sequencing, patterns, better send-outs.
4. A 4 foot piece of board.Foundation work for contacts.
5. Weave poles.Maybe they should be higher priority because dogs can lose interest in them, so having them at home allows multiple really short training sessions.
None of that takes up a lot of room and is inexpensive. While I'd love to have contact equipment (my yard is big enough), I'd have to cut down fruit trees. That ain't gonna happen.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.