New Puppy Obstacle Course
My old puppy obstacle course rotted out so I tore it down and began making plans to build a new one. I planned to build it myself, something simple but of treated wood so it would last like the old one, which worked well for 25 years. I happened to mention it when my friend Marlene brought her husband, Bob, to play wit the puppies. Bob thought it sounded like great fun and volunteered to help, so after we wore out the puppies I showed him where it goes. He’s even excited about building me a swinging bridge between two sections!!! I have been dreaming of one for years. I took a sketch down to the lumber yard for one of the guys to figure out the sizes of the different parts so as to use lumber most efficiently and so I don’t buy more than I need. I am so excited!! A lot of my pups go for Search & Rescue, and some for agility, so I’m always trying to find better ways to imprint on them a verve for new things and an ability to use their bodies to conquer obstacles. This will be fantastic for them!
A friend was supposed to come play with puppies at 4 p.m. today but had a conflict arise. That gave me time to mow the big puppy pen (where the new obstacle course will go) and the three areas between it and the drive where the guys will haul in the obstacle course. After that I had just enough time to feed the puppies before showering and heading to Bob’s shop to help construct the puppy obstacle course. It turns out that Bob, who is a plumber, has a good friend, Steve, who is a carpenter and contractor with whom he often dogs jobs, and when he told Steve about his project, Steve volunteered to help. WOW! A superb carpenter has taken over doing the obstacle course. I can’t stop counting my blessings as now it will be a work of art instead of something I cobbled together with Bob’s help, neither of us being experts in carpentry.
The guys and Marlene started working on the project Wednesday night but I had obedience class and couldn’t go. They got the swinging bridge and four platforms constructed – two are 4′ x 4′ and 3′ high, while the other are 2′ x 2′ and 18: high. The high platforms will be connected by a swinging bridge, with a ramp to the ground on one end and my kiddie slide on the other. Parallel to that will be the lower platforms connected by a strip of plywood, with ramps going to the ground. (Bob is in the striped shirt and Steve in the blue t-shirt.)
Tonight (Friday) we added a third, middle strip to the wooden bridge, which finished it. Then we spent the rest of the evening constructing the ramps. Once the 2″ x 4″ supports were cut and fitted to the bottom of each plywood strip, the guys put Marlene to work: Marlene drilled holes and I put the screws in. Deborah stopped by to see the project and took some photos to add to those Marlene took Wednesday night. What great friends I’ve made through our little nosework training group! Our group began in April, when I started taking my young dogs to a variety of new areas and practicing searches like we would have in our nosework trial in May. In class we never set up a search area like we have in trials – a designated area, designated place to enter the area, and so on, and I wanted my youngsters to do well. People also taking nosework classes heard of what I was doing and asked to join me and learn what I was doing, one of whom was Deborah. At the trial, Deborah told others how helpful my group had been and they asked to join, including Marlene. Until the awful heat wave began, we met two to three times a week to train, and now that cooler weather had come we are planning to resume our training sessions. Meanwhile, Marlene has returned the favor tenfold by enlisting Bob to help me with the obstacle course! (No photos of Steve tonight; that’s Bob in the photos. Marlene and I both wore pink; I’m in the Peace Love Pets t-shirt).
Steve has to work tomorrow, but Bob only has to work a half day and then he and Marlene will haul the pieces here in the afternoon – with Marlene impatiently waiting for another puppy fix. Then Sunday all three will return and we’ll complete our carpentry part of the project. All the platforms and ramps will be covered with agility matting for traction. It’s ordered but won’t be here until Monday or Tuesday. I am so very grateful for these good friends who gave so much of their time to do this for me. Bob & Steve had put in a hard day’s work both Wednesday and Friday and then put in another 2 – 3 hours in the evening to build my obstacle course. That’s something!!!! I, of course, had no idea how complicated this would be. My original one was an old redwood picnic table with pieces of old plywood nailed onto it for ramps, with firewood and other stuff supporting. This is top class!!!!!!
I didn’t get home until nearly 9 and the puppies were again irritated at no cuddle time when I fed them, checked on them, set a sprinkler, and left them for 30 minutes before putting Spirit back in with them. It was a beautiful evening so I didn’t shut them in the puppy yard but left the gate open to the big adjacent yard. I felt bad about not giving the puppies a lot of time today but I was exhausted and still had to rotate three groups of big dogs for their 30 minute cuddle sessions. I made it to bed at 11.