Thursday, June 10, 2010

Six Cone Rally - Practice #1

I'll spare you the suspense - as originally implemented, my idea didn't work...

... at least not well.

The original idea was to set out six cones, in a cross-shape, so that I could utilize the space in my long, narrow backyard to practice Rally Novice exercises.

On our maiden voyage, I drafted a "course" that used just the 8 Rally exercises I'm working on this week (see the picture on the right - click on it to see it larger.)

"Stationary Exercises" are displayed in blue in the list on the right, the little orange cones show where you will be performing the exercise (list on the left) and the cone picture with all the numbers diagrams the pattern you should be walking.

Seemed like a good idea.

I printed it out, folded it in half lengthwise, folded it again (so I could just see #1-7), laid out the cones, grabbed a dog (Beau) some cookies (Zukes) and I was ready.

Lesson #1: My yard is not wide enough. Even with the cones spaced 6-7 feet apart, there still wasn't room to maneuver the big dog around without knocking cones over - and having already earned his RN title, he is familiar with both the exercises and cones. When I trotted Zachary out there, it got even worse. While he is quite flexible and nimble, he is also more likely to jump around, and therefore he knocked over even more cones than Beau did.

Lesson #2: Pick up the playing field before you begin to play, if you catch my meaning.

Lesson #3: Try to have an even surface to work on, or at least heavier cones to work with. The breeze from Beau's tail was enough to topple my wimpy soccer cones on lumpy grass (next time I'm breaking out the heavy-duty CalTrans cones!) It was also no good to have to go from grass to brick to grass, but as hubby would frown on major yard demolition just for an experiment, we had to make do.

Final Analysis:

Actually, despite the doom and gloom above, I think it still might work.

It's not going to work in my backyard, but if I move it to the front yard, I can increase cone spacing to 8-9' (at least for most cones) and that just might be far enough apart.

I think the layout of my "map" was actually pretty good, I didn't have any problems following it, nor did I have an problems holding it, the cookies, and the clicker. Unfortunately, moving to the front yard will mean the addition of a leash, but as a leash is required for Rally Novice, that was going to have to happen at some point anyway.

The biggest down side is that my neighbors will look at me even more strangely than they already do, but some things just can't be helped.

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