A great way for your children to have fun with your dog!
Given that we are not travelling because of COVID-19, I wanted to find a game to play with Roxy at home. So I was thrilled when I found this indoor dog agility game! And it’s also a great activity for you and your children to do with your dog! So let me tell you all about it!
The Outward Hound Dog Zip and Zoom Indoor Agility Kit
I was very happy to discover that this dog game is made by the same company as the Dog Hide N Slide puzzle. I previously told you about that excellent dog brain game. So I trust this brand because they design safe and fun games for dogs!
I came across this agility kit while searching online for dog games. And what grabbed my attention was they have both an indoors and an outdoors option! Since my backyard faces south, summer is generally too hot for Roxy to play this game outside. And when it rains, outdoor play is not very enticing to either of us! Plus, I wanted to have another game I can play with Roxy anytime of year. So the indoor option was ideal for us!
Smaller dogs only
But take note that this dog game is well suited only for small dogs, the size of a mini-poodle or smaller. This is because of the jump-bar pole width and the tunnel height. Larger dogs won’t fit through these sections of the game. However, Outward Hound also has an outdoor dog agility kit that appears to be suitable for both small and big dogs. And all of the agility activities training that I will discuss apply to the outdoor option as well.
This dog agility game can be stored in its own carry bag
A picture of all the parts
I bought this agility kit on Amazon. And the entire kit arrived inside the square vinyl bag that you can see in this picture. So the idea is that everything can be stored neatly in the carry bag when you and your dog are not using it! But after I had removed all of the parts and opened the rectangle tunnel, I was not able to refold the tunnel to fit back inside the tote. I was afraid to risk breaking the tunnel’s wired structure. But not to worry, I found another solution! And I will share more about it later in this blog.
This agility game is portable. Great for family trips!
My main reason to try out this dog agility game was to find another indoor activity Roxy and I could do together. However, I was excited to discover it is also portable. My husband and I are hoping that we can take Roxy to a cottage again this summer! Although travel is not currently possible due to COVID-19, we have hope!
And you may also be planning to take the kids and your dog somewhere in the summer. So this compact kit will easily fit into the car along with your luggage. It will be great to know you have a family activity you can do with your dog indoors, especially on rainy days.
Here’s how this indoor dog agility game works
Step#1: You need to set up the parts
Below is a video to show you how easy it is to assemble the parts. And in order to keep the video to a short duration, I had pre-assembled most of the poles. You will see the example of how I attached two poles to their base. That is exactly what you would need to do for all of the poles except for the one that you place as a jump-bar. You’ll see what I mean when you watch this video.
Watch this video to see how to assemble the parts
How to assemble the indoor dog agility game
Step#2: Begin training your dog how to master this dog agility game!
I began training Roxy by luring her with a treat to show her what to do.
And for each activity I used the following words:
- “Weave” to zig-zag between the poles
- “Over” to go over the jump-bar
- “Tunnel” to walk through the tunnel
But you can use any words for each activity that you may prefer. You just need to consistently say the same word for each section every time you play this game with your dog. Otherwise, she will likely get confused.
Watch this video to see how I started training Roxy
Train at your dog’s pace
You will notice in the video that I gave Roxy her treat only after she came through the tunnel. That’s because she proceeded through the entire obstacle course in the correct direction without touching any of the poles! But you might need to train your dog in smaller increments.
For example, your dog could walk in the wrong direction when weaving through the poles. In that case, you may need to provide the treat after each pole that she weaves through correctly. Or, it might be necessary to train her for the poles, jump and tunnel separately. You and your dog will maximize enjoyment and achievement when you proceed at the pace that suits your dog’s understanding and temperament. Then she will succeed to master the complete obstacle course.
Note: you will see that I have placed the jump-bar on a large floor mat. That’s because our floor is quite slippery. So the mat created a much safer texture for Roxy to jump and land. You should make sure to assemble the jump section on a non-slip surface. This will prevent your dog from injury.
What should you do if your dog makes a mistake?
It’s important to reward your pet for right behaviour so as not to reinforce a mistake. For example, if you are training on poles, and she weaves through without touching them, reward her. However, if your dog touches a pole, simply stop the training immediately without giving a treat. And say “uh oh!” or “oops” (in a friendly tone of voice). Then, whatever section you are training on, go back and begin again.
Any mistakes, when treated this way, will yield results over time and keep it fun for your dog. Remember to be consistent. Even if your dog doesn’t follow the direction in which you lured her, you need to stop. Just as you would if she had touched a pole. Then follow the same corrective procedure as above.
How often do you need to train?
Once you begin training your dog, you need to practice at least twice a week so that eventually she will learn to do the activities with verbal cues only, with no need for a treat lure.
This indoor dog agility game course is very versatile!
Once she understands and obeys the original three words you give to the poles, jump, and tunnel, you can work towards using a different verbal cue that means she is to complete the entire agility course in one continuous action. For instance, you could use the word “go”. Alternatively, you can choose to teach your dog to complete only one section at a time, then stop and wait for you to give the next verbal cue before she moves to the next activity.
Also, depending on how creative you are feeling and the configuration of your home, you can change the arrangement of the parts to revise the obstacle course. Perhaps you can place the poles in a half circle or some other shape rather than just in a straight line. Or maybe you will want your dog to start the course by going through the tunnel, then weave through the poles, and end by jumping over the bar. All these variations are such great brainwork for your pet!
Plus as she becomes more proficient, and depending on her size and physical ability to jump, you can very gradually raise the level of the jump-bar to challenge your dog further!
So, this indoor dog agility game is multiple games in one!
It is exciting to know that once you have trained your dog, you can then teach your children all of these cues and safety rules. Or, you can train your dog with your children’s help from the beginning. No matter how you approach it, this agility game will provide excellent teachable moments for both the children and your pet. A caution: it goes without saying that when young children play the game with your dog independently, you will want to remain nearby so you can keep an ear out for the proper cues and safety considerations.
Instructions on how to disassemble the parts
To disassemble the kit, you simply separate the poles from the blue bases. And then you can place all the parts back into the the carry bag in which it arrived.
But as I mentioned at the start of this blog, I could not fold the tunnel small enough to fit back into that bag.
There was a problem with fitting the tunnel back into the carry bag
So I contacted Outward Hound and asked them if they could provide me with a video to demonstrate how to fold the tunnel to fit back into the carry bag. However, they only sent me a PDF file with instructions.
Below find the printed instructions that I received from Outward Hound in case you end up buying this product and find these instructions helpful.
Instructions to fold the tunnel to fit back into the carry bag:
But even though I tried my best to follow the instructions, I still could not fold the tunnel small enough to fit inside the carry bag without straining the wired structure. And to be honest, I even asked my husband to try and he couldn’t figure it out either. So these instructions were not helpful. However, I was always able to easily collapse it and just fold it flat as shown in the above “picture of all the parts”. But, it remained too large to fit into the tote.
Storage of the indoor dog agility game is otherwise well designed
Nevertheless, despite the fact the tunnel would not fit back into the storage bag, all other parts of this dog agility game did. And the flat, thin shape of the tunnel when collapsed means you can easily tuck it behind or under furniture, or lay it flat under items for travel in your vehicle.
So in summary, I am very happy that I bought this indoor dog agility kit because it is a versatile game that can be played all year round! Plus it’s convenient to store and will be easy to pack into the car for future road trips! And once your dog is trained, you and your family can have endless fun doing the obstacle course with your dog!
Your dog happiness coach, Judy
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