Safety first… and platform construction

I’m glad people enjoyed my Winter Fun Day blog post! But… years of time spent with physical therapists (for both me and my dogs) has sharpened my eyes to potential safety concerns.

So you should know that I ran the girls around our plowed driveway a bit so they could warm up their muscles before heading to the fields. I’ve learned from past dogs who’ve strained muscles when leaping through deep snow, so I limited their snow play. We quit while they still had plenty of energy – tired dogs tend to injure themselves.

Once inside, notice that when I released each girl for her toy (I release them on their names), their platforms flew backwards – another potential source of injury. Once I realized what was happening, I moved the gates and pushed the platforms against the wall. My outdoor platform for field/agility is a much heavier wooden model that doesn’t budge.

For those wondering where to get those spiffy platforms, they’re easy to make:


  • 1″ solid foam insulation (can use the thicker stuff if you want a taller platform but the 1″ is easy to cut)
  • yoga mat (I get inexpensive ones from close-out stores)
  • construction adhesive
  • duct tape

Cut the insulation to the dimensions you would like, cut the mats to fit top and bottom and glue them on with the adhesive. Once dry, secure the sides with duct tape.

Have fun playing/training with your dogs!



Winter Fun Day

Today we had a snow day! Record snowfalls closed down the city, including the college where I teach. Here’s a little video of our day. The “training” part comes at the end, showing how platforms are terrific for teaching and reinforcing impulse control. Platforms are so useful to teach “stay in your place” – applications include obedience stays, agility start lines, steadying for retriever field trials/hunt tests – and games for energetic Labs with cabin fever!

Training Ruby (2 years later) Building an Awesome Go-out!

It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve posted to my blog! Now with an updated computer and a better internet connection, I hope to post somewhat more often :*).

Ruby is now 2 years old and we’re having a blast training in obedience, agility and field.

This video is a quickie summary showing some of the steps I trained to build Ruby’s go-outs. I’m really pleased with how she’s coming along!