a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Box Work

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Box Work

SUMMARY: In which I take advice to heart.

Dog agility is all about teamwork and communication. (In prior posts I might have suggested that it's all about the clothing, or the food, but in reality it's all about teamwork and communication. Today, anyway.)

Several people have suggested lately that what I really need is just basic box work with my dogs. I'm always big on taking good advice, and although box work can be a little tedious, still, I figured I ought to put in a little time on it. And I figured I'd videotape it and share it with you.

You can see that Boost needs more work on this than Tika does. (oops, in video, I say it's 2006 but it's not--it's 2008.)

You agility folks--I couldn't resist. You nonagility folks--well--

Addendum 5 p.m.: After you've watched the video, see my Comment (4th one) for a genuine useful training observation.


  1. now THAT's good BOX WORK!

    (you're a goofball... but so am I, so please accept my congratulations!)


  2. Here I was looking forward to a rare Taj MuttHall training video, when all of a sudden I found myself laughing myself silly! Thanks for that.

    BTW, have I told you how JEALOUS I am of you having a full set of equipment in your own dang yard? Fruit trees of all kinds, agility toys galore, what more could a person want? :-)

  3. What more? How about a little more space so I could put the obstacles 20 feet apart instead of 10 feet? And so there could be more than one place in the yard where I could set up the dogwalk? But I know I shouldn't get greedy...

    I added equipment gradually from 1995 on. Started with play tunnels from toys'r'us and pvc weave poles stuck over posts pounded into the ground. Finally worked up to Aframe and dogwalk in, I think, 2002 and 2003.


  4. Steph asked via email:
    Tika seems to know what she's supposed to do and seems to mostly want to do what she's supposed to do. Boost, on the other hand, seems to be a little ADD. :-) Is it a case of age or repetitions or ???

    I made the mistake of doing this outside for the first time in front of the camera. In the house, Boost is much better at it than Tika--goes in first time, all the way, every time, whereas Tika always wants to step back towards me once she's in and often leaves her back feet out.

    In rewatching the videos, I see that once I have the opportunity to say "Yes!" (which is a verbal "click"), all of a sudden Boost's little lightbulb goes on and from there on out she makes a more rational attempt at it.

    So this is a great example of how dogs don't generalize well ("my dog sits perfectly in the back yard and we do it all the time but as soon as we went to my mom's back yard, he acted like he didn't understand what I was talking about!")

  5. that is the funniest thing ever. Great!

  6. It was like the first time I read Maxim magazine in college. And there was no nudity. SHOW ME THE BOX WORK!

    Very amusing. You got me good.

  7. Although I was wondering how you were going to do it in such a tight space with the tunnels staring the dogs in the face. That probably should have tipped me off. But I was too excited about the FULL FRONTAL box work.