a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Part 1 of Packing for an Agility Weekend, Then and Now

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Part 1 of Packing for an Agility Weekend, Then and Now

SUMMARY: First in a series comparing my 1996 gear to my 2010 gear, and transitions between.

I got to thinking about all the Dog Stuff that I now own, carry around with me without thinking about it, and/or load into the car routinely, that back in 1995 I'd never thought about that, in 1996 when I attended my first competitions, looked entirely different from what it looks like now.

My list of topics is so long, I think I'll break it into several posts over the next few days. This is Part 1. This could be a continuing series as I think of things I've got now but didn't then, had then but don't know, or tried in between and abandoned.

  • Then--Just one, Remington, my pet dog who made a decent agility dog some of the time.
  • Now--Two dogs (Tika and Boost), both obtained specifically with agility in mind.

  • Then--My grown-up luxury sedan, my four-door Acura Legend. I got an amazing amount of stuff into it, but when I decided I wanted a 3rd dog and a canopy, it was right out.
  • Now--Minivan, MUTT MVR. I bought it for only one reason: Hauling dogs and their gear around.
Dogs in vehicle:
  • Then--Rem sat in the front seat and watched the world go by. After a year or so of that, I bought seatbelt harnesses at the SPCA. They proved to be pretty flimsy, in retrospect. When I read friend Holly's post on good harnesses, I bought two sturdy ones (for Rem and Jake at that time).
  • Now--When I got my 3rd dog (Tika) and my minivan, she began riding in a crate right away. Jake and Rem continued using their harnesses until they passed away. Boost and Tika now both have their own crates strapped into MUTT MVR.
Hauling stuff to and from the vehicle:
  • Then--We had a red metal dolly that could convert from a furniture-moving upright to a 4-wheel thingie. Tiny wheels, tiny dolly, very heavy and very difficult to move across, say, gravel or grass. I scoped out what was available over several years.I love the huge metal carts in brilliant powder-coated colors with huge wheels and folding handle, but they are huge and I don't have a lot of room, plus they are expensive. The basic wire or tubular crate-sized carts that people pull don't work well with my problem back & shoulders and the wheels aren't the best over rough terrain.
  • Now--I saw the light when a friend showed up with a light-weight folding dolly with an extra-deep shelf. That was what I wanted! But also expensive. I was delighted when, at a flea market one weekend, I found a guy selling his, nearly new, for practically nothing. (Looks something like this.) Have used this for several years now.
Where to put the dog at the trial:
  • Then--I didn't own a crate and didn't think I wanted to. At my first seminar, I planned on just putting Rem in a chair like I did in class. But when I arrived--everyone else had a crate or an x-pen! Doh! I think the instructor loaned me an x-pen and noted that my leash/chair plan wouldn't work at a trial. So I went out and bought a huge x-pen "so he could move around." It was really heavy and space-consuming in my Legend.
  • Now--Each dog has her own zippered soft crate (purple, black, and teal). Each cost considerably more than the x-pen, but combined they are so much lighter and so much easier to store and move around, and the dogs are generally happier than they are in the x-pen. (Read how my dog converted me to crate use.)
Clips and bungies:
  • Then--Oh, yeah, we had the usual pile of random long bungies in a box in the garage. After a couple of trials, I started taking the box with me for the trial, futzing with long bungies, then putting the box away afterwards.  I saw that people had metal clips that they used for various things, and we had a couple of old metal clips in the garage that I'd likewise borrow for the weekend.
  • Now--I have a bag full of metal and plastic clips of various sizes (some even blue and purple) that I've bought through the years and stay exclusively with my dog stuff. Same thing when I discovered loop bungies: have a whole bunch of different lengths on a clip, and some straight bungies (purple) that I bought specifically to go with my dog stuff.

1 comment:

  1. gosh - that's quite a way to record the journey ;)

    I'm still at stage one pretty much but suspect i'm getting more to stage two than I realize ;)