I had been thinking about how I was supposed to look at the Wonder Dogs ring with new eyes. I mean it was new to me when I got there so I looked at with new eyes then, but I kind of didn’t.
The first thing I noticed when I stepped into class was the padded floor. I have been involved in a lot of sports in my life time (softball, soccer, karate, dance, color guard, tennis, track, field, and archery) and all I could see when I first got there was a weight/fitness room adapted for dogs. The obstacles were like weight machines, the floors like padding, it even had a mirror (which Belle constantly stared into).
I wondered how I was going to get my lookings done, observing a space with fresh eyes, when I had so much imprinted on this space already. Enter the GoPro.
I did crawl on and in some of the obstacles. I mean I had to just to get Belle through some of them, but that was still my point of view, and really, I was just trying to get Belle through it I wasn’t really observing anything except for Belle’s sheer hatred of me putting her through all this.
But the GoPro really let me see her side of things. So I got to see how Belle really had to crouch inside the tunnel, because the camera got lower to the floor; I got to see that the jumps were right up to her chest, even though they look more like they are midway up her legs to me; I got to see that the A-frame is pretty high, even though I already sort of knew that because she runs over my head while she’s on that; and I saw just how little space she had on the dog walk.
I’m glad I strapped the GoPro to Belle’s front to get these shots. It gave me more of the obstacle than it did of Belle’s head, like when I first put it on her and walked her around my house.
In some of the footage of the tunnel, I can see Belle’s hesitation as she walks into the tunnel. The tunnel shifts a little as she enters because she is so big, I would think it was scary too if the thing I was trying to run through was moving.
The footage of the chute (the closed tunnel) is very similar. Belle gets in the tunnel portion, it moves, she backs out. The part with the chute touching her, or being closed is not even an issue because I’m holding it open. Or maybe it is an issue and I wasn’t holding it open big enough.
When I watched Belle on the dog walk, not the GoPro footage but my own point of view I always saw Belle slow down as she got onto the thin plank. I figured there wasn’t enough space since the walk itself looked thinner than her girth, and I was right. Watching the footage I could see that Belle’s paws cover roughly a quarter of the space she is given to walk. The next time I took her for a walk I watched her paws, they are not as close together on walks around our neighborhood as they are on the dog walk.
The A-frame, Belle’s favorite obstacle, has a lot of space. Watching the GoPro footage of that is very hard because she runs so fast and the camera moves all over the place.
One obstacle I wish I had some GoPro footage of is the weave poles. I wish I had been able to put the camera on top of Belle, but watch her hind quarters. I wonder if going through those and hitting her butt or her tail would freak her out in any way.