September 18, 2020

Episode 260: Effective Use of Ring Rentals

In this episode (15:35)

In this episode, Jennifer, Sarah, and Esteban talk about how you can make the best possible use of your training time when you rent a facility or field for agility practice.

You Will Learn

  • Why you should have a plan before you arrive at the field.
  • Tips for pre-training preparation.
  • When you should quit before your rental time expires.

- You're listening to "Bad Dog Agility," bringing you training tips, interviews, and news about the great sport of dog agility. (light music) - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah and this is episode 260. Today's podcast is brought to you by has the innovative training tools you need for agility. Having problems with the dog walker A-frame? The "Hit It!" board can fix that. Your

dog doesn't like tugging? They'll love the "Tug It!". Can't move your A-frame around by yourself? The "Move It!" Can. Go to and use discount code BDA10 to get 10% off your order. That's Today we are, first of all, back from summer break. We've had several people asking us about the podcast and we do typically take a summer break every year. And we do typically neglect to

announce that fact. It kind of happens with the summer breaks and with the kids being home and wanting to enjoy that time. And then this summer was extra long for us because school was delayed by two or three weeks and started a little bit later. So, our kids have just gone back to school in the last week and we are all now getting back into our routines. And

so, we are back with the podcast. - 2020, it's a crazy year. Jen, catch us up. Just give us a few sentences on how your summer went and what's going on for the fall. - It's definitely been a long summer. Ethan got out of school in March because of COVID and then the start was delayed back and he is now starting kindergarten. - Wow. - So, it is

real school. We did preschool and pre-K, but we are in like real school now and was worried how it was gonna go. We moved him schools. So, not back with any of his friends. So, he's enjoying it, loving it, doing really well. And I am still kind of continuing where I left off in the spring with training a lot of my young dogs. So, with not a lot

of shows and competitions happening for 2020, I've been prioritizing and focusing on the young ones and that's gonna be what I go into the fall looking for as well. - Wow, that is amazing. 2020 is gonna be a year that everybody remembers for a very long time. - That's right. And we are back on the podcast here, episode 260 and the topic for today is the effective use

of ring rentals. And we've had several people of our students ask us about how they can best use their ring rental time. And I believe that there are a lot of people right now with COVID, where they don't have access to all of the same classes or clubs that they used to, but there are some facilities that they're able to rent for either their own use where it's

only them or for a very small group of people. And so, as more people are doing these ring rentals, more people are wondering, okay, I've got the space, but now what do I do with my time and how can I best use this time? And that's what we wanted to talk about today. And so, I think that there are a couple of things to know about ring rentals

and I'll ask Jennifer here because she has a space and she has a facility that does ring rentals. But I know that there are going to be different levels of rules about what you can do in this space. So, a lot of ring rentals, they'll have something set up for their classes and it's gonna be, they're gonna use it for all their classes for the entire week. And

so, they don't want you moving things around because they've already come in on, let's say Sunday, and put in the work of setting everything up for the entire week of classes. And so, there you're really constrained with what you can do in terms of can you move things around. Other ring rentals you're free to do whatever you want. So, how does that work with you, Jennifer? - Yeah,

we've had an increase in the demand for ring rentals for a lot of the same reasons that you just mentioned. There was a period of time where we were not doing group classes, but people could come in and train. And then we do have a percentage of people who just don't want to do group classes even though we're back open, but they need to get on equipment. Now

I find the demand for ring rentals to be a little lower in the summer because a lot of people have equipment or they can go outside. Again, this is in Ohio so our summer is good to be outside, not like you guys in Texas where it's too hot. So, the standard policy for our ring rentals is that return the building or leave the building how you found it.

So, return the building to the next person how you found it which means if you want to move equipment, you may, but just put it back at the end of your rental. So, that gives people flexibility to maybe lower a dog walk, lower an A-frame, split up to six weave poles, maybe move a tunnel, reposition it, move a jump if they wanna set up a particular drill, as

long as they return it back. Now, I'm not 100% sure how many people make use of that. It seems to me that most people will just use what's there. And then occasionally, because we're not having a lot of trials right now, if it is the end of the week, so as you mentioned, we have classes Monday through Thursday so I tried to discourage people from moving things, if

it is the weekend and there's nothing going on and I say, you know, hey guys, I'm done with the week, we don't have any lessons, I'm gonna come in on Sunday night and reset up. I will say, kind of send out a note and tell those people, you guys are free to move whatever you want and put things wherever you want. So, I think most of the people

who rent leave things where they are with the exception of maybe adjusting contact heights. I don't think that there's a lot of moving of equipment from place to place, but our standard policy is return it how you found it. - And I think that's pretty common and so my first piece of advice for anybody is know the rules of your facility because you want to work within them.

You don't wanna- - You don't wanna lose access. - You don't wanna lose access, right? It's not a one-time thing. You don't wanna lose access so you wanna work within the rules, but you need to know what those rules are and I think that there are a lot of places that are like Jennifer's place where as long as it ends up the way it started, they're fine. There

are some places that don't want you to move it at all. And you need to know that. And if they say we have everything set up and you can't move it, I would take the next step and ask, is it okay if I move it as long as I put it back? And if they say, no, that's fine, but at least you asked and, you know, you don't

know unless you ask. And so I think you can take that next step of asking if you can do that. And I've heard of people taking things like golf tees or something else where they can mark exactly where things were so that it's very easy for them to put it back in the exact spot that it came. Or maybe quarters on the floor if it was turf or

something like that. And then you can put things back. You could also, I think it would be smart to take a picture when you walk in so you remember exactly where everything was and that will help you work within those rules. So, if you can't move things around, my next piece of advice is, well, if they know what they're setting up, they're setting it up for the entire

week, I think it would be helpful to just ask if you could get a copy of the map. So, a lot of instructors are gonna be working off of a map. They're going to have a course map or a clean run course designer file that they're working off of and if you can't move anything around, but you know in advance exactly what's set up, you can devise a

plan that really makes use of that time. You can come up with sequences, you can come up with alternate sequences, nested sequences, you can figure out what skills that particular sequence or course lends itself to practicing and then focus on those. And you don't waste that first part of your rental time just seeing what's there and then trying to figure out what you wanna do with it. -

Yeah, I think basically you're saying take the time to make a plan in advance. - As much as you can. - Right? And I think a lot of people don't do that right. They just show up for class and it is what it is. That's what you're kind of trained to do on a weekly basis. - Right? - For the most part. I think most places are like

that, but here you're responsible for everything. So, it makes a lot of sense to sit down and spend 10, 15, 20 minutes looking at the course map, deciding on what skills you wanna work on and see if that's supported by the sequences that you see there. So, you can either look at the map and say, okay, what makes sense to train based on what I'm seeing on this

map? Maybe it's a week where there's no contact equipment up for that week because they've set up a jumpers course. Then let's work on our handling stuff. We know we're not gonna work on context this week at this particular practice. Otherwise, if it's a standard course, maybe you wanted to work a lot of handling stuff, but maybe now's a good time to get your dogs to do the

context a little bit, shore them up a little bit. Maybe you have a trial or something coming up. - Right. And I think that if you can't get the map ahead of time, if that's just not going to happen, then I think that it is worth it to spend the first five to 10 minutes of your ring rental deciding what it is that you're gonna work on. Like

literally bring a clipboard and a paper and sketch out what is there and write down some numbered sequences that you wanna work on. And spending that five to 10 minutes up front, you will get more out of your 50 minutes than you would have if you just kind of go out and you have 60 minutes of just wandering around and just trying stuff, right? - Right, I mean

your dog can't really work for an hour straight anyway. - Exactly, exactly, exactly. - Can't have them be out there that long. - Exactly. - Most dogs, most dogs. - Right. And that leads me directly to the next point which is make sure that you are walking what it is that you are going to run, right? Don't bring your dog out there, look around, and then kind of

wing it. Again, spending the time to walk it, you will get more, even though you have less time with your dog, you will get more productive work done than if you're out there with your dog the entire time, but you're making stuff up on the fly, maybe you're handling cues are late because you hadn't even really decided whether you were going to do a backside or a threadle

and then you just kind of went with what was happening. So, take the time to walk every sequence that you're going to run, give your dog the breaks that they need. Maybe walk one or two sequences, run them, crate your dog, walk a few more, run them, and kind of cycle through like that. - I also think a lot of people will book their rental and then see

what they can work on or what the building setup can be or what the building setup is. Sorry, I'm losing my voice everyone. But, another option is to maybe you have class early in the week and you went on a Tuesday and you really struggled with a part or you realize that the lesson plan is super interesting and you want more time and then you might book something

for later in the week. And so, that's pretty popular. I will often set up some FCI judges courses, very interesting, very difficult and we might run a section of it. And somebody will say, oh, I really wanna run this whole thing, I really wanna try this part, would it be possible for me to get a rental later in the week now that I know how the building is?

So, there is the option that if you are renting at a place that has classes where you take class that you could possibly book a weekend rental after seeing what's set up and kind of giving yourself a little bit of extra time to go out there and work what you worked in class. - Also have an idea, either a list like on paper, or at least in your

brain, of the individual obstacle skills that your dog still needs work on so that if you show up and the course is already set and you're not allowed to move it and you run a couple of sequences, but you've kind of exhausted what you want to do with it, the layout as it is, that you could spend some time on individual obstacle skills because then it doesn't matter

where, as long as the A-frame is there somewhere, it doesn't really matter where it is in the course. You can go work on your individual A-frame skills, your individual dog walk skills, your table, your weave pulse, and get that work in, get some of the proofing in that you need so that when you go to the trial you have a better obstacle performance. - Yeah. I think one

other thing that I would think about is if you don't need the entire time, don't use the entire time. - Yeah, yeah, be willing to leave early. - I'm always, yeah. I'm always checking on the dog, right? So, some days, you know, you can run a course three times, it's okay and then some days I think two and that's enough. Some people just feel like if they've paid

the money, especially if they're going to travel any significant amount of time, like more than an hour to get someplace, some people I know that travel three, four hours to get to a rental, if their dog isn't working well, they're really loathe to stop training when really that might be the best thing. So, I think one thing that everyone should do when you're looking at these ring rentals

is checking on your K9 partner, right? What am I getting here? What am I getting in terms of attention, focus, effort? Is this a really positive experience for the dog? Because you want it to be, especially if it's a place where they've never been before or you may trial there in the future. You don't want this to be a kind of session where you're just forcing them to

do stuff or running them into the ground and they're not enjoying it. So, I'll always keep with the attitude of the dog. You can get a lot done without the dog, you talked a little bit about that, walking the course, and I think that's just so important and underestimated and you see so many students out there and they're just kind of going through the motions during the walkthrough.

And oftentimes I feel like those are the people that are gonna struggle when it's time to run and then they need to do it again and get some instruction and a lot of that could have been worked out during the walkthrough. - Also check on the policies for rental length. I think a lot of people at my facility, they just assume it's an hour, but you could do

a half an hour rental, but you could also do an hour and a half. So like, if you know you're going to move equipment, maybe you wanna book an hour and a half so you have 15, 20 minutes to move things at the beginning and then plenty of time to wrap up at the end and put things back. Also, are you allowed to share with someone? So, I

think that's a good way to also make sure you don't overdo the dog is have a partner. They take turns back and forth. Also, it's another set of eyes to watch you as well. So, there is a little bit of flexibility on how you format your ring rental as well. - Absolutely. All right. So, all you people out there who are doing ring rentals, I hope that this

gives you a little bit better idea how to make use of that time and get the most out of it given the constraints of the facility that you are renting. And that's it for this week's podcast. Welcome back, Jennifer. We're excited to be back and we will talk to everybody next week. Happy training. (light music)

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