Saturday, February 12, 2011

DIY Hula Hoop

Taricha is a moderately intelligent dog despite how she may occasionally run head-on into walls. She is extremely food motived. When it has been coming to training, we've been working mostly on basic things, loose leash walking, heel work, turns, spins, jumping/downs, paw crosses, touching, targeting, food manners, people manners and a pretty good sized list that goes on. Only recently did I  decide to step it up and start adding objects into the mix. A makeshift jump in the living room, chairs and books, a large yoga ball and now awesome hula hoops. (youtube is great and gives us things to aspire to like this.)

Upon attempting to purchase a hula hoop from the local superstore, I was extremely disappointed to discover that I couldnt find just a regular stinkin hoop. They had water filled ones, jelly filled ones, light up, dripping in tassels and sparkels! Is this what America has come to? A plastic hoop isnt good enough, it has to have BLING? But I digress...

So we made our own with the awesome help of this site. I followed the directions to a tee. Three hardware stores later, I found the correct size tubing (Lowes ftw). Enlisting the help of siblings, we used tree trimmers to cut the tubing, a craft heat gun to melt it and a few hours to tape up 8  various sized hoops (100ft ish). Probably spent too much money on neat colored electric tape but we dont have to talk about that...

Taricha kind of gets the basic going thru the hoop, awesome I get a treat but has a hard time getting anything else  without obvious sloppy luring. But hey, it was our first go. She tends to pick up on 'big ideas' faster after a couple rough first days of flopping around. (psst, I dont know what I'm doing)

 A short vid of our first go with some foot to paw bonus at the end!

I cant wait to get Taricha outside with these hoops! She's not a jumper, she's not very agile and really only cares about FOOD but.... we'll get there. If all else, we consider this good exercise when outside still sucks.

What other objects and fun things should we start picking up and playing with?


  1. Man, you really went through all that trouble to make it? I'm really awed. I'm a lazy bum and would have just ordered it online. Heehee.

    Just some observations. What's your criteria? At first it seems you want her to go through the hoop, then through and back again, and then through, and come around it. You also start naming it while you're still luring her.

    I think you should define exactly what you want the finished behavior to look like and then cut the behaviors to get there into tiny pieces. If she's clicker savvy she should pick it up and start offering (she did pretty awesome if this was her first session) what you're reinforcing. Also try clicking for movement. I would click just as her hind end moves under the hoop, not once she's already out.

    If she's having a hard time, keep the hoop on the floor. Raise it as she gets better at it. Only work on one part of your criteria at a time. You may eventually get her soaring through a raised hoop.

    Good luck!!!

  2. Criteria started with simply goin through, all directions. She gets that well so I tried to chain, improperly, going through and around. We started fresh today with smaller steps, tiny pieces. I think we communicated a lot better and she was enthused.

    I have a habit of trying to throw words into everything before I should, as well as saying things at the wrong time... all the time. I will be working on **MY** training for sure! Though I dont know about her soaring, thanks! ;)

  3. All your video are amazing. I enjoyed it.