Monday, August 28, 2017

Stacking Box

Just a quick DIY post today. I've been working on teaching Ptera to stack properly, mostly so she is more comfortable when being measured for jump heights. I have been attending conformation classes to help with the being-handled-by-the-judge part of things, but having Ptera understand how she is supposed to stand in the first place is an important step. To help with that, I built a stacking box, with the purpose of showing her exactly where to put her feet.

Making a stacking box is pretty easy. Tools needed for this were a saw, a drill, a staple gun, and scissors. Supplies are wood (I had cheap 1x4s that were for a different project that ended up changing plans), screws long enough to attach your wood together, a piece of a yoga mat, and some staples long enough to attach the yoga matting to the wood. How much wood or yoga mat you need depends entirely on the size of your dog. You want the box to be longer than your dog, and somewhat wider than their stance. I just held my wood up to Ptera and guessed. If you don't own a saw with which to cut the wood, get your measurements before heading to the hardware store, and ask them to cut the appropriate lengths. Generally, they won't do cuts with less than 12 inches on either side, and sometimes they will charge for more than 2-3 cuts, depending on where you go. You want two long pieces, and four short pieces.

Drill, saw, cut boards, and screws

You start off by making a box out of the two long pieces and two of the short pieces. I didn't predrill any holes, and did end up with a little bit of splitting on my wood. You can predrill or not. Either way, I highly recommend starting the screws in the short end piece first, before attempting to attach them to the long pieces. It makes the entire process much easier.

Attaching the short piece (with screws already started) to the long pieces to form a box

Once you have a box made of two short pieces screwed to the ends of the two long pieces, it is time to place the other two short pieces. These are the parts your dog's feet will be on. The first piece can be attached to the front of the box.

Short piece for front feet is attached to the box

Once the board for the front feet is in place, carefully decide exactly where you want your dog's back feet to be. I put Ptera up on the table and had her measure (which holding the loose board so it didn't slip), but you can also measure with your dog standing in a proper stance (especially if you have assistance so someone can measure while you hold the dog in place).

Getting the right placement for the back foot board

Once you have the correct placement for the back foot board, go ahead and screw that one on as well. At this point, I also lightly sanded down a few splintery areas from cutting and where the board had split while drilling. This is also the point where you would add stain or paint, if desired. I left mine raw, for now.

All screwed together

Next, cut some matting (I used a small piece off the end of a yoga mat) just wide enough for your dog's feet when in a proper stance. Attach the matting using a staple gun (you could also glue this, probably, but I am too impatient to wait for glue to dry). Make sure to put the matting exactly where you want your dog to put their feet. The boards are to give your dog a rough idea of where their feet go, the matting is exactly the correct place. Having a different texture so your dog can tell when they get it right is a good idea here, and the yoga matting also helps keep them from slipping.

Yoga mat added with the staple gun

Now, you are ready to use your stacking box.

Learning how to use the box.

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