Monday, February 27, 2012

Slip Slidding Away - To Chalk - or - Not to Chalk?

That is the Question!!


What do you do with your dog to help him remain upright on a surface that just doesn’t work well for him? On the first run on Friday his feet were ‘naked’ and he did a face plant after a pinwheel. It probably didn’t help that I’d tripped on a turf seam as he was taking off, but YIKES!!

This isn’t necessary uncommon for him to do at least once during a weekend on this particular turf.

If you look at the picture that’s posted, you just see a black and white smear, however, if you look closer…those little white dots on each side of his body, at the bottom are feet. In other words, he landed with his hind legs spread, so his abdomen was literally rubbing the turf. That couldn’t have been too pleasant. On this same run he also slipped on the way into the tunnel, and into the entry of the weave poles. He was able to hold onto the entry, and they duct tape them down, so it could have been either the turf or tape he slipped on, you just can’t tell.

Thankfully Sandy had brought some rock climbers chalk,
 no Seeker is NOT taking up rock climbing!

I’m not sure it this is really the answer,
so looking for others thoughts or ideas here!

Here’s a video clip with the Friday,
without chalk, and Sunday’s slip with chalk.
(Click on the box at the bottom right to make if full size)

The chalk is in a bag, and we patted, rubbed and patted it on some more. I think it helped. The down side of chalk is that you don’t want them to stick when they shouldn’t, and it dries out their pads.

Someone else was using water, I’m not sure that worked much better. The thought behind the water is that it creates traction by softening the pad. The analogy given was: ‘if you try to pick up a piece of paper with dry hands you can’t, but if you wet your finger you can.’ INTERESTING! Better yet, it would make the surface sticky, and wouldn’t dry out your dog’s pads.

Does anyone else have any ideas for helping a dog maintain traction on such surfaces?

Am I the only one that has this problem?

PS - I do shave the hair off the bottom of his pads the day prior to running on any surface. 
I also put off dremeling for week, so his nails are a bit longer.
He's been fine at Soccer Blast/Crystal Lake and Glen Carbon turf,
'bare naked', nothing on his feet.


  1. I don't think water is a good idea :( I don't ever want to get the pads to soften because you can get turf burn then :( I know a lot of people use Coke when they trial up here at soccerblast. Otherwise you can buy chalking spray from Clean Run.

    I generally shave out my dog's pads two days before a show and dremmel their nails no closer then a week before a trial!

  2. I know that at weight pull, when they have rail pulls on carpet, all of the handlers walk their dogs back and forth over a soaked towel to wet their feet down for extra traction.

    Personally, I would probably use a single layer of vet wrap if my dog was slipping on a surface. Not sure if you are allowed to do that for agility though.

  3. I DO remove all furries on feet with mats and turf. I DO also use water on turf- not mats or carpet though. Water has made a big difference for Shiver slipping on the turf at Soccor Blast. For some reason this is the only turf she slides on. She has never burned a pad from this and her pads are pretty soft to begin with.

    Poor splatty Seeker! Stupid pinwheels! :)

  4. I probably would simply not choose to run my dog on such surfaces. But then again, it probably matters on where you in the west we have nothing but dirt horse barn arenas or outdoors on grass. She's never seen turf or matting her entire life.

  5. Here in the uk we use "Paws wax" which some people swear by.

  6. My mom and I religiously use water on the dogs at Soccerblast. That seems to help a lot there. We spray it on and then sort of work it in with our hands before they run and it softens them up and no pad burn ever. I ran on turf this weekend in Wisconsin and no water was needed and no slipping occured and likewise have not needed anything at Crystal Lake in Illinois. The turf with those rubber pellets seems to be the best as far as not slipping.

  7. Be aware that foreign substances used on rented soccer facilities may cause the owners to discourage rental to agility trials. Coke, Musher's Secret, etc. are not good for soccer turf, according to the owners. As much as I try to be understanding and don't want dogs to slip, I know what the owners are concerned about. And they pay attention to the pawprints on the floor!

  8. OUCH!!!!! Poor what others said...if I know I am running on turf I let nails go REALLY REALLY helps!! I can't watch that video more than once!