What do you look for in your sport dog?

Running, catching, leaping; this is the forum to discuss dog sports and agility training with other active pups!

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Have cats -- Will Chase!
Barked: Tue Feb 1, '11 7:09am PST 
Sound bone structure, natural ability, intelligence, willingness to learn and take direction from me -- in that order. I love intelligent, think-for-themselves dogs. My last dog, Ranger, was a Texas Blue Lacy. He had a natural ability to blood trail so that's what I did with him. He had almost *no* formal training at all, yet he earned a UBT1 certification @ 14 months and we were working on his Level II when he unexpectedly passed.

Now I have Bogie, who came out of working, registered parents although he is a crossbreed. We will see what he does.

Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 8:34pm PST 
Boy that's a hard one, b/c so many traits are necessary to compete. A dog doesn't have to be a conformation champion, but the structure must be sound. Then, you also have to take into account temperament, drive, and energy level balanced on what you can live with.

I like a high drive, pushier dog. That's not what I have, but that's what I would want LOL Harper is high drive, but is also sensitive and a bit fearful.

Soft dogs (read sensitive) are difficult to guide, because too little direction leaves them confused and too heavy direction causes them to shut down. Its much easier to work with a harder dog if you are a novice.

The slightest body movement on my part can throw my girl off kilter. She's SO intune with me and its quite a responsibility to know that whatever I'm feeling, she can feel it too, and one wrong move and we have to start all over from scratch.

Energy level is really important. A low energy dog is not going to feel like practicing for performance events, just like low energy people are usually couch potatos. At the same time, having an off switch for those high energy dogs is vital to a happy home life.

My girl does not have much of an off switch. For example, we can go for a hike, go to an obedience class, come home and she's still ready to play. She might conk out for an hour or two, but then she's up dropping a ball in my lap or tugging my pants leg. *shrug*

That could change as she grows older, and to be honest I would love for her to learn to settle.

Intelligence is important, but its not as important as being biddable in my opinion. A dog does not have to be a genius to do performance sports, they just have to know how to listen to their handler. Harper is a pretty smart cookie, but she's not so intelligent that she out thinks me when we're working.

I mentioned structure, but as some of the other posters said, a dog with bad structure will break down very quickly at high levels of performance. I would say that extremes in structure are bad (and yes, I realize my breed is extreme, but there are extremes with in extremes).

Another thought is that I don't want a dog who will do a jump that's out of his or her range just to please me and end up hurting itself. Harper would totally push herself to the limit if I asked her to, but I don't like doing that.

Most dogs have common sense and won't take a jump that's too high, but not all dogs have that kind of common sense. It might be frustrating in the moment, but I'd rather have a safe dog then a visit to the e-vet for a torn ligament.
Gigi - Harpur's- Giddy Upp

Giddy Upp Giddy- Upp Giddy Upp - lets Go!
Barked: Fri Feb 4, '11 9:22pm PST 
Our family looks for dogs with drive, good conformation, healthy joints, good attitudes and a dash of naughtiness. The size / breed don't really matter and we work with each dog in a different way, but having a dog that is structurally sound and with a great attitude is of the utmost importances. We currently have 9 champions so it must be working smile

Jinjo *Stumpy of the Wild*

Guess what I ate- today? {and it- was good
Barked: Tue Feb 8, '11 5:54pm PST 
First and formost, I want a good "Companion", a dog with an off switch is nice, I guess this also goes with my #2 of temperament as a dog who is drivy insane (bred purely for sport) isn't easy to handle or live with, no matter the breed. A dog has to have a good temperament, if it can not "be" around other dogs, you can't even get into show. This was one of Jin's downfalls, he is actually fine around other dogs (took us some time to get there) but heaven forbid they invade "his personal space". I like the dog with drive and determination, but being snotty is unacceptable.

I also look for conformation. This has proven no truer than with Jinj, he is broken today mostly because of bad conformation (short upper arm, he has less bend and has pulled a tendon/muscle in both of his front legs). This is the reason for my huge gripe against the Pem who keeps winning BOB at our local big show, he wouldn't even make a good "pet" with his conformation! Strait in knee, short upper forarm, knuckled over, elbows out, and don't get me started on that face, ewwww. Jin has ALL the drive in the world, he can get the job done even today being so broken, but he will die if I let him go as far as he wants to. He has a broken heart as well, one of the biggest reasons I never competed with him, the dog I bought FOR agility, was no go to even be training for it (I did anyway, and we had a lot of good time training in the backyard).

Instinct is also VERY important to me. Reason being, I don't just want a dog to herd sheep, I want my own wool sheep! Being the hobbyist I am I want my piece of the pie, and having a good dog to help the jobs get done is a must. Comepeting just gives me a reason to also say "This isn't just for a hobby, this is to prove my dog to the world". I'm lucky, my girl has been showing great instinct, I just simply can't get her tested anytime soon as she needs more obedience first (and, she's in season).

Member Since
Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 8:43am PST 
Pat Hastings is coming to Boom Towne Canine Campus on April 15th. If you have a sporting dog this seminar will show you what to look for structurally in your dog to assure top performance!

Structure in Action is a one day workshop. This workshop combines Pat Hasting’s Puppy Puzzle Presentation as well as her discussion of the value of structurally evaluating adult dogs that are being considered for a breeding program, working trials or performance competition, along with a veterinarian’s perspective on how to reduce the risk of structural injuries in working and performance dogs. - For more information visit: http://www.boomtowne.com/Content.aspx?content=1126
Maci & Harley & Jigar

Golden butts
Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 11:51am PST 
Next time I would like a bit more drive but saying that I am glad I did not get it at first as it is me that has messed up with training current and past dogs smile

I look at temperment first...I might do sport with our dogs but they are pets first to everyone else. They have to handle lots of visiting, lots of traveling and lots of different animals.
Maggie,- Tika, &- Porter

Aussie-tastic- Trio
Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 12:06pm PST 
Since my last post I have found myself a phenomenal sport dog in Tika. From looking at her pictures from the breeder and reading about her personality I knew she was what I wanted, even at only 4 months. She had the structure to cope with the impact of agility and the drive and desire to learn that is essential to a performance dog. She also fits in great with my life and my other dogs.

I have been criticized for "only" doing agility and obedience with my dogs...well, not really. My dogs spend a majority of their time sitting on the couch, hogging my bed, and just being with me...we spend about 5-10 hours total doing agility a month, and less so on obedience.

Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 4:19pm PST 
Guest - I'm not sure why you felt the need to resurrect a 2 year old thread to post something that you've already started your own thread on?
Seems a little odd, especially since you contributed nothing to the original topic.

Either way, interesting topic, maybe we can revive it?

I look for a dog that has a drive to work - or at least from drivey stock if choosing from a breeder.
Athletic build (trim/muscular body, slender long legs).
Smooth uninterrupted gait
Closely attentive to handler - forms close bond to one person.
Alva BH

I ordered the- best dog for me- & got her
Barked: Fri Mar 22, '13 4:22pm PST 
I want a herder. They fit in my hand.

I wan a dog that
... loves to play tug and chase toys.
... likes treats.
... is fearless. I do not want to be desensitizing a dog all the time.
... loves to run and jump and to challenge their physical limits.
... is cooperative.
... is not interested in game like deer or rabbit.
... is healthy. Healthy bones and structure, could eat steel and rust without a murmur, no epilepsy etc. Alva's career ended for HD.
... is balanced. I would like to have a dog that could judge different situations a bit better than my current one.
... is not a constant barker.
... can be guarder but not too seriously. I am not willing to be restricted because my dog might be too protective.
... is a little pushy but only a little, it should not be too dominant. I don't want a dog that has to question everything I do but I don't also want a dog that hides when someone stares at it.
... is open and friendly towards other people and dogs or at least tolerates them.
... middle sized (about 55-62 cm, 20-30 kg) for any sport I ever want to be involved or small (erm... about 30-37 cm and 5-8 kg?) for agility or obedience
... proper coat. I do not wish to dress my dog yet I do not want to spend too much time brushing or drying it. A proper coat is warm and water and dirt resistant.
... is persistent and able to carry on a command or task without constant supporting.
... yet I do not want a dog that is too intensive.

Alva is a compromise dog. I knew I may not have a chance to excercise a working-spirit breed like a Belgian shepherd in my current situation in life so I decided to look for a dog that would be a good companion but still able to be a sport dog. For temperament I got excactly what I wanted but Alva's health was disappointment. She is a perfect companion for me and she is quite trainable. But her hips made sure she is now only a companion if I will not enter her into random obedience trials.

Edited by author Fri Mar 22, '13 4:24pm PST

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