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Showing too early in agility

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

  
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MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

RAE TQX MXF MXB2- MJS2 MXBP MXJP,- etc.
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 10, '13 3:39pm PST 
Abbey,

I also have an article on how to find an agility trainer.. We also have a proliferation of unqualified instructors. The problem is a newbie has no idea what to look for in a good instructor and can easily wind up with someone who has no idea how to even safely teach the "just for fun" crowd. I suspect a lot of teams that would go on to have fun, fulfilling agility success and also make all the great friends you do competing in the sport drop out because they get frustrated and don't realize it's their instructor's fault. frown
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Abbey

Feisty- Girl
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 10, '13 7:16pm PST 
Another good article- think I’m going to bookmark that one to refer people back to. And so true, I know I was very fortunate that someone at a USDAA trial gave me my trainers’ number. As a newbie I just went with the first person suggested- who turned out to be awesome and very qualified- but could have been a total crackpot and I wouldn’t have known the difference! I’m glad I went to watch that USDAA trial, otherwise I probably would have picked someone out of the yellow pages or something- and probably would not be typing on an agility forum now. laugh out loud
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Mya CGC TDI

I'm your new- best friend! Pet- me!
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 10, '13 7:58pm PST 
This was such an awesome article! After competing in our first AKC agility show last fall... I was honestly SHOCKED at the level of training these dogs had. Mya could've run the highest level course there, and there was honestly no competition in Novice - she easily took 1st in all 4 entries that weekend. I spent almost 5 full years of training and 4-H before entering AKC, and I'm glad I did - it's made for such a better start than we would've had otherwise!
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MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

RAE TQX MXF MXB2- MJS2 MXBP MXJP,- etc.
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 10, '13 8:19pm PST 
Congrats to you and Mya on a stellar and well prepared start in agility. May you have years and years of agility fun ahead of you. smile

Abbey, thanks so much. smile You were lucky to find your great trainer. Congrats to you too!!!
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Remmy

I love Agility
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 8:38am PST 
After all the mistakes I have made with Remmy, I am not going to be in a big hurry to start trialing with Lucy. She is very smart, fast and does all the equipment but the weave poles but with Remmy I did not have the advantage of a qualified instructor like I have with Lucy. She is just over a year so I have lots of time to put in the foundation that Remmy never got.

Reading that article I can look back and see all the stress markers that Remmy has shown, especially the zoomies. I am glad I went back to square one with him on my handling and I can see the difference in him already. He breezed through his starters, did alright in the Advanced but now he is in Masters, it was starting to catch up to us.
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MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

RAE TQX MXF MXB2- MJS2 MXBP MXJP,- etc.
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 12:12pm PST 
Remmy,

What a good point that "It was starting to catch up with us." That is so very true. With weak foundations, you can get through the beginners and intermediate classes, but those weak foundations often "catch up" with you when you enter the advanced levels. Congrats on going back to basics and on your work with Lucy!!!
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Risa- W-FDM/MF RE- RL1 CA CGC

Awesome Dog
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 16, '13 5:20am PST 
Great article. While we don't compete in agility, the information in your entry rings true for many other dog sports as well. It almost makes me glad that I had to wait to start trialing Risa due to her fear and dog reactivity issues. By the time she was comfortable enough to be in a trial situation, she was already solid on most of the behaviors we needed to compete. (I waited about 4 years before we stepped foot in the ring.)

Even so, I'm finding some behaviors weren't as well-taught as I would have liked and we're going back to fix things all the time. I suppose that's pretty normal, though. big grin
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Maggie,- Tika, &- Porter

Aussie-tastic- Trio
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 16, '13 10:04am PST 
Finding good agility trainers in my area is soooo hard! I went through three (all an hour from me) and none of them were what I wanted - it wasn't until I started trialling that I found my club and trainer/coach - not sure I would have found her otherwise (smallish student base at the time, plus not in the area I would have thought to look - the joys of geography!).

I do know I was very lucky with Mags, yes she had the zoomies - but they were (normally) controlled due to my training in other sports.

A lot of people have given me flack because Tika's first trial was when she was young. Although it has given me insight into holes in my training that I can correct. She works happy in the ring and even though she isn't precise like in practice, we are getting there. If she wasn't already a pretty confident dog I would not have pushed to trial her so early.

I guess in my area there are two kinds of people who trial in the venues I do, the ones who care when a baby dog makes a mistake and the ones who don't. If I am in position to help correct an off course I will, if I am already moving forward, I don't bother...I figure there was more to it than the dog not wanting to take the obstacle (training hole).

Luckily in my area this isn't such a big issue. It is so hard when you have that first agility dog and you want to play with the big boys - luckily the venues I trial most (and the people involved with them) are very accomadating to help people get the experience they need.

I will say that when I was back in the midwest I did see a bunch of too early trialling that was very uncomfortable to watch - so I do think it is regional.
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Addie CL1- CL2 CL3 NAJ

if it moves,- I'll chase it!
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 1, '13 7:05am PST 
I agree, it does help if you have a good instructor. The local one ( and only one with in an hour in any direction) I thought was OK for the longest time, until I took a private lesson near where my parents lived ( sadly almost 2 hours away) and relaized I learned more in that hour than I had in weeks in regular class back home.
I've not run into trialing too early problems, but rather not practicing enough in trial like situations/group setting lately. Due to the fact our classes have virtually stopped ( instructor was on break down in florida over the winter) and the fact we feel shes not a good fit, shes become extreamely scared in trial type environments now..I was so hoping with my backyard equipment and private lessions here and there we could prove we didnt need our crazy instructor ( shes been rather harsh concerning my dogs attitude lately as well), but alas, its proving hard.. I took her to a run through this week at a different location and she was so scared, like shed never trialed before... sigh.. If we can't find a good place to go, we may retire.. I'm pregnant and due in Sept, might be a good time to do so anyhow.
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MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

RAE TQX MXF MXB2- MJS2 MXBP MXJP,- etc.
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 8:46pm PST 
I have many students who travel two hours plus to come see me on a regular basis. Yes, it's a commitment. Often there does come a time where a competitor has to decide if the sacrifices are worth the struggle. Sometimes the answer is a huge YES!!!! Sometimes it's not.

Good luck with your decision. smile
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