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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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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 8, '13 11:37pm PST 
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Shadow- *CGC*CL2*CL3- *

Is it time for- agility yet?
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 20, '13 2:38pm PST 
I've noticed that a lot of dogs that start showing too early in agility are dogs run by owners who also run other dogs. It's like they are pushing the younger dog to get into competition as fast as possible even when they are not mentally mature enough yet to understand what is wanted from them. While they may eventually pick up on what they need to do it is better to take the time to train them first then put them into competitions and hope they figure it out. Some of the people I know only trained their dog for maybe 3-4 months before trialing even when the dog could barely run a full course.
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MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

RAE TQX MXF MXB2- MJS2 MXBP MXJP,- etc.
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 24, '13 8:08pm PST 
Shadow,

That's too bad. People don't understand that asking a dog to do something it doesn't fully understand under the stress of a show environment can be very hard on the dog. It would be like me throwing down an advanced calculus test to a Middle School student and then having the entire class watch over the test taker's shoulders as they take the test. I see it all the time too.
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Addie CL1- CL2 CL3 NAJ

if it moves,- I'll chase it!
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 25, '13 6:26am PST 
I agree, even a seasoned dog ( like us) can have 'breakdowns' from time to time.. We have good days and bad days. We went to class for a year and a half before we started trialing, we've now been trialing for about a year now. Addie's done great, I go to a trial a month/ every two months or so so not too frequent. Sometimes she decides its ' too scarey' and wont do much, but other days she looks liek shes won 5 MACH/CATCH's already..

A very young inexperienced dog would get turned off with the crazy environment, i'm sure. Although my sugestion would be if you think you're ready, enter a trial, do one run, see how it goes, and leave.. that way some experience is gained without overwhelming too much. CPE level 1 is super easy and a good place to start.. some level 1 courses only have about 8 obsticles.

Edited by author Mon Mar 25, '13 6:26am PST

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ATCH Tika RA- CL3

Mine?
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 4, '13 1:27pm PST 
As I mentioned in my last post on this thread, I started trialing Tika early. She did a NADAC Beginners Agility at only a year and two weeks. She also had been in the ring for Sub-Novice Obedience and Novice Rally at exactly a year old...so I knew that she could maintain focus on me. She had just (I mean just!) been introduced to an A-frame, but already had a 2o/2o contact. I wasn't worried about a Q - I was working with her on being in a big open ring with only me and the judge.

When Tika's first trial came around at almost 16 months I wasn't sure what to expect in the ring. We had only done full courses (10+ obstacles) a handful of times - but I chose runs where I knew I could make a course easy or workable for her. She Q'd in 4/4 runs that weekend and ran very happy.

Come the end of January for her second trial she did great. But by mid-February all of a sudden I saw troubles...she had a fall off the dogwalk at a funday (back in December) and then started avoiding jumps and not following body cues. It wasn't until early March that everything fell apart and I saw her lose her confidence. She was bar knocking, crashing tables, running through her contacts, missing weave pole entrances, etc...all the little bad things finally added up and she lost her confidence. Luckily my trainer and I both saw it and I took action. Mid-March she had her last trial until May (she was spayed)...but I immediately began working on drive/motivation. The difference in her between early March and mid month was night and day.

She is currently on an agility break but is learning running contacts and will be going back to basics when we get back to real practice later this month. If I hadn't been aware of her loss of confidence - I would have pushed too hard and probably broke her down.
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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Sat Apr 6, '13 12:36pm PST 
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Remmy

I love Agility
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 17, '13 8:41am PST 
I have just found someone who is teaching Rally so I am planning on taking Lucy. I am still continuing on with her Agility work but think the exposure to a new place, new dogs, will really help her and I have always been interested in getting into Rally. It will also teach me more about Rally so I can do it with Kris, the Dobe, when she is old enough. I am just doing some Obedience with Kris right now as she is just four months old at the end of the month.

We are having our last drop-in Agility practice this coming Saturday then we will have to do our training at home as there are no more classes for a while.
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Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 6:29am PST 
Great article! I think we definitely trialed before ready--our instructor did kind of push us into "just trying" it. The main thing is our communication is not super reliable. We'll get good runs in class, but not perfect. My timing is slow. When one of the instructors took Gus through a course at class, everything was spot on because she made her calls in time for Gus to respond. She made it look so easy!

It's hard as a handler to get that confidence because the dogs seem to learn faster.

Also the article talks about "zoomies" being caused by stress of being in the ring, but I'll bet a lot of the stress is also caused by all the crate time and down time at shows, in an atmosphere that's all charged up with tons of dogs doing stuff, esp. for a dog that hasn't had practice crating at home or in class.
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MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

RAE TQX MXF MXB2- MJS2 MXBP MXJP,- etc.
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 2:48pm PST 
Thanks everyone for your replies. It's interesting to read everyone' story!!

Yes, Augusta, you are right. When I talked about the stress in the "ring," I did mean the entire show environment. Watch fearful dogs just visiting a show, and you'll see them displaying stress signals galore. Just being in that super-charged environment can cause dogs to really stress.

I encourage all of my students to bring their "not yet ready for prime time" dogs to shows just to visit. There, with proper classical conditioning techniques employed by the handler, they can begin to accumulate to the stress of the environment.

I'm glad the article is making everyone think about their own dogs and situations, and thanks everyone for your comments and stories!
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ARC's MADE YA LOOK

Moxie
 
 
Barked: Tue May 21, '13 7:20pm PST 
I see it a lot in trials. My Beauceron is 3, yes 3! And I just started trialing her. She still isnt ready. *SIGH* Not that she doesnt love it, she just is not ready to trial yet.
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