Should I do agility?

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

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A Doggie Scholar
Barked: Mon Mar 6, '06 6:06am PST 
People have been telling mommie that I'm a fast runner since I was a little pup. Sometimes, I'd be running off leash on mommie's campus, and I even get a little group of people stopping and complimenting my speed.

My mommie updated my dogster webpage, and you can see a clip of me running there. I was a little tired that day (I went on a long walk beforehand), plus I'm wearing a sweater and carrying a stick - I was performing at about 75% of my top speed.

So mommie's thinkin about taking that *next step* that can really showcase my atheleticism. So my questions are:

1) do you think I'll do well?
2) is there a better activity I should try other than agility.. something that has more emphasis on running maybe?
3) how much time/money do we need to commit as a pack? We can figure out the money part as long as the costs are reasonable, but there might be a problem with time commitment especially if it requires some sort of consistancy in scheduling. Both of my parents are students, and they can find time.. but they can't really be consistant.

Here are my stats:
I'm a miniature poodle.
weight: 13 lbs
height: around 12"~13" to the top of the shoulders

Edited by author Mon Mar 6, '06 6:09am PST


Where's the- ball, i want the- ball!!!!
Barked: Mon Mar 6, '06 7:23am PST 
Well, my mommy recently started in agility class three weeks ago, and i REALLY like it! I think you would do fine, i have seen many standard poodles competing in agility, so i'm sure you could do it too! But, agility is a lot of work. My mommy trains me 2-3 times a day on basic commands (stays are important!) and then new commands that i have to learn for agility class the next week.

Agility is really fun, but it focuses more on the communication and understanding between the dog and the person rather on the dog's running itself. If my human messes up on the course, so will i. But, you also have to be a fast runner in order to win! You might want to look into flyball, i've heard that that has more emphasis on running rather then commands.

Agility requires a significant time commitment. First, there is the usually one hour class each week when you are beginning. When you are all through with all of the beginner, intermediate, and advanced, classes, you get to compete! I don't know where you live, but i live in the Bay Area, and i learned from an agility friend that there are usually tournaments every Saturday, and those are only the one's about an hour away! It is also a considerable money commitment. You have to pay for all of the classes, and then it costs money to enter tournaments. So it's up to your owner Snowy whether they can do it or not.

If you decide to do it, i'm sure you AND your owner will LOVE it! I haven't been doing it long, and it is the BEST! =D I get to play, like the WHOLE agility class! Have fun!!!!

Such a Happy- Girl

Barked: Mon Mar 6, '06 2:19pm PST 
Hey Snowy, if you're planning on showing, then there needs to be a serious commitment. But I think you'd have a blast just doing it for fun, too. It is soooo exciting to spend a weekend running through tunnels and chutes and flying over jumps. Yep, you'll have to learn a few things and it's really good if you have a nice fenced area to practice off-leash in. You can really channel those running skills, and also exercise those mental muscles with agility!

I think you'd find it really fun. My advice to you is to just start out for the fun of it, and as time goes on, maybe you'll get really good and your parents will be able to make more of a commitment and you can be in some shows! puppy

Have fun!

PS. You don't have to have any fancy equipment to get started. You can make simple, low jumps indoors with a broom and some big books. You can make a tunnel out of two chairs and a sheet, to practice what it feels like to go into a closed space and come out again. Mom even uses picnic benches as a form of the dogwalk, but without the ramps. puppy

PPS. Hmm... what other sports might you like...? You have to be somewhat of an independant doggie (or else learn your "job" really really well and love it) for flyball, but it involves a lot of running (and playing!). Maybe you'd like field trials? Do Poodles ever compete in those, anyway? Oh wait! Poodle! You're a water pup! Do you ever get to go swimming a lot? If you love water, maybe you could be a dock dog! BOL ;o)

Edited by author Mon Mar 6, '06 2:24pm PST


Ares - Center of the- universe!!
Barked: Mon Mar 6, '06 3:04pm PST 
Thanks for the cool idea for the tunnel, Jasmine. I started my obedience training five weeks ago and start my agility training next week with tunnels. I'm really excited but my daddies were waiting to start my practice for the tunnels until they went to the store... now we're going to do it tonight!! WOOHOO!! I'm so excited! WOOF!! Thanks for the tip!!

Play, Play,- Play!!
Barked: Mon Mar 6, '06 4:08pm PST 
I am a toy poodle (5 lbs) and mom is going to have me try agility once I have my other "training" down. Not to compete, but just to be active and have fun! I have SO much energy.

A Doggie Scholar
Barked: Tue Mar 7, '06 4:09am PST 
LOL - no I don't think I'll be a show agility doggie... my parents are way too competitive and they'll take it way more seriously than they should if we go into competitions.

We do live in a yard-less 1 bedroom apartment. Setting up a practice area at home might be a little complicated... maybe I should look into fly ball? frown
Hope Leslie- Jealous-Cani- ne

There is no- other dog. Only- Hope!
Barked: Tue Mar 7, '06 2:03pm PST 
Flyball is oh-so-much-fun! There are a few things that are important to be successful in it, though. 1) Being ball-crazy is a big plus 2) being able to get along with other dogs is paramount 3) Being enthusiastic really helps 4) being able to follow the simple instructions (like not taking a nip out of passing dogs, no eliminating on the course, etc.) is really important 5) not being overly afraid or overstimulated by/of loud noises--that particular one was my downfall. I'm fast as the wind, and I know and understand the game well, but get me in a crowd of barking dogs (especially in an indoor arena), and I shut down. So being able to keep it together in noisy surroundings is pretty important, too 6) not be afraid of a ball popping out of a box--it can be noisy and somewhat startling at first.

It's a great game, and it's all about the running, really! I think you'd like it smile.

Have fun!
Hope Leslie

Such a Happy- Girl

Barked: Tue Mar 7, '06 3:31pm PST 
Mom sets up low jumps in doorways (preferably around carpeted rooms, for a more cushy landing) and we have fun zipping back and forth over the jump that way. Teaches you not to be afraid to pop over, because there's no way to get around it. You can also have 2 people on either sides call you over the jump. They can even try sending you to the other person! So much fun in so little space! Also works well in a hallway. smile

Go ahead and give one jump a try. No need to set up a full course indoors. Just one obstacle at a time is good enough. smile

A Doggie Scholar
Barked: Tue Mar 7, '06 4:39pm PST 
Oh my! I think fly ball might be perfect for me!

I am:
1) ball-crazy: I can find balls anywhere! (I hope they have little balls for little dogs)
2) being able to get along with other dogs: Yes! IN fact, I get along with other dogs too well!
3) Being enthusiastic: Yes! I'm energetic!
4) being able to follow the simple instructions: I learn fast!
5) not being overly afraid or overstimulated by/of loud noises: I am cautious.. but I can work on it. BUT.. if the people and the dogs are excited around me, I will have very little problem getting happy and comfortable
6) not be afraid of a ball popping out of a box: I think I can handle that kind of surprise... after all, it's just a ball!
Darby Lynn

Ball junkie!
Barked: Tue Mar 14, '06 8:32pm PST 
Hi Snowy,

My mom is a dog sport nut so my little sister and I train for agility, competitive obedience and flyball. We love them all and we especially enjoy spending extra time with our mom.

Since you're fast and a ball junkie like me, I recommend you search for a flyball club in your area. The two organizations that sanction flyball tournaments are NAFA (www.flyball.org) and U-FLI (www.u-fli.com) and you can search for local teams through their Web sites.

We really love agility, too, so check out my mom's article on the sport in the upcoming March/April 2006 issue of The Bark magazine (www.thebark.com). Her next article for The Bark is about flyball, so you might be interested in that issue (May/June 2006) as well.

Try flyball and agility and see which you like best. You just might have to do both! I guarantee that you will have fun no matter what.

Darby Lynn the Agilitator
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