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Old 05-19-2009, 07:12 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Default getting started in agility

I had a couple of questions about getting started in agility. Agility was always a distant dream of mine, and I've actually had Maddie recently evaluated by our vet to see if she would be an ok canidate for it, but sadly due to the loss of eyesight in her eye and she is 7 already she is not. He said he was sure we could work around it and have fun, but competitivly... and saftey in mind... well... you know... :/

It's been on my mind a lot lately, (chazzers pics fault! ) and I've been talking to my roommates about it. Obviously it would not be something that I will be starting tomorrow, but I was wondering how all of you got started in agility? Did you take classes and then go through them, or something else? I am keeping my ears and mind open -- maybe one of my future fosters would be a perfect agility prospect, or something like that. I have a class/instructor in mind, but I'm always open to ideas! Thanks!
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:15 PM
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I had a foster JRT who was blind in one eye, he was adopted locally and did agility classes with me. There was some extra challenges (like handling all from one side) So if you want to play with her and its just her eyesight and age I say go for it!! No you are not going to compete but you can learn lots and have soooo much fun.

The best way is to take classes. Even people who are good still take lessons. A second set of eyes are very useful. A good class will teach you and your dog the basics is a safe and fun way.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:44 PM
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Classes were invaluable. Especially as a newbie. I really didn't know what I was doing no matter how many books I read.

Have you thought about other sports you could play with Maddie like rally? Really can strengthen your bond.

Is they eyesight issue just the one eye? If so I still think you could work around it at least for fun. Maybe if you took classes long enough you'd get bitten by the bug and have bigger goals.. AKC isn't pro eyesight or deafness issues, but almost any other venue is.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:56 PM
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Agreed, taking classes with a GOOD instructor, starting with foundations is the cheapest and best way to go, imo. Going back to retrain things is more expensive, frustrating and demoralizing to the dog and the handler.

Agility is SO addicting and you don't have to compete to be addicted to it, but having said that. By obtaining good instruction, you will progress faster, even if it appears that by going slower (not speed, we always want speed) but in how fast you progress in the beginning. You and your dog will learn so much, have control and understand the theroy behind it. Then the real fun starts and often without the added stress of an out of control dog and a dog/handler team that KNOWS their respective jobs.

And don't ever get discouraged, the learning curve in agility is typically steep, but worth it.

Good luck
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:20 AM
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Like the vet said... just have fun in the classes... you dont need to join competition just to be safe... but who knows... maybe you can try also if you think your pet is up for the challenge...
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:24 AM
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Summer is most likely never going to be a competitive dog (hopefully the next one will be!). Classes are fun though. Summer's almost 5 and we just started taking classes. I'd definitely recommend going even if you don't plan on competing. It's a great way for us to get some time working together and it's really helped all her DR issues.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:47 AM
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My friend does agility with her guy whom she adopted around 5/6 years old. He's getting cataracts in his eyes, and he's about 8 now but is still competing.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:03 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I'm very encouraged to hear this! I think I knew this deep down, haha, I know maddie and I will have a blast... I will have to work up the nerve to call. I wish I wasn't such a spaz about making phone calls! I'll probably have some questions, and they might want to evaluate her or something? I'm really excited
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:44 AM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I called, and they evaluated Maddie. They didn't give me a straight "no we won't do it" but it was extremly discouraging. They mostly just don't want her to bump into anything and get hurt, which I totally understand. They were impressed with her obediance, and a little surpised at the offleash heel She can heel to my left side (she's blind on the right) and she only lags behind ever so slightly, to where you could hardly tell unless you pay very close attention. I usually have her heel to my right side though, and I showed them both. She could not heel to the instructor, however, but I don't even know why they tried. She's my dog, not theirs!
I think I will just play around with her at home, and do agility with my next dog, whoever that may be I think maybe I was too sensitive about the whole thing
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