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Old 07-20-2009, 07:49 AM
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Default Going into Specials?

So, yesterday I was at a trial with Zoey, and she was slow, wondering, uninterested the whole weekend. After her last jumpers course of the day I had a couple of people come up to me and say that I should be putting her into Specials and they thought if I did, she'd be all over the place with great runs.

Now, I'm thinking about this, and really considering it. Here's the info: Zoey's 4 years old, JUST tall enough to have to be jumping 16 inches, and she has a VERY thick torso, with littler skinny legs. They mentioned that when she's getting ready to jump, it looks like it's a lot of stress on her back legs. When we were training her before she started trialing, we had an incredibly HARD time switching from her 10 inch training jumps to her 16 inch competition jumps.

Now I'm wondering if maybe it's too hard for her, and that's why she's so uninterested. At training she'll go for a while, on 16 inches, but not long before she's tired and doesn't want to do it anymore. At home training, with her little 6 inch jumps, she'd go until the friggen cows came home.

Her last jumpers course she DID run with me, and it was her best course of the day, but she was slow, left me once, and I had a refusal on a jump or two. I had a hard time convincing her to take the jumps. For all her other courses she'd do contacts, tunnels, and weaves great, but that jumping always seemed to detour her.

She's a tad over weight, but not incredibly so. And we've been trying to get her losing some weight, but I don't think that's entirely the problem.

So, what are your thoughts? Should I put her into specials where she'd only have to jump 10 (which she does, enjoys, and sails over), or keep trying with the 16?

I just want to do what's best for my dog here, and I worry that by keeping her at 16 I'll do damage to her, or she'll come to resent agility.

Opinions, please!
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:40 AM
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Smudge is a 10" special. With his previous back issues, I worried about it. I may put him up in future (as of January 1st 2009 you have a one time option to put your dog back up to regulars). So You could drop her for a while and if later you think things are better retry regulars.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:41 AM
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Get the weight off of her, a few extra pounds in a dog is like us having 30-50 extra pounds, it is a big deal. Do strength building exercises that include core abn. strength exercises and do extra conditioning to improve her fitness. Have her checked by a vet and if possible a canine chiropractor. And also move her into Specials. That is what I would do.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:06 AM
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Move her to specials - its really not a big deal (I've done it with my little one), and it's easier on the dog.
I know it's hard too, with the weight, I'm the first one to admit that I never notice it on my dogs, but when someone points it out, it's then pretty obvious. And weight will affect how she runs and will impact her joints. It's a lot easier to move around with the extra pounds shaved off, better for heart, joints and over all health. If you get the weight off and move her to specials you may notice a big difference in the way she's running.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:59 PM
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I notice a change in Meg with even a four pound difference. She got a bit heavy (for her; still very lean for an average pet) when I started my new job and didn't adjust her food to suit her lower activity during the day. She was clearly feeling the change, and I've both dropped her food a bit, and made sure I really keep up the aerobic activity in the evenings, even when I'm really tired from a 10 hour day.

I don't see any reason NOT to drop Zoe down. I've always run Meg in Performance for USDAA; she'd have to jump 20" otherwise, and for a 17.75" dog with an old elbow injury (that has not bothered her in 3 years, but is there), it just seemed like the right answer. Same courses, same challenges, just a little less wear and tear on the dog.

My friend has a wonderful 8 year old lab/husky/terrier/something who she has been doing agility with for years. Never super in to it, would get slow and wander a bit on course, sometimes refuse obstacles. She moved her down 4" this year because of her age, and we went to a trial together this weekend. She's a new dog - great courses, much happier and willing, less disconnecting with the handler, and a bunch of q's.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:22 PM
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We're going to work on getting the pounds off. Lower her food amount, and more activity, but I still think I'm going to put her down to 10..

We tested it tonight. Some jumps (8 or 9) at 10 to start and she flew, enjoyed it, and was focused. Put it back up to 16, and I could SEE how much harder it was for her, and I noticed the difference.

She can do a few 16 at a time, and do well, but more then 5 or so she gets tired and uninterested.

Looks like we're moving to specials. I REALLY like that new rule about being able to take them out once if you want to. I probably wont take her back out - I think I'll like the advantage I'll have in specials. - but it's nice to know the chance is there.

Thank you for the opinions and thoughts. I needed the support of you chazzers telling me it's not a crazy idea.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:21 PM
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It won't hurt to drop her. Bailey runs performance in USDAA and preferred in AKC. NADAC she's a veteran so we don't have to drop to skilled once we get to Elite.
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