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  #1391  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:22 PM
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I'm pretty sure in some venues you can't even enter until the dog is 18 months. 2 years is a BABY!

Lucy is 9. NINE. We've been doing this for nearly 5 years. We're fiiiiiiinally getting steam and starting to see success, but it's been a very, very long road. I spent many nights crying to Zach that my dog was broken, there was no point to this, and why was I pouring thousands of dollars and gazillions of hours into the black hole of my dog's attention span. I coveted my friends' dogs who were boring ol' steady eddies and just did what was asked the first time around. I still do, some days.

People at my trainer who started a year ago are now trialing. And seeing more success than lucy and I do. It hurts, not going to lie. I feel like I'm doing everything right, but that the dog I picked to do this with had a deck stacked against her. We've worked SO HARD.

And then at the end of a long day she curls up in my lap and kisses me we snuggle and I tell her she's the best dog ever because really, she is the best dog ever even if she kinda sucks at paying attention in agility. I got her first and foremost as a pet and a companion, and she's stinkin' awesome at that.

(Side note: I think the longer you wait to enter him the more anxiety you are going to build up in yourself.)
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  #1392  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
I don't know why everyone thinks their two year old dogs need to be heavily trialing? Two is not only "not that old"....2 is barely past puppyhood at best. Savvy is just a few months older than Payton and has only gone to a handful of trials and I wasn't really taking any of them seriously. More just putting him in because there was stuff he could do and Whim was going anyway. Honestly, it shouldn't matter what everyone else is doing anyway. I see a lot of people get into Excellent super fast with their young dogs and then struggle when the holes in their training start to be come obvious.
Your mom's suggestion is a good one I think. Look at taking him into JWW as a way to see where you're at in your training and what you need more work on. But mostly, have fun with your young dog and don't expect him to do anything but be young and silly at his first trials. And be silly with him. If he fails epically, laugh and tell him he's very funny. Some of Savvy's runs have been him being wild, getting fault after fault looking somewhat possessed...and me laughing a lot and calling him a nut. And then some, some he's been amazing. And that's how it goes with young dogs

As for the person who is ready to pounce anytime your don't succeed. #@& them. Seriously, why waste your time worrying about what one miserable person thinks about you, your dog and your training methods? So not worth your time and energy to give them the time of day, let alone get upset over having a confrontation. Seriously, I would just totally ignore her and pretend like you don't see or hear her if she speaks to you (I've dealt with my share of such people, seems to come with being a young person involved in dogs...). People like that, you could have a World Champion and they'd still be talking about how your methods don't work, your dog is horrible and blahblahblah. You don't have to prove anything to that person or anyone else.

I really look forward to hearing about Payton's first trial

This, especially the bolded parts
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  #1393  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:47 PM
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I give this speech to my students ALL the time and it starts with the very first class they take with me and they will continue to hear it from me throughout their training.

"You can't not compare how you and your dog is too anyone else. Everyone struggles at one level or stage or another. You might be struggling at one level and be the rock star in the next and then have it flip back again. It is a waste of your time and energy to keep score."

I also fired a student from training, she always made little snide comments to the other students. Spoke to her about it, told her to please stop. She didn't, she was told to leave and not come back.
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  #1394  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:54 PM
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In Canada, AAC, you can't even enter until 18 months. Penn will be entered when she is old enough but only in a few classes& only because I'm already running Briar& she comes along regardless. I have no high hopes LOL!

Just enter, do your best& smile. Even if people get to you, smile. Don't let them know or they win their game!
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  #1395  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:12 PM
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Lol Cali I am just now STARTING out with my 9 year old dog. And she still can weave lol. I honestly don't care if we never title. This last year and a half of agility training with her has been amazing and wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
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  #1396  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:26 PM
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I understand the pressure part. Zuma started with a group of dogs who passed her up a while ago. I have to keep reminding myself that I can't really compare Zuma to their dogs because they trial much more than I do AND Zuma is Zuma, not Blazen, Torch, Wager or any of those other dogs. We have our own problems to push through.

My boss recently asked me when I was going to debut Zinga. I shrugged, said we were taking our time and probably won't be until late winter. I train my dogs myself with input here and there from my mentor and I get that need to prove yourself. However, anyone that is worth proving yourself to should understand that training dogs is not black and white and that every team goes through a different path.

So I don't worry about it anymore. My dogs and I will go out there and do our best even if there are prying eyes unraveling our every move. We will have fun and be a team that novice handlers aspire to solely for that reason. I would much rather be THAT team, then the team that stresses because it didn't go perfectly.
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  #1397  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:58 PM
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I started Pi in his first trial at 18 months old. This was not because he was ready, it's because it was our national specialty weekend (all breed trial), and I wanted to bring him out there. He was... enthusiastic, but astonishingly, he actually managed a Q there:



I'm sharing the qualifying run because I think it's actually funnier than his NQ's. It was as dirty a Q as a Q can be. He had no idea what he was doing, there was a ton of luck involved in this Q.

5 months later, dog almost 2 years old, having inexplicably found our way into Open Standard, there were undoubtedly people wondering why on earth I was running this dog:



And trust me, while exaggerated by the venue, this was pretty much what I got from him. Lots of distraction, and wandering off. Meanwhile, at this same event, a BC who is almost the exact same age as my Pirate won one of the ISC classes. I could feel bad about the fact that my dog is clearly so woefully behind. Or I could give up, and vow not to compete with him again until he's perfect.

Thing is, he's not that dog. Or any of those other dogs that come in and excel from the get go. He's just my Pirate. And I truly believe that with a dog this stimulated by the environment, the only solution is to get him out there until he gets used to it. Could be wrong about that, that's just how I view it. So maybe I look like an idiot for awhile. Maybe everyone thinks I'm a total loon for running this dog. But I'm going to do what's right for me and my dog, so I just kept at it with him, and laughed at his ridiculousness, and now he's coming together.

I think if you're true to yourself and your dog, you'll enjoy yourself at the sport, and the people who are worth hanging around will respect you and like you for treating your dog right. But no, you should never feel like you're doing something wrong because other dogs are achieving things faster than yours. They aren't you.
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  #1398  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:59 PM
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Thanks guys. Seriously. I really appreciate it. And yeah, I know even if Payton had the most beautiful run in the history of beautiful runs it still wouldn't be good enough for this individual. =P But it is one thing to logically know something, and another to change how it makes me feel. The former is easy, the latter much more difficult, and it takes time.

I have put a lot of deposits in the Payton Bank over his time with me to make him a great DOG, not just a great agility dog, and I know it has paid off wonderfully. It pays off every morning when he rolls around on his back wookie-noising at me to please come tickle his belly. It pays off every time I sit down and he runs over to press himself against me and wag his tail. It pays off every day - not just every trial. He's really a great little goober and I love him and wouldn't trade him for anything.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
(Side note: I think the longer you wait to enter him the more anxiety you are going to build up in yourself.)
Probably. And the more pressure too. More time means more practice means he should be better right? And then if it's still a disaster what have I accomplished, LOL.

The irony is that I entered him because I was like "I love competing! It's fun! We'll just go have fun!" And now it's become about all the fun I'm NOT going to have instead of just having fun.
I should just look at it as a way to get revenge on the judge who once wore a big floppy hat and huge bug-eyed sunglasses in the ring and freaked Auggie out so much he wouldn't do the a-frame (his favourite.) Oh, you want to freak out my poor baby dog? Here, enjoy THIS baby dog.
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  #1399  
Old 07-01-2013, 05:11 PM
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I think we all get stuck comparing ourselves to other teams in one way or another. One of Gusto's "puppy buddies" who we always hung out with at trials (his older 'sister' and Meg were competitors) just got his AAD and is headed into Masters. Gusto still hasn't gotten out of Starters. Sure, we trial a bit less than them, but they've had super success plain and simple. It's a great dog and a great handler and trainer and oh well. I felt a bit of "god, we suck" when I saw him wearing his title ribbon on Facebook, but good lord, Gusto is the same age as Payton. I fully expect to have another 10 years or more trialling him. We have time! He's still younger now than Meg was at her first trial ever. And I can just now start seeing moments where I think "He's really growing up and maturing and we are going to do this!". Most of the time, I think "Hello silly baby dog".

I know you are a pretty intense athlete outside of agility as well; have you ever done any sports psychology/mental management stuff? It's great that you recognize the pressures and the issues with comparing your two dogs, but maybe there are other things that you could be doing with all that pressure. I just "fake it", which may or may not be healthy, but it works for us. I don't think anyone is standing around looking for us to fail (I hope not!), but there's always some people watching when your baby dog starts coming out. I've had enough people who think Gusto is an intentionally bred sport mix that I sometimes feel that pressure (He's bred for this! He should be doing better!) even when I'm walking out of the ring with my rescue dog who was pulled out of a mattress.

So I fake it and pretend that what we got was *exactly* what we wanted. He stressed in the weaves and we finally gave up and ran out of the ring? *Have some cookies "oh my god you are amazing did you see that start line what a genius!* If people come up and comment on the run, positively or not, "oh, thanks! We are still working out some things, but he completely rocked his start line and we've been working so hard on that!" Put a positive spin on it. It's good for you, it will throw off the people who want to rain on your parade, and it is the best thing ever for your dog. I learned with Meg to be an amazing actress. Fake happy, fake thrilled, get your dog and everyone around you thinking that run was the best thing that could have ever happened, and then go to your car and slam your head on the windshield and melt down if you need to. No judgement here, I've both been there and done that. But I think if you go in thinking "I need someone to run interference" you are setting yourself and your dog up to be disappointed. Thinking about what those people will be saying is going to keep you from being able to see the stuff that really, really was amazing.

Another thought, if those people are going to make you feel self-conscious, is what about starting him in a different venue? Go run a few times in USDAA or CPE or something where you don't care about the runs from a titling standpoint and people don't know you or your dog. Get in the ring, figure out where things are training wise, and head back to AKC when you feel ready.

Quote:
I know this will sound corny but I honestly almost started crying (tearing up now). It's SO COOL to see Summer playing and having fun like she is. I'm seeing a side of her that I've never in 5 years unlocked before. It's SO COOL.
This makes me so absurdly happy to read given that I don't actually know you or your dogs. Agility helped me find that side of Meg as well, and it's the best reward I could have ever gotten.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:21 PM
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It has definitely been so rewarding to see Summer having fun like she is now. I'm just still giddy she played like she did. She is such a fun dog.

Still haven't here back abou my email with the usdaa numbers/if it went through on time. Hope so. I want to know for sure!
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