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  #11  
Old 08-29-2009, 07:36 PM
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When you all say, "a dog you can live with" what does that mean? Are you saying that you wouldn't want a dog that was too drivey or energetic because they'd be a pain in the rear or is there something else?
Even when I'm really actively training, I may spend 4 hours total in that week (broken up in to small bits, of course) on agility. The other I don't know how many hours, Meg is nothing but a companion. What it means is that there is no point in getting "the perfect dog for agility" (which doesn't exist) if you are going to be unhappy with it as your pet.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2009, 09:51 AM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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I'm a newb in agility but I agree you don't have to have a bc or anything like it to do it and do it pretty well. I know someone running a mini poodle and then they were doing really pretty well. When it came time for her next dog she got a border collie- I mean... it's the natural choice for agility people. In the end she enjoys running the poodle more. The poodle actually does much better than the border collie anyways.

Even in training classes you see this. The bcs and aussies are great when their handlers are great but there's one man with a bc that is just too much dog for him. Watching him try to teach that dog is painful. She is insane though, I mean truly insane. She's a high drive sport bred border collie with zero off switch and no impulse control. She rocks at flyball but she can't run after going once she gets too hyped up and tries to attack the other dogs. On agility she'll do one jump and then she'll refuse everything. Again she wants to attack other dogs when they run. The weird thing is her sister is there and owned by the same people and she's totally normal. Her sister is amazing to watch, fast, responsive, very in tune with her handler...

My point is, if you can't handle the dog then you're not going to do well with it in agility no matter how much drive and talent there is. You train a few times a week, the rest of the time you have to live with that dog. It's a give and take though. Summer is never going to be the speed of a border collie. She's just too small. I can always out run her and give her cues which is nice. She is overall easier to train and more reliable early on than any of the bcs or aussies. She may not be blazing through the course the way they are, but when they inevitably go offcourse because their handlers can't keep up....

Too many people think 'I want to do agility' then go out and get a BC or some other high drive dog without thinking too much into it. They seem them do well, and they want to do well like them but they don't think of how much work it takes to get those dogs performing like that or what challenges the handler faces. I want a BC because I want a BC. I wouldn't recommend anyone get a dog solely for a sport. That's a way to make sure you're both very unhappy.

I have a friend that I believe does agility with her sammies. I know she shows them and does some herding too. They're not going to be border collies but there's no reason why they couldn't be good agility dogs.
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2009, 03:07 PM
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I could never live with a dog that spazzy. It would definitely put me in a home. I wasn't very good at agility....and my Doberman probably could have been much better than he was, had he had a more talented handler. We never really got very far in it. But I tell you, he had fun and so did I. He was speedy Gonzales and ran way ahead of me a lot of the time. He had to learn what "jump left" meant and all the verbal comands because I was behind him in a cloud of dust. LOL. But he was smart, agile and fast. Not as fast as so many dogs I see doing it, but he wasn't that experienced yet. But he was mainly my pet, my best friend and a joy to live with and very willing to learn. I agree that you have to look at the whole dog, not just one talent.

I can see having a poodle for that. I can see having a poodle period.
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  #14  
Old 08-31-2009, 07:49 AM
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I absolutely agree. I think it's extremely important to choose a dog whom you can live with and whose temperament matches your own. If you have a great relationship with your dog, most of the time, every thing else will fall into place. Granted, it does help to have a dog who has some food or toy drives, and a dog who is in good shape (not necessarily to breed standard, but one who is healthy and fit).
I lucked out with my little girl - not chosen for agility at all, she turned out to be fantastic in it. Fast, very driven and enjoys learning. She also has an amazing off switch and I consider her lazy at times. Yup, definitely go with a dog you can live with - it'll make all the difference in the world.
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2009, 01:06 PM
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i chose to get a bc because i wanted that handler focus and the drive to play the game, whatever the game may be.

i worry now that i have him that he'll be too fast for me, because i think he's going to be *fast*, and that i'll be too green to do him justice and be able to direct him to where he needs to be. maybe i'll learn to be the handler he needs and maybe i won't, but at the end of the day, he's a great dog. and even if i find out tomorrow that he'll never be able to play agility, i would still be glad that i brought him home.
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  #16  
Old 09-01-2009, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by elegy View Post
i chose to get a bc because i wanted that handler focus and the drive to play the game, whatever the game may be.

i worry now that i have him that he'll be too fast for me, because i think he's going to be *fast*, and that i'll be too green to do him justice and be able to direct him to where he needs to be. maybe i'll learn to be the handler he needs and maybe i won't, but at the end of the day, he's a great dog. and even if i find out tomorrow that he'll never be able to play agility, i would still be glad that i brought him home.
Elegy, this is a perfect example of having to train longer to get the skills that you and your dog will need to be able to do agility. But it certainly doesn't mean that it can't happen because it does all the time. I had a *fast* dog for my first agility dog and my problem wasn't seeking good trainers sooner to teach us the skills that we needed to handle all that speed.

One of my students this year has a fast dog with tons of drive. Novice handler, so they are learning distance and lateral skills NOW, along with a bunch of other skills that the other people at her level don't need at this time and those people may never need. But she has too and so does her dog.
They gone through my Flat Foundations class, Intro to agility (level 1) and have progressed up through the levels to where they are now. They can beautifully do long complicated sequences with all the bells and whistles of FC, RC, LOP, etc but more importantly, she can leave her dog on the startline, lead out 50 ft into a sequence and 25 ft laterally and run her dog that way without a mistake. There has also been a lot of work put into handler/obstacle focus, obstacle discrimination and rock solid Don't move until released Contacts, which are a MUST for fast dogs, especally for a novice handler.
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