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  #1  
Old 05-11-2008, 11:48 PM
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BC4EVA BC4EVA is offline
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Default Which comes first, agility or jumping?

Hi all,

I belong to a obedience and "agility" dog club that has major issues with the head agility instructor. Everyone who is training their dog in "agility" has been told, no agility only jumping. We are disgusted at this, because we believe that a dog needs to learn agility first to get the contact points right. Jumping is good, yes but it's speed and all dogs know how to jump.

My friend owns a 19 month old Australian Shepherd and that dog has never seen a weaving pole, let alone a dog walk or an A-Frame. The agility instructor says she wont start training the dog in weaving until next year!! To me this is wrong, anyone who has any nous knows weaving is the hardest part for a dog to learn and they need to learn it at an early age. I feel sorry for my friend, as she has an extremely good dog but they have gone to waste through this head instructors mismanagement. She has only just been allowed to let the dog off the lead!! We had an advanced jumping course put up last week, way to advanced for novices and when my friend said her dog didn't handle it (believe me it was difficult) our head agility instructor told her, I quote:- "your dog can't even do that course yet you want to do agility". That's plain wrong, and rude to boot. She should be out there encouraging people not wearing them down.

My dog, a border collie (on left in my avatar) has done minimal work on agility equipment and the last time she did anything was way back in 2006! We have also been told that "we" me and another woman need to get our JDX titles before the others can even begin in agility! That puts pressure on us to push our dogs, and my friend with the Aussie feels like she is holding us back. Believe me it's a volcano that's ready to erupt.

There are a lot of disillusioned people at the club and I am one of them, unfortunately ours is the only club in this town, the closest is about 300 kilometres away. Does anyone out there agree with me by saying that if the handler is interested in agility, their dogs should start as puppies in puppy agility? Not when the dog is nearly three years of age.

I got told I wasn't qualified enough to be a head agility instructor, let alone assistant agility instructor, yet I'm the only one who has had two state champion novice agility dogs in the past? Hmmmm, any questions and comments are welcome.
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:16 AM
cinnamon cinnamon is offline
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Why don't you start your own agility? Maybe if alot of clients moved elsewhere, the club might take you more seriously. Even if you did the foundation work.
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:45 AM
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PAWZ PAWZ is offline
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Ummmm...before ANY agility is done you need a good foundation, equipment aside a dog needs to be taught some basic ideas, targeting, ladder work and perch work for hindquarter awareness, a good recall, down or sit, travel board, ummm what else use of a Buja board ect. Speed should be the very last thing on your mind that comes with confidence. Currently I am training my 3rd dog an 18mo old bc started training at age 13mos, our club has a requirment of a basic 10wk puppy kindergarten or foundations class, moving on to foundations 1,2 & 3 eack also 10 weeks long, at then end of each class the instructor evaluates the dog and decides as to whether they move on to the next level. We are currently at week 8 and have just introduced jumping. Yes a dog knows how to jump naturally but for agility not efficiently or properly. Weaving is the hardest thing for most dogs to learn, but before you start growth plates should be closed before doing so, in my opinion no younger than 12mos. A dog does not need to learn weaving at a young age, my 1st bc did not start training until 2 and trialing until 3, and did well he retired at age 13.5yrs and did earn his Agility dog Championship which is the highest title you can earn in USDAA (United States Dog Agility Assoc.). Contacts should be taught with equipment on the ground at first set as low as you can get them and gradually raised. As for your friend not being able to leave her dog off leash, until now that would be a instructors call, has your friend ever questioned the instructor as to her reasoning? Have the students approached the instructor with their concerns?

Also I am not familiar w/ agility in Australia, I do know that inorder to move up a level competitors in England must "Win out" to move up. Here in the US it depends on what flavor (venue USDAA, NADAC or AKC) as to what is required to move up. Could you explaine what a Novice statechampion is?
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:07 PM
Suzzie Suzzie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC4EVA View Post
Does anyone out there agree with me by saying that if the handler is interested in agility, their dogs should start as puppies in puppy agility? Not when the dog is nearly three years of age.
No, actually, I don't agree with that a bit.

Firstly, puppies shouldn't be doing agility, it's not good to start doing that sort of intense workout until they're done growing.

Secondly, I found the statement about 3 years being too old, just... ludicrous. Popper turns 3 in July and he's starting agility at the beginning of next month. He just learned flyball over the winter and mastered that faster than most of the other dogs.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2008, 02:17 PM
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Here in the US instructors will take puppies into a puppy kindergarten to socialize, do basic obed but never ever put them on any kind of equipment. Why would you want to risk injury to young joints and bones? I agree with Suzzie its never to old to start a dog in agility unless its just not physically realistic. Here most people wont even bring a young dog out until they are 2yrs old, my boy will be closer to 2.5 when I bring him out.
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:31 PM
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Why not start your own agility club? or get a bunch of friends together and train in someones backyard.

I personally think that if you get a dog as a puppy and have a strong intent to do agility, then you should start with foundation right away. But equipment should come later. However, if someone doesnt want to start actually training their dog on equipment till they are 3, then that is their choice. I didnt start agility with my dog till she was nearly 4. Not on equipment anyway. She was never mature enough to do agility before that. I still question her sometimes.

But why not train on your own? If you are qualified to be a trainer, why not give it a shot? It sounds like people could benefit from it.

I do agree foundation comes before speed. Some people have different thoughts to training, and she might be taking the long way to train agility. She might also have to retrain things, which would suck.

I know it will take a lot of consideration and time to think it though, but I really do think you should consider opening your own training facility.

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  #7  
Old 05-12-2008, 08:41 PM
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My puppies start agility training at 4 months. But foundation work is targeting, wobble boards, send outs, crosses on the flat, plank work etc etc.

A dog can start agility much later, but as I do obedience and I will NEVER do obed (competition type..not just getting a recall) before agility training (that has bit me in the a$$ before) I need to start early.

No many dogs DON'T know how to jump and need jump chutes, poles etc to help teach them how to jump. But that isn't to say that needs to be done first. First you should have dogs who can target, work both sides, front cross, starting rear cross etc etc. Agility is a BIG picture sport. Doing it involves a heck of a lot more than just running around on the equip.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:33 PM
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So most people out there think what this head agility instructor is doing is right? Well, maybe I could start another club but that takes money, which is something I don't have a lot of. I'll guess, I'll have to grin and bear it, and when my dog (who is sick of obedience by the way) goes through to her Jumping Master's, where else do I go. We don't do flyball, although we have a flyball box gathering cobwebs in the shed. We don't do tracking, herding, endurance any other dog sport. So can you see my problem, we cant turn anywhere else, and as the next town like I said is 300 kilometres away, we are sort of stuck.

Pawz - Novice is basically the first class our dogs do in agility, we get three titles and they have their Jumping Dog or Agility Dog Title and then it's onto Excellent class. Both my dogs won top scored in this state I live in South Australia, thus become state champions.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:35 PM
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And the puppy agility we used to do, is all ground work, poles on ground etc and tunnels aswell. Here they can't compete in a trial until they are eighteen months old.
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2008, 11:03 PM
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MafiaPrincess MafiaPrincess is offline
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No I don't think it's right. If you did foundation work I don't see why you aren't all moving on honestly. And I don't see forcing titles on people before they can learn more. Sure Smudge is a year, he'll be ready to do a jumpers course before anything else, but it doesn't mean we won't train everything else slowly too..

I don't see why one would have to wait a year with a mature dog to start learning how to weave.. And I also would question how long your friend has been in lessons and only just let the dog off leash. Training flatwork and handling skills on lead cool. But it always pains me to see people jumping with dogs on leashes..

Don't really have any suggestions for you as what to do though, if there aren't any other clubs around.. is there anyone is a more managerial position that her to talk to and say this isn't working for any of us?
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