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  • Results 1 to 7 of 7
    1. #1
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Preferred vs Regular

      I'm having a tough time deciding whether to take the preferred or regular classes.

      I decided to trial Linus again when he turns four and he's going to be four this summer (time flies!). I'm going to trial early next spring, not right when he turns four. I just have so much going on this summer, then another long vacation this fall, and didn't want to add trialing to my plate.

      He's doing great, loves to work, no shutting down, has a great time and we are not getting much in the way of stress. We are proofing to the Utility level now. Doing directed jumping with hot dogs on the ground and broad jump with a person laying on the floor instead of boards. So, he knows how to think when things are weird/different. He knows how to win so love proofing as it gets him all crazy/happy! Working on getting our routine down day of trial, warm-up, between exercises, after run, etc. so it's all locked in and we're ready to go.

      So, the stays...this has always been a solid exercise for him, no problems. I can count on less than one hand the number of times he's made a mistake during stays. I don't worry about him getting up and I don't worry much about him getting attacked. He doesn't look at other dogs and doesn't seem to set other dogs off. He doesn't really care about other dogs at all, to be honest. And, I know it's rare anyway. If I had a tiny dog, I might worry. I've been training for regular classes.

      My issue is not Novice stays, it's the Open stays. I mean, leaving my dog with strange dogs and strange people just doesn't sit right with me. I know I shouldn't worry yet, but if all goes well, I'm planning on getting through Novice and Open next year. It's coming up sooner than I think. I have seen some fairly solid dogs lately who get up as soon as they cannot see their owners and it just breaks my heart to see how stressed and freaked out they are over it. I would feel awful.

      What are the pros and cons?

    2. #2
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      It depends on what you want out of his Obedience career. If it’s more about just earning the titles, then Preferred will probably work for you. If you prefer something a little more competitive, then that’s what I see missing in Preferred - the POC is earned similarly to the OM’s ... by accumulating scores, not by beating other dogs. Plus with more dogs competing in the regular classes, a placement means more than it would in a Preferred class where there are probably fewer dogs competing. For me, I like to challenge myself and my dogs and see how we compare to the best of the best, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to enjoy the sport. I know plenty of people who are just interested in the titles, and in seeing how well their dog can do in comparison to how it did the week before. Neither approach is right or wrong, but that to me is the deciding factor between going the Preferred track vs. the regular one. As you know, with the exception of the stays, the two are the same. You could always do the Preferred first, see how he does, and then see if you want to go back and earn the regular titles.

      If the stays are the only thing holding you back, I do have a suggestion - show in the B classes where the dogs and trainers are more experienced. There’s no guarantee that nothing will happen (dogs will be dogs) but I’ve found the experienced trainers are less likely to bring out a dog who isn’t ready for the situation. For what it’s worth, I’ve been showing dogs for 20 years and have never seen a serious situation (i.e. dog fight) during the stays. As for your dog getting stressed if/when you leave, that’s mostly training but partly personality. If you’ve practiced and proofed, then all you can do is try it and see how he does. Chloe for example, has been known to doze on the out of sight down - she doesn’t find it at all stressful. Where she’s failed stays, it was from laying down on the sit, which we think was actually a physical issue that has hopefully been resolved. Her father on the other hand was fine with it on the way to the CDX but as he got older, and we were trying for the UDX, he got more and more stressed and started whining on stays. We tried quite a few things to fix it, but when we ultimately couldn’t, that’s when I made the decision to retire him.

      The other thing I like to think about is, that life contains stressful situations that can’t always be avoided and it can be useful to teach him how to deal with it. For example, you might someday have to leave him at the vet with strangers where there are also strange dogs around ... better he gets used to it and learns that you always come back. Think about raising kids - is it best to shelter them from the world for their entire lives or teach them how to handle pressure and stress? I know what the answer is for me and my kids, even though it can be hard sometimes.

      Also wanted to add, you say you’ve done a lot of proofing with him, but I’m assuming that’s at your regular training place? You should also be getting him out to tons of matches so he can get used to the idea of doing stuff in strange places. Oh, and sometimes too much proofing isn’t good either, as the dog then thinks the regular exercise, in a quiet ring is odd and they get weird about it, so that can be good to practice too.
      Last edited by Annette47; 06-06-2017 at 10:16 AM.
      Annette

      Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde, BN) 6/4/2015
      Sassy (Jamrah’s Blonde Ambition, BN) 6/4/2015

      Chloe (HIT HC Windsong’s Femme Fatale, UDX2, OM4) 6/7/2009


      Remembering:
      Scully (Coventry's Truth Is Out There, UD, RN) 4/4/1996 - 6/30/2011
      Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
      and Mulder (Coventry’s I Want to Believe, UD, VER, WC, RN) 5/26/1999 - 4/20/2015

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    3. #3
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      It totally depends on your goals for your guy. I've played in preferred open and utility with my retired guy and we had a blast! Same rules, earned some titles, small classes - for him it was perfect.

      For my younger dude, I've got goals that require us to go thru the regular classes. I might use a preferred class or two to test the waters before I bring him out in the regular classes, but since they are so similar I'm not sure I'll even do that.

      The other answer is both Earn both a PCDX and a CDX!
      Last edited by indybindy; 06-06-2017 at 02:49 PM.

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by indybindy View Post
      The other answer is both Earn both a PCDX and a CDX!
      Why stop at CDX? Go for the UD!

    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by Annette47 View Post
      Why stop at CDX? Go for the UD!
      Very true! She had just said that she had planned to get thru open next year - so might as well do both!

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Annette47 View Post
      It depends on what you want out of his Obedience career. If it’s more about just earning the titles, then Preferred will probably work for you. If you prefer something a little more competitive, then that’s what I see missing in Preferred - the POC is earned similarly to the OM’s ... by accumulating scores, not by beating other dogs. Plus with more dogs competing in the regular classes, a placement means more than it would in a Preferred class where there are probably fewer dogs competing. For me, I like to challenge myself and my dogs and see how we compare to the best of the best, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to enjoy the sport. I know plenty of people who are just interested in the titles, and in seeing how well their dog can do in comparison to how it did the week before. Neither approach is right or wrong, but that to me is the deciding factor between going the Preferred track vs. the regular one. As you know, with the exception of the stays, the two are the same. You could always do the Preferred first, see how he does, and then see if you want to go back and earn the regular titles.

      If the stays are the only thing holding you back, I do have a suggestion - show in the B classes where the dogs and trainers are more experienced. There’s no guarantee that nothing will happen (dogs will be dogs) but I’ve found the experienced trainers are less likely to bring out a dog who isn’t ready for the situation. For what it’s worth, I’ve been showing dogs for 20 years and have never seen a serious situation (i.e. dog fight) during the stays. As for your dog getting stressed if/when you leave, that’s mostly training but partly personality. If you’ve practiced and proofed, then all you can do is try it and see how he does. Chloe for example, has been known to doze on the out of sight down - she doesn’t find it at all stressful. Where she’s failed stays, it was from laying down on the sit, which we think was actually a physical issue that has hopefully been resolved. Her father on the other hand was fine with it on the way to the CDX but as he got older, and we were trying for the UDX, he got more and more stressed and started whining on stays. We tried quite a few things to fix it, but when we ultimately couldn’t, that’s when I made the decision to retire him.

      The other thing I like to think about is, that life contains stressful situations that can’t always be avoided and it can be useful to teach him how to deal with it. For example, you might someday have to leave him at the vet with strangers where there are also strange dogs around ... better he gets used to it and learns that you always come back. Think about raising kids - is it best to shelter them from the world for their entire lives or teach them how to handle pressure and stress? I know what the answer is for me and my kids, even though it can be hard sometimes.

      Also wanted to add, you say you’ve done a lot of proofing with him, but I’m assuming that’s at your regular training place? You should also be getting him out to tons of matches so he can get used to the idea of doing stuff in strange places. Oh, and sometimes too much proofing isn’t good either, as the dog then thinks the regular exercise, in a quiet ring is odd and they get weird about it, so that can be good to practice too.
      I guess that is part of my issue: What do I want out of our obedience career together? When I started out, it was about my personal goals, to achieve X by X date. But that has changed into having a partnership, learning together and spending time with my dog. I'm not competitive in the traditional sense, but I do want everything I do to be as perfect as possible. In regards to dog sports, my personal feeling is that I'd rather NQ on a happy and enthusiastic run with one big mistake than have an overall lackluster performance and squeak by with a Q. I might change my tune on that when I get to a certain level though!

      Preferred classes are big around here. At our last trial, the preferred Utility class was larger than the regular class. From my understanding, the popularity of preferred classes is a regional thing. I did think about going the preferred route first, see how I feel about the whole thing (and more importantly, how my dog feels) and then go regular if I want to keep going with him. I think it could also give me a feel for how he does in a trial situation over time. Doing the B classes wouldn't help me because I'm not that concerned about dogs. My concern is leaving him in a strange place. Like your previous dog I can see how over time that could affect him negatively. My trainer supports preferred classes (competes in them herself, to get her dog ready for regular classes and to support entries, especially for students who want to or need to go the preferred route) and while she supports us doing preferred if I want to, she feels that there is no reason my dog can't do regular classes. So, I'm kinda left overthinking it.

      I agree that life presents stressful situations and they must deal with them. He lives a normal dog life and is not sheltered and he is introduced to and has to deal with stress all the time in training. I don't use pressure in the sense of forced fetch or e-collar or traditional punishment, but there is plenty of social, spacial, learning, environmental, etc. stress that he deals with on a regular basis. I don't see an obedience exercise as being the same as staying at the vet for a necessary procedure, which I would do in a heartbeat no matter how he felt about it, or dremeling his nails, which is done regularly despite the fact that he doesn't like it one bit. While he can be stressed about the dremel if he wants to be, he will do it anyway, and I'll continue to work on creating a positive CER. But that's obviously not the same reaction I want in obedience.

      We have been going to matches and hanging out at trials (when we are allowed to do so) for years and I go to at least one per month in different places - barns, outside, indoor training center, parks, friends' buildings, etc. We are lucky in that we have lots around here. I have several friends I train with in a handful of locations. Proofing is done in a variety of locations also. Sometimes it's crazy stuff, sometimes it's realistic stuff, sometimes just being in a weird place is enough. This past year or so he really started working well in different locations. We've been working hard on a pre-work plan with acclimation, engagement, a warm-up and ring entry routine, etc. This year we've been doing overall ring-readiness work with the help of experienced trainers.

    7. #7
      Senior Dog
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      You know, you don’t have to figure it out right away. Try one of each class and decide which you like better.

      And just be prepared - it’s great that you’ve been doing so much prep, but being at an actual trial is never the same as it is in practice so be ready for anything.

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