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    1. #1
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      Tanya's Avatar
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      Agility: how much training before you competed?

      Curious how long people train their dogs (for agility) before starting fun run/taking a try at a trial?

      Are you training year round or seasonally? Weekly? Multiple times a week? Evenings in your own yard? haha
      did you start with the basics as a puppy?

      I am in no rush and not looking to compare or set standards. I know each dog and handler are different. Just curious.

      This is my second year with Penny. Last year we trained May-Nov, then took a break and picked up again this May. Once a week. I mayyyyy try a fun run late this fall if timing works out but looks like we won't be doing anythign more this year. I DO hope to maybe add some extra sessions later in the summer/fall to work on specific issues (private or semi-private sessions). She is doing fairly well, it's been a "slow and steady but doing things right" sorta training, which works for me.

      And honestly, I don't really have a clue how agility trials works so I started reading that up (gamlber, jumpers, all those terms sorta boggle my mind haha) and my trainer recommended coming to see a few trialS (I will be at an event with agility so will try to get out and watch) and even rent a ring next to a small trial where we train to get Penny used to the nosies and distractions from a distance in a controlled environments so I'll look at that late summer (right now it's all dock diving all the time so hard I don't have extra time).

    2. #2
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      I don't think it's a question of how long someone has trained before they first attempt to trial - like you said, some teams may progress more quickly than others for lots of reasons. For me, I don't want to step into an agility ring (or any venue) until we are proficient in training at a level above what we are competing at. All the nerves, excitement, and extra distractions of a trial tend to take the performance down a notch. Fun runs are also great, if you have them in your area. Though they can't quite duplicate the trial environment, it's about as close as you can get - and you get the opportunity to train in the ring if a situation should come up.

      I TOTALLY agree with going to observe a few trials both for yourself and the dog. Make sure you read the rulebook - then, seeing it all in action will answer lots of questions for you. And the more questions you can have answered, the less nervous you'll be leading up to the real trial!
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    3. #3
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      I'd try to find some fun runs where you can re-do contacts etc, if needed. From my perspective, it seemed that equipment familiarization was VERY important. Once AKC went w/ the rubberized surfaces, it threw my dogs off for a bit as it seemed like the teeters were heavier to push, and just an odd feel to the dogs. So even when the dog can do everything on your trainers' equip, you'll have that potential bugaboo to work out too.

      I can't keep up on all the new classes anymore either and I used to compete up to just a couple years ago!
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    4. #4
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      the area we train on has fun runs and actual trials I think (small ones). so that's good, plus we can practice on the trial equipment even. Granted, none of this helps us getting used to other areas

      Pen sometimes flies over the A-frame (the first time anyway) so that'll need to be addressed so she doesn't hurt herself!

      Good point, many people may try sooner than others. I am in no rush like I said. Trials are just more $$, dogs have as much fun in practice In the meantime I will get myself familiarized with the lingo and attend some trials. We are at a big event next weekend that will have pretty much ALL dog sports so we can go check that out. Pen will be competing in Dock DIving. I was on the fence about trying a novice rally-o leg but may skip that and use the time to explore. We'll do a fun run for rally-o tomorrow and see how that goes I guess, pretty sure we are not ready.

    5. #5
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      According to our trainer we could have competed much sooner. I waited till our second summer of twice a week outings to the agility ring, one night for lessons, one night for practice, before we trialled. It will sound boastful, and I am bragging, but Jet was a natural. We were the only dog and trainer in our first class to advance to the next level and our trainer begged us to trial. We got third in her first trial. Darn dog, I could hardly keep up to her. What does your trainer say?

      I do think it would be harder now. This was, oh my, 19 years ago.

      LOL, I'm still not clear on how gamblers works.

    6. #6
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      my trainer said to finish two seasons and to get started on the prep work (like going to trials, learning, booking the ring next to the competition, etc.). but that a fun trial in the fall would be fine. Like I said, we go once a week so and randomly will miss one so it's not like we are training intently or anything I know some people are out multiple times a week or have stuff set-up to practice at home

      As with dock diving, the weakest link in our pair is me! I have trouble pulling out the right word and using my brain haha

    7. #7
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      I wish they had a class for handler confidence! I suck and fear taking Maxx to nose work or tracking trials to title him. I don't care so much about the titles but it would be nice to feel like I could give Maxx my best.
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    8. #8
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      I took Murphy to his first trial after about a year of training. The first run was just jumps and tunnels - whoa - he had never run so fast in a training session!!!! The second run included A-frame and dog walk - he wanted nothing to do with it and went cray cray in the ring. The third run was just tunnels and he did OK in that, missed an entry or two, but did OK.

      I went to another trail a month later, in the same venue, and on the same equipment and it was disaster. He basically ran zoomies as soon as I let him off leash. It was awful. But, at the time Murphy was just barely 2 years old and we had only ever been in our training facility and my backyard.

      If you have the option of renting a ring next to another competition - that is amazing!!! Wish I could do something like that!

      I'm of the same approach, I'm in no rush. We enjoy our training nights and as long as he still appears to have fun we will keep doing it. I hope to do another trial in a 6=9 months once we have some more training (and confidence) under our belt.

    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Maxx&Emma View Post
      I wish they had a class for handler confidence! I suck and fear taking Maxx to nose work or tracking trials to title him. I don't care so much about the titles but it would be nice to feel like I could give Maxx my best.
      Me too. I hate competing. I used to actually wake up the morning of a trial and think, "Headache? Do I have a migraine?" so I could bow out. Of course several times I did have one but it was mild so I went anyway.

      There are handler classes for the obedience people, I guess they touch on this. My agility and rally trainers did do what they could for me but mostly they told me to concentrate on doing the best for the dog, and myself would take care of myself. But it doesn't work so well.

      ETA: No, I meant handler classes for conformation people. But nobody caught me so I guess there are obedience handling classes too?
      Last edited by Snowshoe; 07-08-2015 at 06:49 PM.

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    11. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Maxx&Emma View Post
      I wish they had a class for handler confidence! I suck and fear taking Maxx to nose work or tracking trials to title him. I don't care so much about the titles but it would be nice to feel like I could give Maxx my best.
      aww the dogs really don't care for the most part. practice for them can be as fun if not more. I haven't done much competiting but as long as you are polite and respectful it's all good. Humans make as many errors as dogs and that's ok! Been tehre, done that. Find a fun trial, much less pressure and it will help your confidence. I do work on being prepared but at the end of the day I generally just throw myself in there. Rocky has his novice Rally title in CARO and two legs to his novice in CKC (we never finished that up), we just sorta went in after the training.

      Depending how things go tonight I MAY throw myself to the rally-o trial wtih Penny, the biggest "turn off" right now is it means leaving early haha. I don't expect much and given the envrionment - she may even freeze (in which case we may excuse ourselves). But that stuff happens. I was joking that if she can see the dock from the rally-o ring there is no way she'll move anywhere but towards the pool haha (but they have said you can't see the dock from the ring).

    12. The Following User Says Thank You to Tanya For This Useful Post:

      Maxx&Emma (07-08-2015)

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