For those that do Dog Sports

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by casey82, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. casey82

    casey82 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Minnesota
    For people who do agility, obedience, flyball or frisbee sports, what do you look for in a sports dog? I know drive and intrest in food and toys but what else do you look for?
     
  2. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Environmental Science
    Location:
    Vermont
    Honestly? I look for a dog that I find adorable; one that I will happily live with in my home. One that fits nicely into my life outside of sports, who enjoys the things I enjoy (hiking, swimming, trail riding, and sometimes just laying on the couch watching TV). There are physical things that matter to me (medium sized erring a bit small, short coat, athletic build), but they matter as much in regards to my life as in regards to sports.

    I'm pretty heavily into agility. I have two dogs right now, one who has earned her retirement and will be allowed to do so as soon as she tells me she wants it; the other a baby dog who is just starting his competition career. I work with the baby dog on agility most days (weekly class, online class with regular homework, club practice weekly, trials). Even with all that, I'd be shocked if I spend six hours a week on agility (not counting trial days). There 162 other hours in the week where I have to live with my dogs. A dog who is phenomenal for those six hours isn't worth it if I don't love living with them the other 162.

    If I woke up tomorrow and couldn't run agility any more with either dog, they would still be the most wonderful partners for me in whatever else we chose to do - even if it was just as pet dogs.

    Although I don't think I'll ever get a black agility dog again. Holy cow is Gusto hard to keep cool.
     
  3. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    I want a dog to have a clear head, social confidence, handler focus, dog tolerance, and respect for boundaries.

    Drive is a given but drive can be built. Energy and stamina, as well.

    Lastly I look for specific things depending on the sport, an ideal IPO dog may not be the perfect agility dog and vice versa.
     
  4. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Pretty much that although I am not as into agility as you by a long shot. We play a few times a week.

    I like dogs that are fun, energetic but turn off (work full time), funny, handler oriented, affectionate, kind of wacky, like to play ball or frisbee, small to mdium in size... Biddable is good. For sports specifically a dog like Summer who is unflappable temperament. In real life I like both weirdos like Mia and social butterflies like Summer.
     
  5. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In my case what I like in a sports dog and what I like in my "just a pet" dog are exactly the same so it works well ;)

    Work focus, human oriented, socially stable, lots of natural drive, the body to handle hard work and high speed over a lifetime, quick recovery time, problem-solving intelligence (this one can bite ya in sports sometimes though haha), the ability to think while in drive, natural athleticism...

    I like a dog that I can take swimming, hiking, to a family reunion, and burn up an agility course all in one day and they are eager to do more, but who can settle or constructively amuse him/herself when there's nothing going on. One that is confident and focused enough on the task that lessons learned one place do not need to be re-learned for every possible environmental variant...easy generalization. And a dog that wants to work with me/hang out with me such that we can go off lead hiking or s/he can hangout while I'm working outside or we can go some place crowded and it's not a constant battle of focus.

    I've overcome the lack of many of those in one dog or another...but I'd rather not have to :p
     
  6. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Just Miss Lucy-fur, my wondermutt!
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    The only thing I'm worried about in my next agility dog is good structure. Everything else can be worked through/with.

    For me personally, nextdog must have soft, fluffy, cuddly fur that you can bury your face in and enjoy snuggling with me. They should love people and other dogs, enjoy sleeping in on the weekends, and make me laugh with silly antics.
     
  7. Cardiparty

    Cardiparty New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think herding dogs make fantastic pets and performance dogs. It just depends on YOU and what you're ready for and what your idea of a good pet is.

    High drive, active, intelligent dogs are challenging to live with and train if you are not prepared for them.

    But, if you are a glutton for punishment like I am, then that's what you go for lol

    So, I think maybe you should figure out for yourself what traits you're looking for...my girl, Miz Naughty, is really too fast for me in regards to agility.

    I just cannot keep up with her the way I need to for us to be a successful team. She bounces off the walls and can get *very* sharp when I'm too slow for her.

    She's really not a good dog for such a novice handler as I am, but we work on it and through the years we've gotten better.

    At home, she's only slightly more mellow although there is a distinctive off switch. No matter whether she's in drive or not, she's always very active and busy.

    If you're new to agility, I'd say it's better to learn on a slow dog that's easy to live with. Just my opinion.
     
  8. casey82

    casey82 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Minnesota
    See, this is the thing. I love the herding breeds. However, I think the gun dogs and sporting dogs are easier for me to live with. They are just a better match for my personality. I definately at least want my next dog to either be a Spaniel (including papillon) or some type of gun dog or retriever. I guess I'm really not 100% sure exactly what I'm looking for in Next dog. I know I want more enery and drive in my next dog. I know I want to do agility and obedience. I'm not sure what else is important to me yet. I've been thinking about it, but just don't know. I guess it's good I have some time right?
     
  9. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Cape Breton
    Home Page:
    I own a Vizsla if you have any questions :) Best gundog there is, if you ask me!
     
  10. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Environmental Science
    Location:
    Vermont
    Then you should look in that group :) Don't let anyone tell you that you need a herding dog because you want drive and you want to do agility and obedience. It's complete bull.

    There are phenomenal sport dogs out there from the spaniels, gundogs, and retrievers.
     
  11. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Messages:
    8,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I don't really look for a sport dog per se, especially because I really just do sports for fun and for something to train in and have yet to really compete in a whole lot yet. My first priority is finding a dog I can live with on a daily basis but also has the drive, intelligence and trainability required for all of the training and activities I like to do with my dogs. Even if/when I do get much more involved in sports, I imagine that that will still be my first and foremost goal. And the things I like in just an every day dog should translate into a good sports dog for me anyway. I like a dog who is motivated by multiple things (food, play, praise), a dog who is easygoing and confident, appropriately friendly (or aloof) with people and other dogs (no aggression or shyness), has the stamina and energy and desire to do stuff, is a people oriented dog who enjoys learning and is a good thinker, is athletic in build and built well for activities, etc.

    I am sure you'll find the right dog/breed for you! It can be a tough one to decide on, but you'll get there. And you can certainly find a sporting dog that is a good sport dog if that is what you like to live with. I've not owned any sporting breeds other than Tollers, but my Toller is a wonderful little sport dog (except for her people weirdness). She's different than my Aussie, but neither one is really better than the other when it comes to doing stuff, they're just a little different at doing stuff and learning stuff and the Toller doesn't have as much stamina always, but that's just an individual thing. I personally mesh better with herding dogs than any other type, but everyone is different. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  12. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Just Miss Lucy-fur, my wondermutt!
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Way too many people fall into the trap of, "If I want to be successful at agility, I need a border collie or sheltie."

    Those people often get frustrated when their dog is not fun to live with at home, because they don't have the lifestyle suited for such a dog. You know the types of dogs you like. Go get one and train it to be an awesome agility dog. At the trials I was at the past two weekends, the most accomplished/successful dogs were a rat terrier and a mystery mutt (looked like a bully mix of some kind). There were beagles earning titles alongside border collies, and shelter mutts more than holding their own against intentional sport bred dogs.

    Get the dog you love and can live with. You can train any dog to be successful at agility if you have a strong relationship and your dog trusts you :)
     
  13. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    What she said. Exactly.
     
  14. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    6,956
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    LOTS
    Location:
    Alberta
    Home Page:
    I also agree with the above. Emma was a great agility dog. Yeah she has a few hound moments but at the end of the day she was a great dog for me in daily life which is way more time than just sports training.
     
  15. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Cape Breton
    Home Page:
    Here's my favorite Vizzy rocking the agility world! I LOVEEE Border Collies but wouldn't trade my Vizsla for the world :)
    [YOUTUBE]Gao1smliHzM[/YOUTUBE]
     
  16. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    I know I say it again and again but dogs like Summer are totally underrated for agility. She's not a super drivey or impressive dog really in everyday life. She likes to sleep a lot. She is very excitable but not demanding at all. You could probably never walk her and she'd be fine. You could hand her off to just about anyone and she'd be great to live with. She's just.... easy. Get her out on the agility field though and she really flies. She's just naturally very suited for it- biddable, loves food, fast, athletic, loves to run, and completely bombproof and carefree. Nothing phases her ever- she seems oblivious to anything scary. But she's not so crazy she's running off course all the time and over the top. And yet, I've never once had to coach her up, she's always in the game. I don't know how I lucked out with her but if I could find it again, I definitely would.

    You don't need a super drivey herder to do well. I am absolutely certain that if you had taken a young Summer and handed her to an experienced trainer she could have gone very very far.

    Mia is drivier than Summer but she's also much more apt to worry and fear about things.
     
  17. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Cape Breton
    Home Page:
    I don't think Pappies are underrated in the agility world.. a TON of them run in our trials& always do very well!

    Penn is the opposite of Summer. She's got lots of drive but I need to tie a bird to my ass to convince her to put in effort. That said, she's super handler focused& will probably never knock one more on course!
     
  18. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    I wouldn't say paps are but I think Summer-dogs in specific are. I see a lot of people really wanting crazy over the top drive and all that and Summer is a dog that actively avoids toys and playing. I wouldn't call her drivey at all really...

    I actually think bombproof temperament, athleticism, and handler focus may be more important than drive in agility.

    Summer is very food motivated- well.... now. When I first got her she was the kind of dog that barely ate and would spit things out. I'm not sure how my little agility star came out of a dog that wasn't very naturally food or play oriented. But boy she LOVES agility.
     
  19. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Cape Breton
    Home Page:
    Ohhh okay! I get what you mean now. Yeah, I would think handler focus is THE main thing. Everything else after that is secondary.. you don't have an agility dog if they are too busy taking all the obstacles or paying attention to everything except you!
     
  20. Cardiparty

    Cardiparty New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't think I said that anyone *had* to have a herding dog to do agility. ;-)

    Herding dogs are usually what people who compete at the upper levels of agility have, but that doesn't mean you can't be successful in your own right with something else.

    Again, you need to go with what you can live with. Not everyone wants to live with a high drive dog and often it's easier to do agility with a dog that's not as fast or drivey.

    It's hard to learn with a dog that's impatient and faster then you are.

    Also, just from what I've heard from people, people who have sporting dogs don't usually like herding dogs and vise versa. There are a few people who can take both, but usually it's either one or the other.

    I can tell you that if labs were the only dogs in the world, I would probably be dogless.

    There are probably people who would tell you that if herders were the only dogs in the world, they would be dogless lol

    There are a ton of breeds for a reason; there's something for everyone so you *don't* have to settle.

    I know alot of people who prefer to head to the shelters when it's time to get a dog. If you're patient and you know what you're looking for temperament wise, you can definitely find the perfect dog there, too.
     

Share This Page