How long did it take before your first agility competition?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by xpaeanx, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    I'm just wondering what the average amount of time it's taken people to train a dog to be able to Q in Novice level. I realize different dogs will take different amounts of time just based on how they learn... but I really just want a very general idea.
     
  2. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    About a year of training. I started training foundations with Izzie when she was 2 in august of 2010 and then her first trial was august of 2011. She Q'd her first run, a starters jumpers run.
     
  3. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    We started with puppy foundations when Kimma was about 6 months old. We didn't start competing until she was 2 years 10 months old. In between there was an 8 month hiatus while we worked heavily on recall and moved from TX to PA, so we therefore didn't really do much actual agility/equipment training. She got in to the Masters level in both Jumpers and Standard within a year and 3 months on a very limited trialing schedule, so we've been pretty successful I'd say.
     
  4. FransterDoo

    FransterDoo New Member

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    Marvel was in class for a little less than a year. He wasn't our first agility dog and he was already competing in flyball so I'm not sure if that helped.

    He went 3 for 3 for his NAJ and 4 for 3 for his NA.

    Pete was about a year but his Q rate was much lower - plus he got meningitis and kept relapsing. He probably Q'd 65% of the time?
     
  5. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Well not counting the training we did when Summer was young.... I started her in May and we competed in June the next year.
     
  6. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    So it seems the overall average here is a year? That's what I was figuring, but wanted to make sure I was right.

    Once you guys got the foundation of handling and the obstacles... Did you find the training got a lot easier/faster?
     
  7. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    I think it took us about 18 months between starting training and doing a comp. I think we Qd in jumpers and snooker in our first time out, but after that Qs were few and far between.

    I have friends who've rocketed up to Masters with their off-breed dogs in less than a year (pugs? havanese???) and I'm a little jealous.

    Lol no.

    I think once you get the basics down you realize just how much else there is to learn. I guess it depends on your definition of easy/fast, but once I got to a certain level progress kind of plateaued and any improvements were small. All I can say is don't rush your foundations!
     
  8. iriskai

    iriskai New Member

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    I took two foundation classes with Mimi January-March last year and didn't do anything again until October when I moved and switched clubs. Our first trial is in three weeks.. :)
     
  9. Ozfozz

    Ozfozz Highbread Dingbat

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    From what I remember, Cobain was less than a year from first agility class to trial.
    We were pushed by our trainer though. "Oh he's so good we'll bump you up to competition level instead of making you take advanced"
    How foolish I was.

    Sure, he's great. But me? I could have definitely used the work.

    Either way, first trial he got a starter jumper q. Next q didn't come until 2010. However, I don't remember if it was because we didn't trial or if we did and just weren't getting q's. (There was a TON of ridiculous drama that pushed me out of the sport for a little while unfortunately which is why I don't exactly remember).
     
  10. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    One trainer I talked to estimates 1-2 years.

    With Summer we kind of cheated since she'd had agility off and on since she was 5ish but had no foundations till she was 8. The first two trainers were pretty bad and we only did a few months with each. I also have rushed to get her in the ring since she's so old. I don't have the time to wait. :(
     
  11. krissy

    krissy New Member

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    Kili started her first agility class about 10 months old (so last June). I am hoping to trial for the first time around her 2nd birthday, which would be just over a year of training. At this point we just need to perfect the chute, get the teeter up to full height, and finish learning weave poles. Oh, and she hasn't really seen the dog walk since about September, and never at full height... so that too I guess!

    A lot of those things have been very slow because we don't work on them every single class. We bounce between them. And then in our class we do a TON of handling. In a lot of the videos I post I think it's obvious that we are not doing Novice/Starter level courses. Our trainer's idea is to have us handling at a higher level before we even start trialing so that Novice is (hopefully) a lot simpler! I hope he's right!
     
  12. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    Oh darn. I was really hoping once you get your foundation, the other stuff starts to come a lot easier. HAHA. So much for that idea!

    The trainer I am with now says I know enough to start in the advanced beginner class… but I was freaking out because I’m like… but I don’t know handling!!! And I don’t want to be behind!!! And I don’t want to screw up!!! Yes, I had a mini-meltdown. Anyway, apparently beginner classes are hit or miss with people, so there may or may not be one starting soon… Which she said she can teach me everything I don’t “know†in a handful of privates. But really we’re fine and I have zero confidence and that’s the problem. Ooops.

    I went through a few trainers and trying to find a few trainers… I lucked into the lady I just started with and so far I am soooo happy. I learned SO MUCH in just one day of watching one of her classes and the eval we did yesterday. I have all the stuff at home now, but I wasn’t pushing training any of it too much because I felt like *I* needed to learn more to be able to do a good foundation.

    I have had a ton of trainers with this philosophy in a lot of different areas. Guess what? They’re right! HaHa. It defiantly sucks when you are watching other people “getting ahead of you†and you feel stupid because you’re not “ready†yet. Then you go out there and blow them out of the water and at this point they’ve been trialing for a while and you just started. Total ego boost. :)

    The current trainer is SUPER handling focused. Every other thing out of her mouth is “what does your dog see?†Heck, when she wanted to show me how to do crosses. She made me pretend to be the dog so I could see what she was doing and what it looked like, then we switched places and did both sides, and only after I had that right did we add the dog. I have a page of homework that doesn’t even include 1 obstacle. It’s entirely about handling the dog. But it makes so much sense!




    I’m so excited with the new trainer. I’m learning SO MUCH and having a blast! But I guess I will have to learn to be patient. HAHA.
     
  13. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    At the rate it's going, I'm pretty sure never is the answer. :p BUT WE SURE ARE HAVING FUN!
     
  14. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    And that's what matters!
     
  15. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    It varied a lot for each dog for me, based on what they knew, what I knew, their very different personalities, what sort of pre-agility foundations and relationship we had, how many times I moved leading up to their debut, how you define the "start" of their agility training (for instance one could argue that Mira trained for anywhere from 6 to 23 months before debuting, depending on what you count as agility training), etc. And in Kim's case, do you also count all the RE-training that came after her first trial (during which she Q'd almost all her runs) due to shoddy foundation training? :p
     
  16. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Auggie started classes when he was just over a year old and his first trial he was about two and a half.
    Payton doesn't have a starting point because we were always working on "agility things," even if it wasn't around equipment and stuff like that or traditional foundation exercises, a lot of what went into Payton was working on having a great working relationship period. He was two years and two months at his first trial.
    Georgie was about two and a half-ish. Her training isn't really clear-cut but "about a year" sounds right.


    As far as having foundations down, well, the way I currently see it, you're never quite "done" with foundations. There's always stuff within foundation work that will make your dog a better competitor. Auggie was trained differently than the puppies; it was very much learn this, learn that, learn this obstacle, now start sequencing, longer and longer sequences, now run courses forever. Payton and Georgie do some sequencing, but still much of what we work on is what I would call foundations. Jumping skills are huge in our work. Weave pole entries. And for bad Payton we will probably forever have to work on his contact behavior. Sends to tunnels and jumps. It sounds really simple but even some of the more advanced stuff comes down to those. Before Louisville I worked with Payton on obstacle discrimination with tunnels underneath contacts and it was basically restrained sends. So I suppose once you know your foundations, it makes things easier in that you know how to train them and you can generalize behaviors rather than having to start from scratch and teach all new ones... but I don't personally feel like there's a point where you go "okay, we know all there is to know."

    Agility is always changing too, creating new challenges you have to train through. International courses have backside jumps but you never used to see them in US style courses. Well, now judges are putting them in. So now people are going to have to either train those or figure out how to handle and make it happen. We had two backside jumps in the master's level courses down at Louisville. There was one at the Westminster agility show. It's clearly a thing now so expect all the Big Name US people to start coming out with articles and videos and junk on how to do backside jumps. ;P

    So no, I don't think once you've got foundations down it's all smooth sailing, LOL. But it DOES make it easier than if you didn't have solid foundation work... if that makes sense.
     
  17. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Agreed 1-2 yrs for the most part but a lot depends on the team. General rule is the faster and more driven the dog, the longer it takes because both the handler and the dog need a higher skill set to deal with that speed. People that are on their 2nd + agility dog that have competed, well that is a different story and doesn't count lol.
    People with Steady Eddies can usually trial sooner, dogs that keep pace with their handlers. Fast enough to make time but not so fast that the handler can't keep up with them. They also tend to have a high Q rate as well right from the start.

    Students that tend to progress faster are the ones that take a group class and a private lesson each week. Having a working spot at a seminar with a world class trainer is also great and helps to get you there faster.

    One of the main things is to figure out what works (handling method) best for you and your dog and then get consistent with it :)

    One last thing, everyone from the pure novice to the world champs struggle with something at one point or another. Worrying or comparing yourself to others is often demotivating and should be avoided at all costs. Because the dogs do pick up on it and then their performance suffers because they start to worry when we are not pleased or happy.

    Good agility is hard, even if someone else makes it look easy. Therefore it can't be learned by the dog or the handler without mistakes. Where we blow it is when those mistakes happen and our response to them. Instead of being disappointed or upset, welcome them. Bobbles should be viewed as training challenge, a failure is only a failure when we get upset or give up :)
    Having said that, sometimes it is best to stop when things go wrong and move on to something that we know we can be successful doing. That problem can be tackled again, the next day or the next week with a fresh perspective. Because that problem could just be the handler or the dog getting caught in a pattern or loop of doing the same thing with the same results.

    Good luck and have fun!!
     
  18. ruffiangirl

    ruffiangirl New Member

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    Diesel went to his first after six one hour classes, and got 5 points in barrelers, in ECG, but NADAC has a bunch of ground level only stuff so he didn't have to know weaves or the wall or bridge. Which is also why I'm able to start Gage at age 7 and giant in some agility, he can do the ECG stuff and the new first level of agility.
     
  19. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    It was a long time. We started in January of 2009 and went to our first trial in December 2010 (so 2 years)...and it was a disaster. I have a dog who upstresses and is extremely reactive to fast moving dogs. We Q'd a run our first trial (somehow), and didn't Q again for 8 months.

    I always joke that we could have Q'd any trial where Lucy was the only dog entered. The courses were cake at a novice level, she had no obstacle issues, and not to toot my own horn, but I was darn good at figuring out appropriate handling. The problem was we weren't the only dog, and we never were going to be! We went to bazillions of run throughs, but it just wasn't close enough to mimicking the atmosphere at a trial.

    It took until the end of 2012 (so 3 years from when we started) to really get into a rhythm. We found a super small trial venue where she saw some success, and it built from there. Lucy has now been training for about 5 years, and we are consistently Q-ing about 80-90% of our runs, and the NQ's are my fault now, not because she's stressed out.

    So...a long time!!
     
  20. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    Frag was training for about 10 months before our first competition. He didn't Q though, because he's a bar dropper, and he didn't enjoy it enough to make me stick with it.

    Recon started classes around 4 months old, and we bumped his jumps up to 20" at a year and started trialing at 14 mos, I believe? So that was about 10 months as well.
     

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