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Discussion Starter #1
My dog just finished his rally excellent on Sunday. While I am sorta sad that we have finished the rally titles, I am not sure that I am interested in trying to get an RAE. The sheer cost alone depresses me.

Has anyone gotten one? Any opinions on whether or not it was rewarding and worth it?

Thanks!
 

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I don't now...but plan on it eventually. I was hoping the AKC was going to revamp the RAE to that Grand Master Rally Champion or whatever it was going to be called. That new and improved title was going to be applied to their VCD1 which I really wanted to get without having to get into tracking. They didn't revamp the RAE which bummed me out.

So, the game plan is for me to use the RAE as a retirement thing for Lars. Right now we're so busy in agility and obedience, I would rather spend my entry fees on that stuff. Not to mention, I find that rally tends to screw up my end of handling for heeling. My eyes and head are not consistent for cueing Lars when I'm looking at signs and such. So, until he's done with his upper end obedience work, I'll go back and get the RAE.

If you're not doing any other dog sport...go for the RAE. I know people who have their RAE3. There are other venues too like UKC and APDT rally as well. APDT rally has all sorts of neat awards and titles for their rally.
 

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We also just finished our Grad Novice title and are ready to earn our CDX. He is in open in jumpers and standard agility and I expect to move up to excellent before June. (A new coach has helped tremendously.) I am hoping to get into the MACH chase. So, there are plenty of places to put my money...

I like your idea of saving it for a retirement activity although I will admit that I NEVER want this dog to retire! He's a blast!
 

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hello trainingjunkie:

I'm so glad to see someone here who has put both agility titles and obedience titles on their dog. A while back, a senior member here said that a dog trained in obedience would have a lot of problems doing agility. When I objected to that statement - based on my personal acquaintance with both VCD dogs and with MACH/UDX dogs - I was subject to some pretty snippy responses. You've probably heard some of that yourself , e.g., 'dogs that compete in obedience have no drive' or 'dogs that are trained for obedience are "leash-dependent" and can't work off-leash'.

Generally, you hear that sort of thing from handlers who washed out of obedience training with their dogs for one reason or another. But I was nice and didn't say anything like that even though I knew those statements to be total BS.

Also, I'm glad you mentioned the issues with "rally heeling" and "obedience heeling", which I think can be a real problem. I know a few handlers who compete in both at high levels, but they all tend to insist on 'over-performance' in rally. That is, they basically do obedience-type heeling over the rally course. Some dogs can obviously do that, but I think that for some dogs that could be quite stressful.

I also know many handlers with agility and/or obedience titles on their dog(s) who move on to rally as a 'veteran' activity (I wouldn't say a retirement activity). Competing in most of the rally classes is much easier on the joints and muscles of an older dog, especially a large breed, than is obedience - not to mention agility.
 

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My dog just finished his rally excellent on Sunday. While I am sorta sad that we have finished the rally titles, I am not sure that I am interested in trying to get an RAE. The sheer cost alone depresses me.

Has anyone gotten one? Any opinions on whether or not it was rewarding and worth it?

Thanks!

I'm not familiar with RAE. I had to look it up. This is cool!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have run into a couple of challenges doing both agility and obedience, but they are mostly amusing and not serious. My AmStaff, for instance, sometimes will shriek when going from front to finish left. He loves the swing and gets pretty excited. He has never done this in the ring, but will frequently do it in warm ups. It always gets me dirty looks! Also, on a recall, he comes in like a bullet. It's scary to stand there and trust him to dump off speed to get stopped before crashing into me. (He never has hit me.) And when heeling in fast time, he sometimes hops a lot out of excitement. While these things are not typical in obedience and some trainers consider them problems, other people tell me how much fun it is to watch him work. In novice and grad novice, he has never scored lower than a 193, so again, not serious. When I toss the dumb bell, his tongue literally curls and his lower jaw bouces and he trembles. Looks pretty nuts. But he always gets the dumb bell! This juice is likely fatal to any OTCH dreams, but it shouldn't prevent me from earning titles or even wins in the A ring especially.

In agility, I have to be careful about eye contact and saying his name. He will drop bars if I ask for attention when he's over a jump. I had to teach him not to stare at me on course. Again, a challenge, but one that was trainable, lots of targets and forward tossed rewards. My obedience work has given me very nice start lines and control. I have never had a "Zoomie" dog and my amstaff can focus like crazy. We once had a rabbit run through a ring at an indoor trial while we were competing and my dog kept working. My amstaff is a very fast dog. He has broken a weave pole and taken down the tire jump and has barrel-rolled off of the dog walk. This isn't a trotter. I needed to find a good coach to help me with handling skills because all of my dog's ugly moments were the result of unclear handling and my failing to cue collection. That failure on my part was dangerous to my dog. I am growing as a handler and having fewer heart-stopping moments. (and less massage therapy and chiropractic work on my poor dog!)

I think that if I really wanted to be the best, I would need to chose. But not to just be competitive. And I probably lack the discipline to be really competitive anyway, so what's the harm in cross training. I love it, my dogs love it, and no one else is impacted by my choice.

In rally, I expected obedience heeling. I also handled nearly silently. Still, I think rally really screws up good heeling by adding so many doodles. However, good heeling really amps up a rally score! We did very well in it. My dog moves SO fast that we often won our excellent B classes. That was always a little baffling. All we had to do was hit the 100 and we always won on time. Sometimes I felt a little bad about that because there would be dogs in there who were more technically correct and better obedience dogs, but they weren't as fast. In rally, they don't take away 1/2 point deductions, so a fast dog who was close to correct could beat a dog who was prefect but slower. But thats rally. When I think about an RAE, part of me is interested in trying because the wins are sort of fun, especially with an off-breed like an amstaff. And now some trials are giving out High Combined awards for rally. I love those gorgeous ribbons and suspect that the only ring that I will be able to earn them in is the rally ring. We are both too random and lack the attention to detail to get them in the obedience ring! And that's not likely to change.

My amstaff is my first performance dog. Before him, I hadn't ever been in a show ring. I had 5 CGCs and 2 TDI therapy dogs, but that's different. I am learning as I go and having a lot of fun. Any failure's are mine. My dog is honest and biddible and joyful. There is so much to learn and I am so new to all of it. My dog is utterly forgiving and totally driven. The drive can be over the top, but it is also a great tool. I can drill something new 50 times in a row and he's still happy to do it. Flip side, he can lose his mind with over-excitement. It's been a journey and there's a whole lot of road ahead.
 

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hello trainingjunkie:

I'm so glad to see someone here who has put both agility titles and obedience titles on their dog. A while back, a senior member here said that a dog trained in obedience would have a lot of problems doing agility. When I objected to that statement - based on my personal acquaintance with both VCD dogs and with MACH/UDX dogs - I was subject to some pretty snippy responses. You've probably heard some of that yourself , e.g., 'dogs that compete in obedience have no drive' or 'dogs that are trained for obedience are "leash-dependent" and can't work off-leash'.
I truly disagree with that statement. I've just now started to really harness Lars' drive in obedience now that he's four. He's always been like heeling with an atomic bomb with the fuse lit. You can see the electricity crackling off of him...and that made for some pretty intense obedience run thrus and judges saying "You've got a lot of dog there" LOL

And the guy who went High in Trial obedience over the weekend ran in NADAC agility two weekends ago. In Elite Tunnelers...he clocked at 7 yards per second. Yeah...a rottweiler running at 7 YPS. He took first place and blew away border collies and aussies in his 20+ division. (The shelties edged Lars out at 7.25 YPS for the fastest dog in Tunnelers that day)

I would laugh until I passed out if someone tried to tell me that obedience would screw up Lars' agility and agility would screw up Lars' obedience. I sure that may be the case for some dogs....but not all dogs.
 
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