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Discussion Starter #1
Opal and I have been working towards competition for some months now. We're just getting ready to start intermediate agility, and I'd like to start competing with her fairly soon.

She'll probably be ready to start competing in the spring which is when our national specialty will be held. We would be entering in novice, and I'm doing it more for the experience of everything. I don't necessarily expect to qualify (although that would be awesome).

I guess I'm just trying to figure out how far we need to progress in classes before we can compete. If things keep going as they have been, we will probably make it to advanced I by spring.

Rally is alot easier then agility, especially for a novice title, so I'm not so worried about it. I had one lady tell me that she had taken her dog to some obedience courses and never taken a rally class and qualified the first time she competed.
 

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If you haven't already, start taking her to trials now. First, just go as an observer. Let her get used to all the activity and being around so many dogs. After this, if you have a friend who is actively competing, ask if you can set up a crate with them and get her used to being in a crate while you step away. You will need to leave her crated or with a friend when you walk the courses. Get her used to being in a crate while you volunteer to leash run or pole set. That would be good for both you and her. Next see if there are any fun runs in your area. Those are great places to start. If there is a CPE trial near you, that is a great first venue to start with. Level 1 CPE is shorter and less complicated than Novice AKC. There are no teeters or weaves in Level 1 CPE. Make everything fun, fun and more fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Cavalier!!!

I used to show her in conformation (we stopped because she's just not typey enough), so she's at least been exposed to the crazy show atmosphere. Dog shows are insane and will rattle even the most seasoned dogs at times, and she was pretty rattled at the big bench show we went to.

I will try to find a CPE trial and we'll go and see what happens! Thanks for the advice!!!!
 

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How long have you been training for? Weeks? Months? Years? You said "intermediate" and "advanced I", but different places have different classes with different names. I've never taken an "advanced" agility class, but I've been competing for nearly a year. Also, what kind of skills does she have? Can she weave consistently? 6 poles or 12? What about the other equipment? How's her start-line stay? Contacts? Discriminations? Does she ever get distracted and run off to sniff, play with other dogs, or get the zoomies? Is she 100% friendly with other dogs? (I ask this only because if the dog was DA or DR, I'd want to train much longer before competing - I've seen multiple situations arise at trials, and it's almost always a novice dog).

The rule of thumb I've usually heard is that most people will start trialing somewhere around a year after training begins. If you are an experienced handler or train very often (like you have a way to train regularly outside of class), then it may be less than a year. If you have a very fast dog, it may be more than a year. As a newbie handler with a fast (but very willing) dog, my first competition was 13 months after I began training, and Kit Q'ed in her very first run.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Let's see...

I'm a newbie myself at training, and I only know how things are at the facility where where we go...

Ummm...Opal isn't really reactive. She'd rather just ignore other dogs. She'd never run off and just start playing with another dog unless she really knew them well.


We've been training for...six months ish? Wasn't really planning on going to a trial until we had a few more classes under our belt, but I'm not opposed to trying it out.

We're in Beginners II and we're going to be in Intermediate I in January. I don't have the equipment yet, but my mentor does and we go over there on weekends.

She doesn't really weave consistantly yet, so no, I can't say that. The weave polls used in the class are spread far apart, but they have these little wires so that the dogs can't duck out of them. She drives through VERY well, but I don't think we'll start really "weaving" until Intermediate II.

I'm just happy she pushes through.

We also haven't done the teeter totter.

That's fine with me. I don't want to rush her.

She's very fast for a stubby legged chick and her drive is pretty intense for a newbie like me to work with. I'm not necessarily complaining as illustrating our problems as a team, and I know most of the problems are because I'm new.

Impulse control is a problem as is hitting the contacts (we're learning, "Hit it!" and I've had to force her to slow down).

We've done obedience training which has helped a bit in getting her under control and probably we will start working again in obedience before the national.

Thanks for your questions! I hope I gave enough info.
 
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