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sechattin 03-27-2014 03:24 PM

Not a "sport prospect"?
My pup, Kaiju, is now 9 months old and has done beginner through advanced obedience so a couple months ago I started him on agility basics at a training center. I'm definitely very interested in the sport, but I'm still a newbie - really don't know too much about it, never trained a dog in it, didn't even know it existed until a couple years ago.

He was doing well in foundations, but when the class moved on to actually learning the obstacles, we sort of got relegated to the back of the class and never really got to put in any practice time on the obstacles. When I talked to the trainer leading the class about it, she told me that it was because Kaiju is not a "sport prospect". When I asked her why, she said in no uncertain terms that my shepherd would not be able to keep up with a collie or aussie and suggested I move to the "casual" agility class.

Needless to say, I was pretty miffed. Am I just in over my head? Is it unrealistic to want him to compete seriously against the collies and aussies that inundate the agility world?

I've since moved to a different center and at 9 months he's easily sailing though tunnels, short jumps, tires, across dog walks and the like. And the trainer I'm currently working with says he certainly has the drive to work. The speed apparently is something that will likely show later when he grows out of the super awkward puppy stage he is in now. Thoughts, comments?

hunterisgreat 03-27-2014 03:29 PM

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Keep doing what you're doing. Train in your chosen venue to see the picture that you want to see. Who cares if every Aussie or Collie ends up faster. Say "I'll show up with my GSD and you'll all remember us because we were fast for a GSD".

DJEtzel 03-27-2014 03:33 PM

That's very odd. I would be finding a new trainer. Sounds like she competes with collies and doesn't think any other breeds are good enough.

I train/compete with a GSD *AND* a Border Collie. Just because they aren't as fast doesn't mean they aren't sport candidates/can't do it and win. Most don't jump the same height as collies/aussies anyway.

He will definitely speed up once drive training is added after he knows all of the obstacles and sequences closer to two years for a larger dog. You're not in over your head at all!

Merciel 03-27-2014 04:39 PM


Originally Posted by sechattin (Post 5279274)
Am I just in over my head? Is it unrealistic to want him to compete seriously against the collies and aussies that inundate the agility world?

It depends how you define "compete seriously."

All else being equal (health, fitness, handler's skill, etc.), you're probably not going to beat a BC in agility with a GSD. The sport is pretty much made for BCs.

I think your trainer's attitude was pretty rude, but I've encountered the same attitude among the most Seriously Serious in the sport. If you're coming to them with an "off breed," there are some instructors who will be dismissive of your team. It's the same in any sport, though. Show up with a Doberman at an IPO club and you might encounter the same attitude. Bring a bull terrier to a competition obedience class and prepare for scoffing. If you have an even slightly "off breed" in your sport, some people are going to be dismissive about it, because some people are just jerks.

My advice is to ignore them. If you like the sport and your dog likes it and you're enjoying the work, then keep going. Find another instructor who has the sense to welcome a newbie into the sport. Keep training. Compete if you want to compete, but remember that the purpose of the sport is to develop a partnership between yourself and your dog. As long as you're both out there enjoying yourselves and working as a team, IMO, you have won.

hunterisgreat 03-27-2014 04:41 PM

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Ironically I used to decoy a border collie in IPO lol... same thing but flipped

Lilie 03-27-2014 04:45 PM

I call Pooh Pooh! I'm glad you are going to a different trainer. This is all about you and your dog. What a great challenge you have now! One day, you'll be competing against her students. Smack them good!!!!

wolfstraum 03-27-2014 04:47 PM

talk to Willy Demis - he does agility with a of mine competes and does pretty well too! And I have seen some other GSDs doing agility There is no way that a trainer should just judge you on the dogs breed....I don't know enough about the sport as far as competition levels and tournaments etc...but very rarely does anyone with their first dog in ANY sport go to a National or World level and be among the top winners.....worst case scenerio, you decide to add anohter dog of another breed so you CAN be competitive at high levels - but you will learn a great deal about training and a sport with your first dog - regardless of the sport or the breed.


Baillif 03-27-2014 04:49 PM

Some dogs just aren't quick and flashy and destined to be competitive in sports like that regardless of breed. It might just be an honest assessment of the dog. Doesn't mean the dog can't do it for fun. Some dogs are explosive for cues naturally some are on the cusp of being there and can be made that way. Not all dogs can be "made" into super fast and flashy beasts. If that's what you want you have to go looking specifically for it.

KathrynApril 03-27-2014 04:50 PM

Wow that is pretty bad of the lady to act like that especially if you were paying them for the class. If you paid then I would think there should of been equal training time. Good to hear you changed centers. :)

Mikelia 03-27-2014 05:00 PM

A girl I trial with has a French bulldog who went to the AAC nationals last year. She had to place in regionals to be able to go. We have bernese mountain dogs, whippets, boston terriers and other non typical agility breeds that compete at our trials. Off breeds can do very well too. And I do not consider gsds to be an off breed. They are slower than a border collie but they are meant to work, no reason you can't earn titles. You won't likely ever make it to the worlds but who cares?
I have been trialing in AAC (agility association of Canada) with my border collie x and will be trialing my gsd this year. My agility instructor is very supportive of all breeds. Go for it!!!

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