Just for fun - not competing? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Just for fun - not competing?

I know a lot of people get their dogs into various sports to compete, but do any members here do it just for fun and to keep their dogs busy at home?

I built an agility course in my backyard for Crios. I got Crios from a person that purchased him based on looks alone. They promoted him as a Shepski, (just as bad as a labradoodle imo). The female was full AKC registered GSD. Male was half GSD, half Husky. Crios is alllll Husky. Hyper drive doesn’t even begin to touch on his drive. Off switch is almost not there at all.

While trying to figure out a way to get his energy focused, get him worked in a way that is both physically and mentally stimulating to finally get to that off switch, I started building obstacles, jumps, tunnels, teeter todder, scent boxes, just basically anything to wear down his energy. We have great fun doing it together, and I love to play around with new ideas for the course based on what he accomplishes. I only need to run it with him once, and he gets it right away, and I can have him run it perfectly by himself after that initial run when I mix things up.

I have no desire to compete, it’s just something we both have a lot of fun with, and it keeps him from destroying the house and yard out of boredom.

Seiran has taken a liking to a mini course I setup for her. Which helps immensely when she gets her zoomies going on. Hers is inside the house though, she can’t handle the heat outside yet.

Does anyone else do competition type activities just for the enjoyment of it, without actually competing? I’d love to share pics and videos of what we do with other people that do any sport just for the fun of the sport, at home. See pics, videos of your dogs going to work. Have someone to toss ideas around with, without having to know all the correct terminology and form that goes along with competing in those areas. I don’t want to learn all the verbiage and proper techniques (not that I’m not amazed at those who do!), I just want to have fun and work off excess energy, but my ideas have begun to get a little stale.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 06:41 AM
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I started NoseWorks via NACSW for several reasons the first being for fun. Competition isn’t my thing or so I thought. Lol. The further along we got (not very far ). The more I challenged us for our personal best. It wasn’t about competing with other teams but improving our personal best.

The thing about trialing and/or taking classes is that there have been so many positives that reach far outside the completions aspect of it that we have benefitted from.

We started when we just finished group obedience classes that helped me work through his dog reactivity/aggression. I needed a structured activity that I knew he would like and that put him in a controlled environment that allowed us to practice our manners and new skills.

I am a bit introverted but even with that, I enjoyed the interactions that it provided with other owners. It broadens your network of people who have a love for dogs and are like minded. I met his Physical Therapist that we are working with now through NACSW. An amazing woman. I found our incredibly wonderful vet, heard of her from a facility that is involved in NoseWorks. I never would have found these two had we never started the sport.

I also would never have experienced that amazing strength of focus that a team has for each other. The moments when all jitterbug nervousness knowing you're being watched and judged fades to nothing and forgotten because all your focus is on each other. It is quite the experience and addicting.

A lot of nevers I’ve I hadn’t.

Go for it!

Edit: I just realized you weren’t asking about whether or not to compete but rather looking to see if others do an activity on their own. Yup I do that also. When he was younger my back yard was littered with diy agilities made from whatever was on hand. 4 large trash barrels and a large sheet/tarp made for an awesome tunnel etc.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"

Last edited by Heartandsoul; 07-18-2019 at 06:51 AM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 08:24 AM
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I took some rally classes with Asher after we had taken all the other obedience classes several times at that facility. It was fun. I didn't go out of my way to tell the trainer that I probably wouldn't be able to compete, they talked about competition, but no one ever pressured us to. They were all really nice. I work on the weekends and have two small kids, I don't remember the last time I had a full day to travel and do only things that I want to do, haha. They also had agility classes on the other side of the fence that were open to anyone as long as you did the prerequisite classes. Depending on the sport, the class, and the trainer, I imagine you could be as competitive or (not) as you wanted to be. There might be some very serious clubs/trainers in some sports that don't want to waste their time on non-serious folks, but I imagine that you could feel them out in a few email conversations and move on if that's the case. It seems to me, a lot of owners get involved in dog-sports to give their dogs a job to do and not necessarily just to get titles. You might even find you enjoy the competition later on. I would love to get involved in a dog-sport later on, when my kids are older, and if I am ever not working weekends. Particularly nose-work or tracking (unfortunately, never found anything close enough to me). If it stopped being fun though, I wouldn't do it.

Last edited by sebrench; 07-18-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 08:40 AM
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Yes, I did backyard obedience and agility for years. I remember a trainer friend of mine saying "you should really be competing her" and I was like meh. No thanks.

Fast forward...she retired as a SD and got depressed so we went to a rally trial because it was something I could shine her up and take her to do and it made her feel like she was still working. We got totally hooked.

I've been competing 3 dogs in 4 different sports fir a few years now. BUT we still absolutely only train and compete for fun. We get to go places in the rv...test our skills ubder different circumstances, cheer on dog nerd friends. I don't feel any different based on how we score. It's fun to win but at the end of the day who cares. My old dog...I've told her she won and made a big to do over her even when we NQed because I walked by a rally sign and didn't do it.

The next level up is just something new to work on so we don't get bored.

My puppy just had his first obedience run and when we were coming out of the ring people clapped for him because he was cute and it was like the happiest moment of his life, waggling around looking at everybody lol.

Fun and enrichment and learning more about my dogs and how to communicate with them are my reasons. I totally believe it improves our lives and relationship and that's why we do it.

So don't sell yourself short....I'd give anything to go back and have done so many more fun things with my girl in her prime than I did.

Last edited by Thecowboysgirl; 07-18-2019 at 08:45 AM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 09:17 AM
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Totally missed the point. Back yard barrel fun. Send around, puzzle where ball is in between the two barrels and he has to remove the first one and if ball doesn’t roll out has to go inside a bit to get it, has to figure a way to tip barrel over to get the ball. Probably shouldn’t have done it in the snow but he is very good at getting out of the way til the barrel settles, I did this a lot to encourage confidence with noisy stuff that tended to startle him. It helped a lot. Send around pic didn’t load.

One thing I’ve found is that if I also incorporate self discipline exercises in with the fun along with getting him amped up for the signal to start, it seemed to help with settling chilling.
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Sabis mom likes this.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"

Last edited by Heartandsoul; 07-18-2019 at 09:20 AM.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 09:25 AM
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Oh boy gotta go, but the barrel games were also incorporated with “find it” and it made him use his brain just as much if not more than his physical energy.. I did have to use his highest valued ball to get him motivated enough to go into the barrel for the ball. First time
Was really hard for him, the tipping it off the tractor was the easy part.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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@Heartandsoul, thank you! Exactly the kinds of things I was looking for. I’m trying to upload videos to YouTube to share, but can’t figure it out. I’ll have to have DH show me when he gets home 🤣.

The reason for not wanting to compete or seek out clubs is because I’m next level introvert. As in, even if it’s a family member, and a visit wasn’t arranged, and they try a drop in, I just won’t answer the door. I don’t go to family events with DH, because the thought of it sends me down an anxiety spiral, and I break out in hives. When we take the pup to the vet, DH chats everyone up, asking questions about their dogs, just being a normal human I guess. When I take her, I sit quietly, don’t engage with other dog owners there, and if one starts talking to me, I give brief answers that leaves no room for additional questions. For example:

Q) Oh, why is the poor guy wearing a muzzle, she’s too young to be in a muzzle.

A) broken jaw

Q) oh no, how did that happen?

A) doggie door

At that point, they either realize I have no peopling skills and no desire to have a conversation, or they prattle on about this cousins dog who had a broken jaw, and we did this and this and that, and you should try this and this and that. I just stay disengaged, and they normally walk away thinking I’m a total B. Which is A okay with me! Can’t stand small talk, don’t want to engage with strangers.

I’ve always been able to flip it on for work, because I was a single parent for most of my boys life, and then again for most of my girls lives, and I didn’t have a choice. But I would be mentally exhausted and drained by the time I would get home.

So now I just blabber all over a dog forum for human interaction, and vomit replies that are chapter books, because it’s a comfortable way for me to engage without having to actually engage, if that makes sense.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 10:25 AM
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For agility at home, if you have a handful of jumps, the Alphabet Drills look deceptively simple - but doing them well, with different types of crosses, can keep you busy for quite a while.

Here’s the (free) map for all of them. If you are interested in more challenging handling, the book from clean run goes into greater detail.


A good number of people at our agility club (maybe 25%) only train for their own enjoyment. Another 25% only compete at our own club’s events. The other half, give or take, have more competitive goals. It’s fun, either way.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 12:13 PM
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First, for me the sport needs to be fun for the dog. Most sport clubs that I have worked in want to see you compete - the good thing with DVG now is that you can compete in just one of the three components if you want. So if your dog and you can't figure out tracking, you can do obedience & protection etc.

Right now, my dogs haven't been at a trial for over a year. We work to get better and to have fun. In the still-agile pup, the jumps seem to be almost a reward themselves. We may never get the routine anywhere close to perfected for competition but hey...

I have met people who work their dogs just for the fun of it for them and the dogs.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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I have a blast working Crios on the agility course out back! He is pure grace, beautiful to watch, and is so very very fluid. He gets excited when I walk towards the fence, because he knows he’s going to get to do all his fun climbing, jumping, running, etc. I have found lately though that unless it’s a new challenge for him, he just does it because he’s there. Like the excitement is gone and he’s just going through the motions. I want him to be able to enjoy it every time, so I started switching it up so he enjoys it too, I just know I’m going to hit a block wall with ideas eventually. And with how hot it is now, it will be awhile before we can do outside work anyway. I just wanna get a jump on ideas for changing it up for him.

I built everything with a little brain power from DH, so he has jumps at different heights, tunnels, rings to jump through, a teeter totter, a balance beam, different height boxes to jump from one to the other to get to a platform with a ramp going down. We have 6 scent boxes, sometimes used for distraction, and other times used for actual scent work. I tell him to leave it and run the course, or do a recall mid course and tell him to find it. I obviously hide them before he’s allowed in 🤣.

He’s happiest when he’s at the farm, but we can’t move there full time until DH’s daughters graduate. So we go as often as we can, but my mother is still there as well, and my dogs terrify her and our relationship is like oil and water so we don’t go as often as we’d all like to go. We are heading up there today for 6 days because mom will be in Oregon for a family reunion. So at least he will get some cooler weather, and some acreage to run as much as he wants. And of course all the ground squirrel chasing, trying to dig out gophers, giving the barn cats a run for their money. You know, just being a typical free roam dog!
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