Trialing? When did you start? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Trialing? When did you start?

So Sprocket and I are only 3 weeks into our 6 week beginner Rally class, but we're having a blast! I was talking to our teacher last night about my long-term aspirations of RAE and UDX titles. She's teaching a novice obedience class in the same time slot after the rally classes end. She was very supportive, and will be helping me in our novice classes (rally & obedience) solidify foundations to make it easier to go on.

Then she was saying that if I'm serious about getting a Utility Dog title, I should consider training for three years, and once we can do the Utility exercises solidly, THEN enter novice-level trials. (Of course you can trial as you go, she said, but you risk making mistakes that you have to un-teach your dog later)

I totally understand her argument to wait to trial, but... I want the extra motivation/feedback of trialling along the way. I'm confident Sprocket can do it, I always struggle with getting bored with the "finishing" parts of things. How do I keep it fun for both of us?

What have you done? What level of exercises were you working on/proofing/etc. when you started trialing? How long did you find you have to work to solidly learn the stuff for RAE or UDX?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 10:16 AM
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I'd work with your instructor BUT if you were thinking of starting with Rally don't think you need a 3 year wait.

And I'd also work with her to go to trials just to socialize your dog starting now. The atmosphere of a trial, and the routine we go thru to get to a trial, plus everything else involved can have a huge impact on how your dog (and you) behave when you do start trialing.

It will also allow you to see what's involved in a rally trial and how comfortable YOU have to feel with your dog before you enter. I know I want to have fun at a dog show WITH my dog. Not necessarily demanding perfection but know we are a work in progress. What happens at a trial just gives me information on what to do in class and practice.

That said, I need to know we do have the basic skills down and trained properly. Rally isn't nearly as demanding with the 'perfection' skills so you can enter earlier and not feel you've messed up your dog for all future training.

THOUGH>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I have to say............................

Why are you wasting any time in obedience when you should be doing AGILITY!???




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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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I started the backwards route. Since rally was only available on Friday nights at our club I started with obedience. We got our BN title just to figure out what a trial is like and like you said, get that motivation from doing great. I started rally a few months ago, and just now found a trial in the area so we will be getting his RN soon. It's a breeze compared to the obedience. Our club kind of requires you to climb the ladder in trialing in order to advance in obedience training. Like to move from novice to advanced (more open type stuff) you have to have at least one leg towards your CD (or complete an achievement trial at the club at the novice level) and your dog must pick up a dumbbell.

I like doing it this way because its always fun beating dogs that are way older than mine. People are amazed when you have a young dog that loves doing what you tell him to do. Considering its my first dog, I'm just learning the ropes. I really think you should get yours used to the trialing/show atmosphere though, I can't tell you how many times I've seen dogs fail in that type of environment when they do it perfectly at training.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 10:58 AM
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Personally there is NO WAY I would wait that long. The least reason is that what if you train that long, and discover that your dog HATES trialing? (It happens.)

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
I'd work with your instructor BUT if you were thinking of starting with Rally don't think you need a 3 year wait.

...

That said, I need to know we do have the basic skills down and trained properly. Rally isn't nearly as demanding with the 'perfection' skills so you can enter earlier and not feel you've messed up your dog for all future training.

THOUGH>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I have to say............................

Why are you wasting any time in obedience when you should be doing AGILITY!???
Looong story, but I really really want to do agility, and I think Sprocket would love it. I wanted to start classes with the new year - he's never done any classes, so I knew that environment alone would be a challenge. However, he's familiar with most of the contact obstacles (not teeter), so I figured that would give him a leg up in an intro agility class.

Then I did research... and basically the only club I could find that does agility in the winter (ie. has an indoor facility) wasn't offering intro classes in the evenings or weekends. All their intro classes that started in January were smack in the middle of the day on a week day. I work 7am-4pm, and the club meets 40 minutes away.

So... I started with Rally - because it just generally seemed like more fun than obedience. This is with a different club though, and they keep pushing novice obedience (which I consider because I really like my instructor, and they don't offer advanced rally classes). But now I'm seeing that there are new intro agility classes at the other club starting about when our rally class ends, and agility has always been more enticing to me...

I think Rally's a lot of fun, and I would like to trial in it (for experience, if nothing else). I'm less excited about focusing on perfect heeling, etc. in novice obedience. I think Sprocket would enjoy the new challenges of agility... maybe that's what we try next. Way to talk me into it MRL!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 02:19 PM
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You can always start doing some matches rather than official trials! That way you get your dog (anf yourself) used to doing shows but with much less stakes and pressure.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 09:33 AM
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With my youngest I put a Nov. Rally and Adv Rally on her at 16 months, Wasn't the prettiest Qs but I was at the point that I just had to put a title on the end of her name. Now I'm taking my time getting her ready for regular Obed. and if she can gain more focus we will be ready for agiliy trials soon. For Obed. I plan on training thru Utility before we set foot in the Novice ring.
I do feel it was to our advantage just to get out to shows, I do spend a lot of time at shows with my young dogs, not entered just hangin out. Helps to prevent or lessen the stress of showing.

Judy Sheaffer
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 11:12 AM
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I'm glad you're having a blast with rally. Rally is my favorite!

Timber is my first competition dog. It started with getting the canine good citizen certificate at about 1 1/2 years old. I wanted to try something new and rally looked like it would be fun. I took a class and ended up buying my own rally kit so I could practice. Timber was about 2 1/2 years old when we went to our first trial. I knew then that I was hooked. I wanted more!!

I then focussed on getting the CD title, which we did before he turned 3. Then it was back to training. I focussed on rally. We got our RA and RE and 1 leg for the RAE this summer. Timber was just over 4 years old.

I know it's taken us a long time, but I did my own training with the help of books and youtube videos. I just started working with a trainer this fall because training for the CDX was beyond my capabilitites.

Anyway, I wouldn't want to train for 3 years without going to trials. I'd burn out. Trials help me to focus on a goal. I enjoy training and strive to reach my goal. I go to a trial when I feel like we're ready. We've done pretty well as a team. Earning the titles and usually placing feels like our reward for the work we have done. It's an awesome feeling.
That's what keeps me going.

I'm hoping to get our CDX title this spring or early summer and my heart races at the thought of training for UD. I never thought I'd have a dog like Timber, let alone me being able to train him.

I'm sure you and Sprocket will make a great team! Good luck to you both.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 02:34 PM
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Singe earned 2 legs of his RN title at just 2 days past 6 months old. As someone said, not the prettiest qualifying runs, but I'll take them! It's been a busy winter and we haven't been able to get out to try for that last leg.

One thing I know is that you can't simulate the atmosphere of a trial. Just taking the dog out and using the time to get him familiar with the noise and hustle is worth the $$.

I read something similar to what your trainer is advocating, though. The idea is that learning is stressful on the dogs so you want to get all the training out of the way first. That way, you aren't trying to teach the utility exercises while trialing the dog in Beginners or Novice. I think it comes down to whichever approach works best for you and your dog. If you have a dog that gets very anxious when learning something new, then that might be a good approach. Of course, the author was also focusing on the best ways to get perfect scores in obedience.
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