Congratulations on joining a really fun dog sport. Do go to some trials to see what goes on. They donít offer a critique like Schutzhund and IPO but you can get a feel of what it takes to participate successfully.
I have a very high drive Australia Shepherd. We went to classes for quite awhile. As well as practiced at home and various other locations.
The first year I went to 6 or 7 trials. In every one there were multiple perfect scores with elapsed time deterring the winning order. All that passed received ribbons.
Each trial had at least one trainer from the various training centers we go to. I thought they would be the instant winners however that was not the case several did not pass mostly due to handler errors. One trial had 6 perfect scores out of 18 entrants. All at least passed.
Being in competitive events most of my life I began working not only on perfection but speed. This involved knowing each sign and proper entry and exit on to the next. It can be a little confusing until you actually try them. I set several signs in various orders to practice correct handle moves as well as dog moves. It helps to have a dog that is really focused on you. Quick sits, stands, and positions from motion are important too. My Aussie can run really fast and we worked on change of speeds as you can lose much time here. We also worked on doing the signs fast. Quick sits, position changes, call to front, and finishes both left and right.
By the time I felt ready for the first trial we were able to score perfect nearly every time if I didnít mess up. My Aussie was like a Mal in a smaller package. Our elapsed times were plenty good enough for wins.
Then I got injured in a fall at home that has has taken me out of this altogether.
Since you are just starting be aware that many classes are based on run through with individual help. Most of your training is up to you. Get a full set of signs so you can practice. Do practice at various locations. We found it helpful to go to ongoing obedience classes to practice moves. We did the class work too but added our own things. Healing and being around other dogs is important. Healing backwards and back steps and side steps are something you donít see in classes but itís fun to add your own.
Have fun and good luck.
Tron GSD SCH III, AD, TD. Never to be forgotten buddy
SCH III Club
Samantha, Australian Shepherd, rescued , loves everyone