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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! We are getting ready to adopt our second GSD (mine died 3 yrs ago). I want to keep the new dog alert, active, etc. Unfortunately we have busy lifestyles (baseball in the spring, football in the fall, basketball in the winter time). Nonetheless, my 10 yr old boy wants another GSD and wants to be active training him, etc. With that said, I would love to be able to find a sport where we would not have the committment like search and rescue, but still be able to keep the dog working, active, etc. Any suggestions (besides obedience training)?
 

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Rally, Herding, Tracking, dockdiving, agility
 

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Agility! I'll bet your son would love it. Well, I guess you might know best.

However, I don't think a child could handle all the training involved. Not that it's hard, but it required dedication and care.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, I would definitely be the one doing it, but have my son participate if he wants to. I'm fearful of agility because my other GSD had an accident with his front paw, which torned his ligament. He was operated and ended up living for another 8yrs, but after that, I got scared to make him do anything that required jumping. Am I just paranoid? Are GSD that fragile? It was an accident (lots of snow on the ground and he went into a hole covered by snow and torned his ligament). But he loved frisbee and I often wonder if the ups and downs of catching a frisbee is what did him in???
 

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What about flyball?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is one sport safer than others (less chance of injuries)? I just want to keep the dog active and mentally challenged, but don't want the risk of injuries!
 

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Any dog breed can do agility. But the training is key. The dog needs to learn the proper way to use the equipment.

Obedience, especially Rally, are good to keep the mind exercised. My dogs love Rally, they like Obedience, also, but I can really see the difference. And people are impressed when you show them that your dog can walk backwards at your side. ;)
 

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Thanks! What is Rally?
 

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but after that, I got scared to make him do anything that required jumping. Am I just paranoid? Are GSD that fragile
My first dog Doerak had hip dysplasia not terrible, but there were days I could see the pain in his eyes. He still enjoyed doing activities, but I was careful to monitor how much. Even a dog with hip dysplasia is better off going for walks and runs than to sit around all day. Keeping hip muscles strong is important.

I also have a female who broke her elbow at 6 months old. She LOVES agility, I mean, you can't keep her off the equipment. So, she has some arthritis in her elbow, but I let her do enough agility to keep her happy.

Yes, sometimes dogs get hurt, just like people. Proper stretching, and conditioning works for dogs as well as people.
 

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Thanks! What is Rally?
Rally is a fun kind of obedience. It involves a course with 12 to 20 different stations. There are different levels of difficulty.

At every station you perform an obedience task, for example, sit your dog and walk around it, or, turn left, or figure 8. You can talk to the dog and encourge him on, give as many commands as you want, oh and you heel between the stations.

You have to try it to see how much fun it is.
 

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Hello! We are getting ready to adopt our second GSD (mine died 3 yrs ago). I want to keep the new dog alert, active, etc. Unfortunately we have busy lifestyles (baseball in the spring, football in the fall, basketball in the winter time). Nonetheless, my 10 yr old boy wants another GSD and wants to be active training him, etc. With that said, I would love to be able to find a sport where we would not have the committment like search and rescue, but still be able to keep the dog working, active, etc. Any suggestions (besides obedience training)?
AGILITY!!!!



 

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I could see where tracking would be boring...but man. You can't ask for a better schedule! You can fit it in whenever, and once you learn the basics I think it's pretty easy to work on your own, only visiting trainers to troubleshoot.

Agility and Rally are fun too. Rally is nice because it was originally designed as a venue geared towards pet owners who didn't want to do the more formal/stylized obedience titles.

This is a good PDF to check out from the AKC..
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/events/GOCET1.pdf
 

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I think Rally would be great too.

Agility is a lot of fun for dogs and people, but the chances of having an accident are greater in agility, there are a lot more jumps and there are obstacles the dog can fall off of, or jump off of wrong. I do not know what the incidents of dogs getting hurt are, I had 1 person, 1 time tell me that they will not do it because their dog broke its back. My guess is that, that was an extremely rare occurance. I was getting a puppy used to the equipment and we had a fall off the teeter and well, she didn't want any part of that again, but there was no injury.

Rally on the other hand, has no jumps until you reach advanced which has 1 jump, and excellent which has two. The highest jump height is 16 inches.

The neat thing about rally is that kids can compete in it. Some do very well. Some 4-H groups are doing rally. I have competed against kids in AKC shows.

Another neat thing is that positive training is encouraged. You can talk to your dog, pat your side (in novice and advanced), and do everything but touch your dog, to get it to complete the requirements. Harsh commands, or corrections will disqualify you. It is supposed to be fun for you and the dog.

Novice is done completely on lead. The lead must not be consistently tight, different judges strike points differently. For example one judge will make a mark every time they see the lead tighten. Another judge will be a little more lenient. The point is not to guide with the leash, but to use your voice and hand signals to get the dog to complet the tasks. The dog does not have to heel perfectly, but a dog that can has a solid advantage.

The shows may be the goal, but the real fun and bonding comes in the journey. A ten year old child who has the interest could train the dog himself with guidance from the parent. You can definitely train a rally competitor with a 45 minute class once a week for six or eight weeks, repeated once or twice if necessary; and about ten to fifteen minutes per day. It really does not take more than that. the child and the dog can become bored. Spend a few minutes each day working on stationary signs, and then a quick walk incorporating some of the turns and moving signs.

It also is good to train with distractions, inside, outside, outside on grass for downs, and once or twice in the rain.
 

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Agility is a lot of fun for dogs and people, but the chances of having an accident are greater in agility, there are a lot more jumps and there are obstacles the dog can fall off of, or jump off of wrong. I do not know what the incidents of dogs getting hurt are, I had 1 person, 1 time tell me that they will not do it because their dog broke its back. My guess is that, that was an extremely rare occurance. I was getting a puppy used to the equipment and we had a fall off the teeter and well, she didn't want any part of that again, but there was no injury.
I personally wouldn't use this as a reason to NOT do agility. I've trained 4 dogs now in agility and have had zero injuries that I can directly attach to anything I've ever done in agility. As long as you train at a good training location, safety is always a priority (now if you are doing it on your own in your yard, you are on your own!).

On the other hand, I can't even count the vet bills, stitches, broken toes and limping issues these SAME dogs have had just running in the yard, chasing each other, running in the woods, playing with other dogs.....

If I only had the dogs in the house, and only trained agility, I'd have saved a ton in vet bills! :wild:
 
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