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Discussion Starter #1
Frank is doing really well training for his CD, even over the winter when it's been hard to train he seems to be remembering things easily.
My question is he's my first GSD, he'll be a year old in April, I know each dog is different but as a general rule do GSD's mature enough to go into the ring at a year old, or will I be better off waiting even to the fall or next spring.
I know it's not an easily answered question since all dogs are different, I just don't want to push him to fast.
 

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I usually have my dogs go in to the rally ring at just under to just over a year old. But that is totally on lead. I train for that first. If you have been training for it and he is doing all the exersizes with distractions, other dogs present, than take him to a fun match and see how he does.

One of my puppies' owners had her pup go through a pre-novice judging as their obedience graduation. I was there. I think the puppy was about eight months old. He took second place and did very well. I was proud of him. But pre-novice is all on lead.
 

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have you had him out at matches or show n go s? how he does there would be my deciding factor as to his readyness for the show ring. Not his age.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone! I've been working with the Rally signs too, and I'm thinking about doing the Beg. Nov. first since it's all on leash. I'll probably do the Rally novice too.
I wasn't thinking about showing him so soon but I had him at a Show n go to test and see how our training was going in the novice work, and he really surprised me at how well he did. that club has a show n go each month so I'm going to try to go to all of them to see if it was a fluke or if he really is ready.
 

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It depends on the dog. My gal just turned a year; people in our training class have told me to go for it (we're entered for her CD in April) and I still don't think she's ready. She's perfect at home and at class, but the second she enters the ring she's like "OMG THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON" and she enters lala land. I know this because we completed our Pre-Novice and Rally Novice a month ago (she actually got DQ'd in one of her PCD legs haha).

But ever since then I've noticed an improvement... she seems less distracted, maybe it's her maturing or perhaps she's getting used to the environment. I don't think she was ready but I don't regret entering her in the last show because it was EXPOSURE for her and me (I'm new at competing, as I'm assuming you are?).

I suggest to take your pooch to a fun match, best way to gauge how he'll react when you have him in the ring. I try my hardest to make it to as many as I possibly can!
 

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My Girl is 15 months old, I'm starting her in rally first, her heeling for reg Obed, isn't where I want it to be yet.
 

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His age doesn't matter;if he's ready, he's ready. Take him to some fun matches and some run throughs and see how he does.
Competing for CD at less than a year of age is rather young, but I agree that if he seems ready then give it a try as long as it's a positive experience for him. But definatley try a fun match or two and /or 'run through' at someplace unfamiliar to him. It's a bit of a stressor for a dog that young to be competing, but then there are exceptions and he may be one.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We have our second fun match tomorrow, so I'm going to see how he does, his first one went really well. The place we have our fun match is also where there are 2 shows held this fall. I have 2 shows in May that I may show him at depending on how he does between now and then at the fun matches. Frank will be a year old the end of April.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It depends on the dog. My gal just turned a year; people in our training class have told me to go for it (we're entered for her CD in April) and I still don't think she's ready. She's perfect at home and at class, but the second she enters the ring she's like "OMG THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON" and she enters lala land. I know this because we completed our Pre-Novice and Rally Novice a month ago (she actually got DQ'd in one of her PCD legs haha).

But ever since then I've noticed an improvement... she seems less distracted, maybe it's her maturing or perhaps she's getting used to the environment. I don't think she was ready but I don't regret entering her in the last show because it was EXPOSURE for her and me (I'm new at competing, as I'm assuming you are?).

I suggest to take your pooch to a fun match, best way to gauge how he'll react when you have him in the ring. I try my hardest to make it to as many as I possibly can!

This is actually my second dog to compete with my first has his CD and I had to retire him after that, but he was 2 when he earned his RN and 3 when he earned his CD. Frank just seems to be so much further along then Indy was at his age. I dont' want to push Frank too fast but then I dont' want to hold him back either
 

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Leyna is doing her CD on her 11 month birthday in May. She is almost ready for it. We will go out there either way for at least experience.
 

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I dont think his age should matter. His readiness for the ring does. If he is handling the stress and distractions well, go for it. Use your match time wisely. I know in our practice matches we are allowed to encourage and treat. If you find yourself doing any of that, then he may not be ready. Ask people to make noise and walk their dogs close to the ring when you are in (if that is not already something that is happening). Matches and Show-n-goes are great for finding out where you need to fine tune and put distractions in for training. Yoko earned her CD in her first three trials, but we really were not that experienced at showing (first for both of us). We continued to show in Novice B while training for our CDX too.

Some people dont like to enter a trial unless they know they will earn a leg. I want my dog to be comfortable when trialing and the more we do it, the more she gets used to it. I get very nervous and she needs to work thru that.

When we went to trial for our CDX and she NQ'd at a couple trials, I knew we were not ready. So we started some serious proofing at training, and didnt enter any trials for a few months.

So to sum it up, I dont think age matters. Readiness for a trial does. And sometimes you dont know if they are ready (or you) until you go to that first trial.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I took Frank to another fun show today, he does all the exercises for the novice easily but I think he's still alittle too distractable to actually show.
I'll keep going to the fun shows like everyone suggested till I feel he's alittle more mature.
 

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Echo had her Rally Novice title in 3 trials at just under 18 months, then her CD and RA within 6 months after that. My sheltie earned her RN in 3 trials with scores of 98.5, 99, and 100 -- at the age of 14 months, being handled by my 13 year old son who had also never been in a ring before. It totally depends on the individual dog, not the age or breed.
 

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Echo earned her CGC and TDI at 13 months, her RN title at 17 months, and her CD and RA titles at 22 and 24 months, respectively. Age is far less an indicator than her willingness, ability to concentrate and maintain attention, and let us not forget: coordination! Our dogs will continue to go through "growing spurts" beyond 12 months; this can cause both mental and physical changes that can throw them (and us) "off" (for example, if your dog suddenly "spurts", he may be a bit uncoordinated while he adjusts, or he may have to learn to move his body differently to navigate the weaving cones, etc). Remember, trials should be FUN for dog and handler: if you guys are having fun, then you're on the right track.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I understand the uncoordinated part right now Frank is finding out how to move his rearend, so that his fronts and sits are straight. It's like his front end is where it's supposed to be but he's just learing to direct where the rearend goes.
 

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really depends on the dog and how well he's doing, my long-coat GSD female was entered for Novice at just over 6 months and had her CD by 1 year of age. She doesn't get phased by much and handled it very well. Most of my other dogs its a little over a year, and I also do Rally prior to entering for CD.
Good luck!
Amy
 
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