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Discussion Starter #1
Jax isn't limping from her knee anymore, even with my stupid stunt that re-injured it, however she did have pain in her hip when being examined by the ortho and I know she has mild HD.

If this were your dog, would you continue her in agility at 4 years old or just move her over to obedience and tracking?

My concern is (1) putting more stress on her knee and continuing to re-injure it and (2) her hip obviously hurts her under exam so how much damage is being done with a high impact sport like agility?

Just looking for input from others before I make a final decision.
 

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Personally, if she 'hurts', and you see a refusal to jump, yes I would go to something less demanding, like obed/rally/tracking..

I had to make that decision many years ago with my first gsd, it killed me to do it, we were in the ex levels, but, I knew she didn't care what she did as long as she did it with me, so I retired her from agility.

I think removing them from something 'we' love hurts us more than it does the dog, emotionally anyway..
 

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If this were my dog and describing the same symptoms and asking you the same question, what would you advise me to do?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Personally, if she 'hurts', and you see a refusal to jump, yes I would go to something less demanding, like obed/rally/tracking..
She WAS, Diane. After she hurt her knee the first time. I"m not sure it was a refusal or just a nifty little trick she picked up but she was going UNDER the bars. Even when there was only 10" below the bar. Wish I would have had that one on video.

I don't really care about doing it because I like it so that really isn't in the equation. It's not like she got up one morning and said "hey...I'd like to do agility today"

My concern is doing something that is pounding on her body that will show up when she's 9 years old. She doesn't seem to hurt now.
 

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There was an article posted in some thread in the Agility section about retiring vs not retiring dogs in agility. If I recall correctly, at least for the author of the article, she saw her dogs health deteriorate after retiring them. According to the author, she no longer retires her dogs until the dogs "tell" her to do so. It might be a Trkman article, but I don't exactly remember.

That said- I would absolutely "listen" to the dog. If the dog is refusing to jump- game over. There are just WAY to many jumps in agility... In my opinion, a jump refusal is a pretty clear indication of a problem. (Side note- that's exactly how I confirmed Pimg had hurt her knee- a refusal on an 8" jump from the start line: plain as day.) However, if the dog seems to be jumping fine still, then I'd pay very close attention to the weave poles. I'm thinking that the weave poles (if executed with any kind of speed at all) are probably the most straining on a dog's joints. Sure, the contact performances are jarring, but the weave poles are putting massive twisting pressure on knees, elbows, hips, back, pretty much everything.

I guess in the end, if it were my dog, I'd keep them ultra fit and continue agility as long as my dog wanted. Hey- I might even keep doing agility while avoiding hard obstacles like contacts and weave poles. You know there are options there! I don't believe Jumpers in CPE has weave poles. Tunnelers in NADAC is just tunnels (I think). Snooker (in all venues) is full of choices...

I'd say as long as the dog is still enjoying jumping- then there are a lot of agility options.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wildo - good points but I"m not planning on retiring her and letting her veg. I'll move her over to different venue's that will give her an outlet for her energy without beating on her body.

And this isn't about whether or not she still wants to jump. The dog would jump anything I put in front of her if the mood struck her. This is about the impact of agility on her body given that I know she has mild HD and expressed pain when the ortho was pushing into her one hip under evaluation.
 

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Wonderful, well thought out answer from Willy.

If she is showing signs of wanting to stop, I'd stop. I'd also be careful of putting pressure on to do obstacles that could reinjure her.

Knowing Jax, I'd more more concerned about frisbee in the yard than the agility.
 

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Knowing Jax, I'd more more concerned about frisbee in the yard than the agility.
Or leaping 5' high from a field, across the ditch and into the road. I covered my eyes on that one. She's a wild child. :wub:
 

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And this isn't about whether or not she still wants to jump. The dog would jump anything I put in front of her if the mood struck her. This is about the impact of agility on her body given that I know she has mild HD and expressed pain when the ortho was pushing into her one hip under evaluation.
Sure, I agree 100%! In fact, my agility instructor would always hammer me about the responsibility we have to our dogs as agility practitioners. Our dogs will do anything we ask of them. They'd jump over the moon for us. They'd make the most crazy, insane, tight wrap out of a chute without question. There are a million and one ways for our dogs to hurt themselves in agility and it's absolutely our responsibility to look out for them and not ask them to do something dangerous. So as I said, for me it would be all about listening to the dog and seeing what the dog is saying about the impact of agility. I'd make my decision on that...
 

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If you decide to continue, make sure that she stays fit and trim. That eill help her to cope with the jumping better. And NO frisbee.
 

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If she tries going 'under' jumps to me she's avoiding.

Sami was the same way, she never ever knocked a bar her entire agility career. Going for her final leg on an EX course (and she jumped 24" at the time), she knocked the last bar. THAT told me right there, something's off, and I had been seeing off and on leg issues that the vets couldn't pinpoint. Long story short, she had OCD (knees), I had one repaired, went back to Nadac after a 6mth recovery, she did fine, but I worried about continuing, She was 7 years old, and that was that I pulled her.

I ended it. She would also do alot of "daring" things, that made me cringe, like the time she jumped a 6 foot horse jump:(( She was happy just being my sidekick after that, more hiking/swimming and just doing whatever she wanted at that point..definately keeping her slim trim and in good muscle tone
 

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Discussion Starter #15
She was doing that right after she injured her leg the first time. I have no idea if she would do that now. It's just one of those things that when I look back, it makes sense now why she was doing it. I just thought it was her and one of her funny quirky things she does.
 

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It's a hard decision with a dog only 4 yrs old.

Think I'd be looking at general health and fitness. Keeping her lean. The 'fitness' thing is the hard part and when we have to be the good investigators :)

Generally speaking, my dogs have much more physical activity when running around the yard and chasing each other. This is also when they get hurt...

So IF my dogs appear to be healthy and fit and running around the yard, I would think about adding agility to their training. Specially if they love it.

I know some top agility dogs that are 10 yrs old (and older) still coming in with top runs at trials AND they have HD. Seems like for many of them the exercise helps the muscles/tendons take the pressure OFF the joint. So backing off on exercise actually increases the health issues. So I think I'd be more concerned about the knee getting reinjured.... that said I know alot of top athletes rehab and do fine after knee injuries!

Start with low jumps and see how it goes. May want to wait a bit on the dogwalk/aframe depending on how well your dog performs it and chances of falling off or slamming down.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have no intention of backing off the exercise as stated above.

Can't wait till summer to get her swimming again.
 

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There was an article posted in some thread in the Agility section about retiring vs not retiring dogs in agility. If I recall correctly, at least for the author of the article, she saw her dogs health deteriorate after retiring them. According to the author, she no longer retires her dogs until the dogs "tell" her to do so. It might be a Trkman article, but I don't exactly remember.
Agility is good for the dogs I

and part two:
Agility is good for the dogs II

I guess in the end, if it were my dog, I'd keep them ultra fit and continue agility as long as my dog wanted. Hey- I might even keep doing agility while avoiding hard obstacles like contacts and weave poles. You know there are options there! I don't believe Jumpers in CPE has weave poles. Tunnelers in NADAC is just tunnels (I think). Snooker (in all venues) is full of choices...

I'd say as long as the dog is still enjoying jumping- then there are a lot of agility options.
ITA with this! It sounds like the dog said she didn't want to do agility when her knee was injured but that doesn't have much to do with the HD. I'd make sure she's in really good shape, on a quality joint supplement and start up agility again, with low jump heights and maybe practice weaves at first. I wouldn't retire her if she doesn't seem to want to be retired :)

FWIW The dogs I have seen who are the absolute worst off with hip dysplasia tend to be the unfit, lazy pet dogs. Dogs who experience very little stress on their joints.
 

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Nadac has 4 courses (tunnelers, weavers, touch N Go, and hoopers) that you could do if your dog seems to still enjoy agility but just not jumping.
 

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If she doesn't want to jump or looks like she's in pain stop immediately. Also i would jump her lower just to be safe. If you don't know this in competitions there is a preferred hight, so you can choose what hight she jumps.
 
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