Dog Agility Obstacles are not Always Equipment pt 1
We asked you what your biggest obstacle to overcome in dog agility was and you gave us a ton of great responses. So many, in fact, that we are splitting it up into more than one post. It is our hope that these stories will help many more enthusiasts that have hit a wall to see there is a way out. Or maybe you are new to the sport and need some encouraging words. We are sure you will find a story that will make your day.
Wow! as a beginner I did not realize just how much effort was involved in obedience and agility training! I was clueless. Gathering information ( a lot) began to clutter my mind and made me begin to doubt if I had the skill that it takes to help my dog Buddy excel. Through this website I have gathered sound advice, and I might add, have purchased superior equipment!! I began to realize as time passed that its not the competition involved but the commitment that you make to your dog and what you want for them. Oh sure, I would like to place in a competition who wouldn’t, just to have the bragging rights,yea. And, just like anything else, I started out with a clean slate but as time went on began to realize just how much politics are involved. Its sad that this has to happen….I feel that more people and their dogs would be more inclined to participate if this were not the case. I guess its just like anything else time does change us all. Well, enough about that…to quote a famous character, ” dog trials are like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get! So get out there and just enjoy…after all whats it all really about?
Beverly Skilling shared:
My agility “obstacle” is my own lack of physical prowess. I refuse to complain because there a lots of people out there doing agility with a lot more problems than I have. I have figured out that with bad hips and too much weight, I am seldom going to keep up with my dogs and get out there and do front crosses when they should be done. I have, therefore, trained both my JRT and my BC to work at a distance both laterally and in front of me and perfected our rear crosses with a “switch” command.
For 15 years I was a breeder of Springer Spaniels, never done anything else with my dogs. I had my favorite, her name was “Sideway” I’ve never could breed her because she had a birth defect. Her jaw was sideway but I loved her soo much. At 10 years old she was hit by a car and died. 3 months later I was looking for a new female to breed and found this little tri color female online for a bargain.I always wanted a tri color. I bought her without seeing her first and she was shipped to my by plane. She was just the cutest thing!!! (named her sideway) but boy was she hyper and also scared of everything. When it was time to breed her i found out she had mild hip dysplasia in her right hip so I had to spayed her. I was very upset. I had seen agility on TV before and decided to give it a try. done some research at the AKC and online and built me a tire jump. She was scare to death of that thing. After 6 weeks of a lot of patience and a lot of chicken… she jump through it! It was a party! I just wanted to have fun with her, nothing else. I started building other jumps, dog walk, a closed tunnel with a $5.00 pepsi barrel and bought a sewing machine…, tunnel etc… after about 1 year of training she came around and gained confidence and also built some good muscles around her hip. We got pretty good at it and I decided to try a competition just to see and boom!! I got addicted to it! She loves to do it. she is still a little shy but I’m constantly working on proofing. She came a long way and what make me very proud is that I did it all by myself! I have never been to a club or took any lessons with a professional. Just Sideway, Me and my small backyard. And we like it this way! for me I finally found a hobby that I love and I’m not even interested in breeding anymore or maybe some day with another dog. I do love those puppies!!
So far we have our AKC Open titles and Novice Preferred, We flew to excellent class and neither of us were ready for it so I took her back down to preferred 16″ and that was the right decision for us. I want to do what’s best for her. I love this dog soo much! she is my best pal and I’ll do anything for her.
Agility Westie shared:
One day while walking my Westie at a park I befriended a lady and her cute black Pug. During our conversation she mentioned that her Pug took agility classes and loved them. I had been looking for an activity for Cody and me to share but NEVER considered agility. I was quite concerned that my West Highland White Terrier, having a mind of his own much of the time, would ever be able to excel at such a sport, but I REALLY wanted to give it a try. I immediately signed us up for classes… he was only 7 months old. Our instructor kept the jumps very low (almost non-existent), as well as the remainder of the equipment. Cody is now 2 1/2 and we just competed in our first agility trial (NADAC) a few weeks ago. I kept it simple and only entered him in 4 runs for the weekend. Saturday started off really nice but by the time it was our turn to run it started to sprinkle rain with at least 30mph winds. We either had to forfeit or run in the rain. I opted for the latter… During our run it started pouring rain and the wind was awful. As Cody ran to enter his first tunnel, one of the spectators said it looked like a bucket of water had been thrown in his face, but he ventured on. He was such a trooper… right before he was supposed to enter the weave poles he stopped to shake the water off… he was SOAKED! Then he continued through the weave poles and ran toward the last jump with NO faults and the fastest time for his group. He had just earned his first Q in Novice Regular, 10 seconds under the required time for 1st place. I couldn’t have been more proud of my little Westie boy! Out of the 4 runs that weekend, he received 2 Qs (both first place). If it hadn’t been for his handler in training (me), he would have received 3 Qs. I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my fear that Cody didn’t have the temperament for agility… we would have missed out on so much fun! We’ll be competing in our second trial later this month… hopefully the sun will be shining, LOL!
As a rescuer and transporter, I spend all of my time on everyone else’s dogs. My Bassett and 3 Labs plus two other fosters get slighted. They are left behind with only food, water, shelter and medical needs met but very little quality attention. One day the light bulb came on. Realizing that my wonderful Mom had a huge fenced in lot behind her house I decided to venture forth onto the world of agility. After careful consideration, I ordered what I felt would get me started in the beginner range. Now a friend wants to teach obedience classes there for the month of July. We put a sign up sheet at the Rabies clinic held in the park last week and generated a surprising amount of interest. Such a good thing for our poor area. Our first class is tonight so I am very excited!
I’ve been doing the weave poles and tunnel in the back yard with the Basset (problem child). He seems to do both ok but the verdict is still out as to whether he will ever master the hurdle! Wish us Luck!!!!!