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I moved to SC last May and have been on and off looking for an agility class since about July. I've found only two places w/in reasonable driving distance that do competition level classes. Most everything else is pet agility.

 

The first place is supposed to be wonderful but they are incredibly hard to get in touch with and are horrible about following up on phone calls or emails.

 

The second place has small classes and is easy to get in touch with *but* as I found out via email today is not a fit for Maggie. The main reason? Maggie is dog reactive. She works well when dogs are 10-20 feet away and ignoring her in class and competes fine in USDAA agility, but if a dog gets in her face she generally does one of three things: growls and snarks (ok by me), lunges (not so good), or tries to grab the dog (unacceptable and working on it, generally prevented w/ management 90% of the time). Because she cannot deal with dogs in her face, especially while "working" she can't be in this class. :rolleyes:

 

Here's part of the email I got today: If Maggie defends herself by attacking a dog that might get in her face to play or investigate what she's doing, she would not be welcome in class. With up to four different stations, dogs are always doing, not sitting around waiting for a turn. I don't care if a dog barks or growls at another dog, if warranted, but a bite or pinning a dog is just not acceptable. I have a very happy exuberant Berner in class, who does run up to a little maltese, now and then and the maltese does stand its ground and bark. I am not concerned about either as they will also play together after class.

 

Am I the only person who finds it objectionable that a dog in an intermediate class is still taking offcourses to go "say hi" to another dog?! Seems to me that that kind of behavior should not be tolerated in an intermediate level class. Beginner yes, but intermediate?! These dogs are supposed to be competing at Starters/Novice level!

 

Am I being unreasonable to expect that I can find an intermediate class where this is not common/accepted? *sigh*

 

(if anyone knows a good class within 45 minutes of Spartanburg, SC, please let me know!!!)

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I sympathise with you. I have a very hard time find good trainer moving all over the place. I have made some of my own stuff, but still need to be in a lesson once in awhile. I have sprung for private and semi privates when I can and also hop into "practice" sessions from time to time. A place in Jackson WY has a tues night practice session for $5 and everyone helps everyone as a whole. Very cool place!

 

I think the lady is being unreasonable about Maggie. At a competative level, a dog should be able to be off leash and not run around hap-hazardly. Things do happen and dogs get distracted on bad days, but any place I've ever trained/competed, it's the handlers responsibility to keep their dog away from other dogs. If Maggie is run up on by another dog, she has all the right to be snarky. The owner of the loose dog is supposed to appologize out of courtisy. Your space is your space. The places I have been have no tolerance for a wandering dog. If a dog walking on leash just pounces on another dog or person walking by, that's another story.

 

I have looked around your area for classes and haven't really found anything. There's a place in Asheville but I don't remember the name. I just googled it. Good luck!

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Just a thought but could you bring a crate to class for Maggie so she would have somewhere she is safe from the dreaded "just gotta say hi" dogs? You could just use it while those specific dogs are running off leash.

 

I too have a dog that hates being run up to in agility class. He is crated when the big floppy yellow dogs are running for their own safety. He is a sweetheart but takes agility very seriously and takes being interrupted even more seriously.

 

Olivia

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Ha ha -- floppy yellow dogs -- Solo hates them too and that's exactly how we refer to them.

 

I'm of the mind that dogs should strictly not be allowed to interact during class and that everyone deserves his or her own space. I sympathize with you; ever since leaving my club outside of Philly I have had a very, very hard time finding a training situation that I really liked, even in the hotbed of agility that is the SF Bay Area. Here, people think both you and your dog were raised by wolves if your dog is not Lassie. I am so tired of hearing "your dog must not be Socialized" (and the capital S is intentional) that I could scream. Solo is about 500 times more socialized than any other dog out there... but he still doesn't like dogs in his face.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks I deserve my space and so does my dog...wish others could understand this idea. You'd think in agility of all places people would get that some dogs need space - you certainly have enough picky herding breeds in one space to realize that quickly imo. And I sympathize with you Melanie - Maggie is well socialized with people, but picky with dogs. She's a great therapy dog in addition to working in agility and just as a friend for Z and I.

 

"Floppy yellow dogs" amuses me greatly. In my old training classes, the only dog that charged us to "say hi" was a golden, so the term fits well. The classes in this case are tiny so there is little down time to crate in, I guess everyone works on a separate part of the course at the same time. This round of class has 3 students total.

 

in2: was the place DogWorks? I know someone who takes classes there and says they're good, though it is 50 mins from me. :\

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We have a mix of beginners and competing dogs because we are a small club.

 

My cattle dog was attacked in the weaves by a dog aggressive BC waiting its turn too close to end of the weaves. Since then all dogs have to be under control and clear untill it is their turn to run.

 

People with the snarky dogs usually bring crates so a loose off course dog is usually no problem. The woman with the snarky BC does this after a puppy ran up to her dog and got hammered. We have had no more problems from this dog who is a good agility dog and people friendly but is not keen on other dogs.

 

I have also owned a dog once that has not been keen on other dogs in her face and I really found it easier to assume the responsibility of ensuring that she was not put in that position. It is just too difficult to rely on other people to do this.

 

Our instructors are happy once you demonstrate that you can manage a snarky dog and try and make sure other people manage their dogs as well.

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I totally get the "floppy yellow dog" issue! We had big-time lab and golden issues when I first got Buddy. And it seems as though every family that moves into the Snooty-Suburbs-with-the-Good-Parks is forced to agree to have either a golden or a lab! After a long enough exposure, Buddy seems to "get" that most adult labs and goldens are big and goofy - but it's the young adults who are really "in your face" that drive him crazy!

 

I've been lucky in finding classes where the trainers acknowledged Buddy's issues and made sure other owners gave him his space unless and until he was ready. My dog is under complete control UNLESS someone else's dog is out of control. I think trainers should put the responsibility on the owners of the out of control dogs!

 

Mary

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It may be one of the two you've already looked into but I've heard really good things about Dogworks (haven't been there - it's almost 2 hours away from me).

 

Nellie hates floppy yellow dogs too. She'll ignore anything until its on top of her and then it is time for the fireworks.

 

I think its very important that dogs that are "working" (at agility, in an obedience class, taking a brisk walk onleash) learn that it isn't their job to run up and "say hi" to other dogs.

Lisa

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I think the trainer for this class was justified in her decision. In an ideal world dogs never run off and visit other dogs, but in the real world, it happens. It happens in class and it happens even at trials. It's perfectly normal for the dog being approached to get snarky or to warn the other dog off. But it is NOT acceptable to 'attack' or injure another dog. My club has a similar aggressions policy. When a dog just warns the other dogs or snarks a bit, it sounds ugly to some, but generally will work itself out as the class progresses without any real incident, and my club actually comes down harder on the dog doing the visiting than on the dog doing the snarking. That kind of thing is normal dog behavior appropriate to the situation. A dog who attacks is a whole other story. Then you're talking about possible vet bills, legal action, the possibility of a person getting bit if they try to intervene, insurance problems, etc. A club or a training business simply cannot knowingly take this risk.

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I guess I can see you point, but my dog does not injure others, though she certainly sounds nasty, and she has never gone out of her way to go after a dog in class or on course. Not to mention that the few times we've been run at in a previous class I was able to call my dog to me and manage her behavior so nothing happened when the dog approached.

 

I can see rules about offensively aggressive dogs, but one that ignores unless approached directly and rudely?!

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WOOO HOOOOOOOOO! We found one that fits! I finally got a hold of the person at the facility in greenville, observed a class today, and we're signing up for one that starts TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

They subscribe to my view about dogs in other dogs' space, they have a basic class that can be tailored for a growing dog, and the instructor is even letting me work Maggie on equipment after Z's class for free - especially nice since Maggie really just needs occasional brushups and we are driving 60mi round trip to the field. :D

 

So YAY! :rolleyes:

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Perhaps you are having a difficult time finding a class because your dog IS reactive. As someone who has had their dog snarked at by reactive dogs, I truly don't believe they belong in regular classes until they stop being reactive. (And I have owned reactive BCs, just been very careful about where they went and what they did.)

Barb S

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