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Agility at six months for a border/lab?


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My border/lab, Cerbie, is turning 6 (months) and he just graduated from puppy school with flying colors. He has really taken to training but I want to move up to something fun for both of us to keep him entertained and interested. He's a big, muscley boy (40lbs at 5 1/2 months and not at all fat) but he's still clumsy and learning to fit into his new body. He throws himself around with wild abandon so I'm a bit worried about taking him too far too fast. Two questions: I know that learning the basics now is a good start, but about what age will he start to be able to take on some jumps, given that he's (probably) heavier than average?

Will agility be a good fit for him or given the dysplasia issues labs have, should I stay away?

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Two questions: I know that learning the basics now is a good start, but about what age will he start to be able to take on some jumps, given that he's (probably) heavier than average?

 

Will agility be a good fit for him or given the dysplasia issues labs have, should I stay away?

 

If you have a foundation Agility class available to you that is geared toward puppy foundation work, that would be entirely appropriate.

 

But if you don't and you would have to go in with dogs that are older, I would probably wait a bit. You can always get more foundation in other types of classes that would benefit you in Agility later on.

 

Unless you know that he has dysplasia issues, I don't see any reason not to try Agility. I compete in Agility with a 9 year old Border Collie/Lab mix, and she is very healthy and fit - no joint problems at all. But I would probably wait until he is a bit older to do anything other than low impact type foundation work at this stage.

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You want to wait on things like jumps and the large obstacles until his growth plates are closed, which is anywhere from 12-18months if he tends more towards the lab side it could be more along the 18month side.

 

But honestly there are TONS of things you can do to prepare your dog for agility. Foundation work (I really like Moe Strenfel's video on foundation training http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...;ParentCat=397)

 

You can do plank work and tippy board work (mini teeter), balance work, focus work (Love control unleashed for focus work http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...ol%20unleashed) Toy and food drive.

 

 

So much fun stuff you can work on to have fun with your pup before you even set foot on agility equipment. I love training foundation stuff and my dog does too we make it lots of fun.

 

Maya is going to start obstacle training in May when she will be 13mo old. I am getting excited!

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You want to wait on things like jumps and the large obstacles until his growth plates are closed, which is anywhere from 12-18months if he tends more towards the lab side it could be more along the 18month side.

 

But honestly there are TONS of things you can do to prepare your dog for agility. Foundation work (I really like Moe Strenfel's video on foundation training http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...;ParentCat=397)

 

You can do plank work and tippy board work (mini teeter), balance work, focus work (Love control unleashed for focus work http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...ol%20unleashed) Toy and food drive.

So much fun stuff you can work on to have fun with your pup before you even set foot on agility equipment. I love training foundation stuff and my dog does too we make it lots of fun.

 

Maya is going to start obstacle training in May when she will be 13mo old. I am getting excited!

 

There's a trainer in my neck of the Great Southern Desert that offers classes on a regular basis. I'll talk to her to to see if she offers one tailored to growing pups.

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If you just completed a basic puppy class, I would recommend going on to attend a group obedience class. If nothing else, it will help to solidify your puppy's social skills and ability to work around distractions.

 

I've had 9/10 month old puppies come into my beginner agility classes and I always cringe (the facility owner lets them in, nothing I can do). I always tell them the reasons why we keep things easy for the young dogs and never let them jump over 4" or 8". I lower the a-frame and teeter and have them work on planks a bit longer than the older dogs.

 

My puppy is coming on 8 months and I'm certainly not saying that you can't do anything agility related with them at this age -- simply that most beginner agility classes are tailored for dogs who are already developed and ready to begin work.

 

Secret runs through tunnels and has been introduced to hoops & jumps with bars on the ground. She also does her "bottom" (2 on/2 off) on all the contacts, but doesn't go up & over them yet -- but she comfortably walks a plank raised just a bit off the ground and turns around on it. When I bring my equipment out at home in the coming weeks, the contacts will be set up at a very low puppy height for her.

 

Some training facilities run programs specifically geared towards puppies and they do the things I'm talking about. If your training center doesn't offer such a class, you would be better off waiting until your dog is a year old before starting a basic beginner agility class. You will get more out of the class this way. There are plenty of ways to occupy your dog in the next six months until then! Just play with your dog and teach him that running with you is FUN!

 

My oldest dog is a Lab/Shepherd and he loves agility -- Not all labs have hip issues. If you are worried about such things, however, you can always get x-rays done to check your dog's hips.

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If you just completed a basic puppy class, I would recommend going on to attend a group obedience class. If nothing else, it will help to solidify your puppy's social skills and ability to work around distractions.

 

I've had 9/10 month old puppies come into my beginner agility classes and I always cringe (the facility owner lets them in, nothing I can do). I always tell them the reasons why we keep things easy for the young dogs and never let them jump over 4" or 8". I lower the a-frame and teeter and have them work on planks a bit longer than the older dogs.

 

My puppy is coming on 8 months and I'm certainly not saying that you can't do anything agility related with them at this age -- simply that most beginner agility classes are tailored for dogs who are already developed and ready to begin work.

 

Secret runs through tunnels and has been introduced to hoops & jumps with bars on the ground. She also does her "bottom" (2 on/2 off) on all the contacts, but doesn't go up & over them yet -- but she comfortably walks a plank raised just a bit off the ground and turns around on it. When I bring my equipment out at home in the coming weeks, the contacts will be set up at a very low puppy height for her.

 

Some training facilities run programs specifically geared towards puppies and they do the things I'm talking about. If your training center doesn't offer such a class, you would be better off waiting until your dog is a year old before starting a basic beginner agility class. You will get more out of the class this way. There are plenty of ways to occupy your dog in the next six months until then! Just play with your dog and teach him that running with you is FUN!

 

My oldest dog is a Lab/Shepherd and he loves agility -- Not all labs have hip issues. If you are worried about such things, however, you can always get x-rays done to check your dog's hips.

 

That sounds well reasoned. The class Cerbie took was a group class. He has good focus when training, even in groups, but if you allow him to play you have to work to get him back on task. The trainer in my puppy class was so knocked out by his "two repetitions and go" learning style that she repetedly suggested that we try agility. I just think he's too clumsy and playful at this point. He's all long legs and huge feet, galloping and tumbling.

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