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Agility or disc competitions in south Louisiana?


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I am looking to get my border collie into disc and agility competitions when he is a year old or so. The problem is I can't find any agility training or disc/agility competitions anywhere in south Louisiana. I am located in Lafayette. My border collie is almost 6 months old and he already shows great potential for obedience and is catching the frisbee at distances up to 40 yards. I'd love to start his agility training at 1 yr old or earlier if possible. Does anyone know of any agility trainers in south Louisiana, or agility/disc competitions?

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Welcome to the Boards! My Dad lives not too far from you, in New Iberia. I believe we have at least one Board member who actually lives in Lafayette who might be able to answer your questions.

 

It looks like the local group that sponsors dog shows and competitions is the Acadiana Kennel Club. I can't find a web page but you might be able to locate them in the phone book.

 

Try contacting some of these national clubs to see if they can point you in the right direction.

 

http://www.agilityability.com/organizations.htm

 

At 6 months old your dog is too young to be running 40 yards and catching discs. It will damage his joints, leading to long term arthritis and other orthopedic conditions. For now, just work on basic obedience, socialization, bonding and simple commands like "drop it" and "take it." You have plenty of time to teach the rest later.

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I don't know anything about disk, but do know you can start agility now. There are specially ways to work a young dog/puppy without harming their growth and getting a jump start on big dog training. Growth plates aren't finish growing until 14-18 months, so most training after a year is still pretty light and focused on body control, movement control and obedience.

 

I wish I could help you out with a trainer, but don't know any in your area. You could look into videos, but it's always nice to have a trainers eyes to make sure you are doing the exersices correctly and not hurrying to fast in the progression.

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The Acadiana Kennel Club is an AKC club that mostly does conformation I believe.

 

So if I've been playing frisbee with my dog for a month now, do you think his joints have already been affected negatively?

Also... BESIDES JUMPING for the disc, how is catching a frisbee different from running around at the dog park?

And if it is too early for him to be sprinting full out, should I keep him away from the dog park? I bring him to the dog park just about every day and he usually finds a dog that likes to run and they sprint around the park chasing each other.

If the only part of frisbee that is bad for a young dogs joints is the jumping aspect could I just focus on making low throws so that he doesn't have to jump?

 

I didn't realize that playing frisbee could harm a puppy... He is already pretty obsessed with frisbee. On the obedience side, he has already completed a beginners obedience class and did amazing. At 5 months old I can toss a treat towards his mouth and if I say "leave it" while the treat is in mid-air he will keep his mouth shut and let the treat hit his mouth and fall. He's halfway through a trick class now and is also doing very well.. I'm just looking for something physical to channel his energy. He is very driven. The sire and dam were both cattle herders in south Missouri. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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The Acadiana Kennel Club is an AKC club that mostly does conformation I believe.

 

They are listed as also offering agility and obedience. Even if they don't offer those sports they would be able to point you in the right direction.

 

So if I've been playing frisbee with my dog for a month now, do you think his joints have already been affected negatively?

 

It's possible.

 

Also... BESIDES JUMPING for the disc, how is catching a frisbee different from running around at the dog park?

 

Border Collies are different in that they don't stop if they are tired or in pain when they are really focused on an activity (for example, "obsessed with the frisbee"). They are known for running themselves to the point of exhaustion, serious injury and even death. As a Border Collie owner, you need to look out for the health and safety of your dog. They are bred to never, ever quit during work and many pet Border Collies see chasing the frisbee as their job.

 

Something important to always remember; tired muscles don't support and protect joints!

 

There are 2 major differences between a game of frisbee and playing with other dogs. 1) Chasing other dogs does not cause the same repetitive pounding on the joints followed by a sudden stop. 2) Most Border Collies will slow down or stop during play sessions with other dogs if they are tired, something they won't do while working or chasing a frisbee.

 

And if it is too early for him to be sprinting full out, should I keep him away from the dog park? I bring him to the dog park just about every day and he usually finds a dog that likes to run and they sprint around the park chasing each other.

 

20 minutes at the park shouldn't be a problem, but an hour would be too much for such a young dog.

 

If the only part of frisbee that is bad for a young dogs joints is the jumping aspect could I just focus on making low throws so that he doesn't have to jump?

 

No, see my above answer. Coming to a sudden stop is just as damaging as jumping. You have plenty of time to teach him frisbee. Would you rather have a dog that wins a competition at 10 months of age but is too lame to even run by 2 years of age, or a dog that isn't competitive until he is 2 but is sound well into his teens?

 

I'm just looking for something physical to channel his energy.

 

The biggest mistake people make with Border Collies is exercising them too much when they are young. Yes, they are a smart, athletic breed, but they need to learn boundaries and to live peacefully in your house. Teach him to be calm and relaxed inside. Do you have a crate or dog bed? Teach him a "go to bed" command so he will leave you alone when you need some time to yourself. I can't tell you how many Border Collies I've met that couldn't settle in the house. They drive me totally insane and I could never live with one!

 

Focus on obedience and tricks for now. Sitting on command on your living room doesn't mean a thing. Practice on the sidewalk, in the pet store, at the park, during play at the dog park. Make sure he knows that if you give a command he must listen no matter how many wonderful distractions there are.

 

Example, he is chasing his buddy at the dog park. Call him to you when he looks your way. When he gets to you praise and grab his collar. While holding his collar ask him to sit or lie down. After he has obeyed that command praise again, give him a treat if he wants one, then give him a release command (I use "OK") to let him know he can go back to playing.

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Well there is some good news. Our frisbee sessions are limited to 5-7 throws. Ace is very well behaved in the house. He has a great off switch and focusses as hard on resting as he does on anything else. He is kennel trained and loves his kennel. He's very attached because I only feed him in his kennel and I put some of my old shirts in it to keep my smell in his kennel. I do have a "kennel" command and he follows it well because it most often comes with a reward. When he is tired he goes into his kennel on his own. I wouldn't say that I over excersise him. We usually go to the dog park for about an hour on days when he spends a lot of time in his kennel while I am in classes. I usually practice his obedience commands at the park with lots of distractions and he responds very well and I always follow with a reward(usually not food, he responds better to toys). He's never left loose at home if I am not there. We don't play frisbee every day. So am I on the right track? And should I completely stop with the frisbee? I'm not trying to make my dog a champion disc dog. I just love watching me catch it and he enjoys it as well. But like I said, the frisbee sessions only last 5-7 throws.. Maybe 10 at the most. But if its best for him, I'll stop with the frisbee for a few months.

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