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I've been wanting to do some sort of sport/activity with my dog and am now finally taking the steps. I've registered Oliver and I for an intermediate obedience class at Petsmart and we just attended our second class. I now regret my choice of trainer - I should have went with a professional who would spend one on one time. I finally have the funds and after we complete this class I'd like to start on either herding, agility, or flyball. I'm thinking herding is out of the question, it would be only for sport and I don't have any sheep for him to work daily. He also has shown no instinct as far as I know. Back in march I took him to a trial as a spectator and he didn't pay any attention to the sheep while all of the other Border Collies had their eyes glued to them :rolleyes:

 

Anywho. There is a place near me, GSDOC, that does agility. I've heard a lot of good things about it. I can't seem to find anywhere that teaches flyball.

What do you guys think? Any personal preference?

 

I've been seriously slacking on Oliver's training, we're still working on loose leash walking and a reliable stay and come. (Though he can do a lot of cool tricks! :P ) I'm hoping by the end of our classes that will all be a matter of the past. I've started working with him at least 30 minutes a day.

 

I want to get his CGC, too. I'm not really into trying therapy or search and rescue, for those who might suggest it.

 

I'm undecided and would love your 2 cents. :)

 

Sorry for the novel ><

 

- Kayt

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Test stuff out and see what bug bites you first. It really depends on what you seem to like best that'll work out. Sul and I herd (mostly chickens, goats, and the neighbor's cats). He sucks at it, often gets confused, and gets his motor going so fast he 'drifts' into inanimate objects... but it's funnier to watch than anything I've ever seen and keeps him occupied (he really thinks he knows what he's doing but he just really wants to run laps around things). And we just play a TON of fetch/find-it games. He's the only dog I know that goes BONKERS at the 'find it' cue... and then it's on like donky-kong... doing laps around the house looking for his squeak toys. I have no idea how this developed but it's a riot (and since I'm a broke post-grad its free! which is uber important to me).

 

You gotta find what you're content doing day in and day out. Finding what you both enjoy is the key. So test out a few things, not just one. Do one session just agility and then do another for flyball and/or whatever you want. Rack your brain and do one, then the other, for awhile and see which one you feel you like best. Sometimes the point isn't to focus, sometimes it is. You'll find that out. Do you want to compete or just fiddle around in the backyard? What are your priorities in this (outside of entertaining your furry friend)? Being undecided is the fun part - you get a lot of space to test the waters with what you like and don't like. Any good trainer, of any kind, will know that. Granted, I don't know much about dog trainers since I'm a DIY girl, but we used to use trainers for our horses (since that's a HUGE money pit if you DIY it and goof up). There it was important to find a multi-functional trainer, if just when starting. That way when my sister and I found out we hated English (and I hated anything but trail riding) we were able to sort that out right at the get go and train very specifically when we wanted. My advice, after many years of dealing with pet projects of all kinds, is just not to rush trying to find the answer but enjoy the process getting there ... and in the mean time, you and your dog'll have fun (which is the main goal anyway).

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Thanks for your input! I'm not looking for anything serious like competing at the moment. I just want to have a sport of sorts to be able to play with my dog, something more complicated than fetch. Though if we get good at something I wouldn't mind competing ;)

 

I'll try out agility first and see how I like it, then look around harder for a flyball group. Maybe attend another herding trial and see where that gets us.

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While there are a number of activities you can do with your dog *just for the fun of it* for both of you, I personally would not advocate "herding" *just* to have something to do. If your dog doesn't demonstrate interest or potential ability to become a reasonable stockdog (even if it is recreational and not practical - you don't have stock yourself where his help would be useful), then what is the point of putting out your time and money, and stressing someone's livestock (training dogs is stressful on the stock) for what amounts to just another activity?

 

I have done agility for fun with a couple of my dogs and feel it's a wonderful activity. Some folks love agility and some love rally. Tracking is another alternative. The list is really only limited by what interests the two of you.

 

As you have found out, finding the right trainer is not always easy but it is worthwhile. And don't limit yourself to "professionals". In our area, some of the finest, most practical trainers are volunteers at the local club. It's not the "title" but the person, experience, and dedication behind it that counts.

 

Best wishes finding something that appeals to you both and strengthens your bond with your dog.

 

Edited - Sorry, I left out the word "doesn't" in the first paragraph, and gave the wrong impression. My feeling should have expressed that if your dog is interested (and as pointed out, just watching as a spectator may not indicate this) and has potential to be a reasonable working dog (even recreationally, as long as the welfare of the stock comes first), fine. If not (neither real interest nor the potential ability to work reasonably), then I would not encourage that activity - if for no other reason than not stressing stock without reasonable purpose.

 

I should not say anything when my brain is not well-engaged, and probably precious little when it is engaged. Sorry to being misleading.

Edited by Sue R
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I wouldn't judge your experience with obedience training by a PetSmart class. I know there are some good PetSmart trainers out there (mainly when they've hired people who already had a background in it) but a lot of them also have no experience and from what I've heard learn off a video or something. Plus I've seen the places they hold those classes, closely confined areas and not good footing, it just does not seem to look like a good experience for the dogs. Look up dog training clubs in your area, they often will have knoweledgeable trainers (competing and training with their own dogs).

 

I also wouldn't judge his interest in herding from spectating. One of my dogs shows no interest from the other side of the fence, but is incredibly intense when we actually get in there with them. Also, for many dogs, if they've haven't seen stock before, it's such an intense experience for them that they don't know how to deal with it so will just pretend not to see them at first. You can really only judge his aptitude for herding by taking him to a good trainer a few times and letting him get a feel for it. I agree with Sue R, if he doesn't really have much aptitude and you probably won't get too serious about it, it isn't really fair to the sheep to do it just for fun (meaning the dog never really gets anywhere much beyond the yeehaw! stage with it and it turns into a weekly outing to chase sheep). There are plenty of people I know who got into it very seriously (to the point of buying sheep and even going to nursery finals) initially just as 'something to do' with their dog. You just never know how bitten by the bug you'll get and depending on your dog's breeding, he may have a talent for it which you'll get great enjoyment out of developing.

 

For agility I'd give it more than one class - it takes some time to learn the equipment, and it's the next step, delevoping the handling skills and learning the course analysis and actually running sequences, where it gets very interesting in my opinion. You won't necessarily get a feel for that out of a 6 or 8 week beginner class, and actually many of the better classes will want to put a good foundation on the dog and you may not even see that much equipment in the first class or two. You should also go to some agility trials and watch, you can see how much the dogs and people enjoy it and what the atmosphere would be like if you decide to get into competition.

 

I personally have never cared for flyball but that's just me. I don't know of anyone who does it just for fun in a class - it's all about the competititions and you'd be on a team which can get into a lot of politics from what I've seen. Mainly for me I don't get enough handler involvement - the dogs love it, but it has more to do with racing out to a ball than it does with me and the handler's primary role is letting go at the right time. Go ahead and try it, and go to some competitions.

 

Something to do with your dog will have as much to do with what personally appeals to you and also the environment and the people involved as it does with what your dog might enjoy. Most dogs will enjoy any of the various sport activities if taught correcty.

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I only do agility and did start training with the intent to compete, but I would like to emphasize that learning the sport well relies on a good foundation which can seem boring when you first start class and is nothing like the fast flowing dogs and handlers you see on telly. My first intro class did not set my dog and I up well for our agility future and over the last couple of years we have worked on trying to recover from those mistakes. That said I have had admit agility his not his thing, and so he no longer go to trials, I still take him to class on occasion, and work him at home when training my other dog, just to make him think.

 

You have to choose an activity that suits both of you, I love the the athletic nature of agility, that to make it work we have to be a team in synch, and with my younger dog I have a team mate willing to work with me, so I can aspire to be one of those amazing handlers. I know others who love flyball which I know is not for me, in my opinion there are to many barking dogs, and not enough activity for the human. My older dog would be brilliant at frisbee but is handicapped by an incompetent human. Dog diving is not available in my area, but we play dog diving with both dogs who love it. I would have loved to try the dogs on sheep but realistically we are city dwellers and if they and I had any talent training them would have required an unrealistic commitment of long distance driving, and I also feel the other peoples sheep are not playthings for my dogs. As Sue said there are lots of activities you just have to find one that is available locally and you both enjoy.

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i've tried several things in a search to have more quality dog time. herding, rally, agility, luring, etc. i chose agility for several reasons. 1. my dogs and i really enjoy it. 2. i don't have sheep. lessons and travel made it very cost inhibitive for us, despite having some aptitude for it. 3. my dogs have absolutly no interest at all in balls or discs so flyball or disc dog is out. 4. the same for dock diving-no love of water. 5. i find rally kind of boring 6. i can set up a home made agility course in my yard and practice whenever i want.

i adopted nova, my bc, to be my agility dog. i was nearly devastated after her first couple of agility lessons. things did not go well. my oh my what a change now. i just took a little time for her to settle and to figure out what i wanted. take your time and have fun.

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Personally, I'd just give a few things a try and see what clicks for you and your dog both. I do herding, agility and flyball, and I enjoy them all, but they're really different.

 

Stock work: I don't agree that there's no reason for you to try herding if you have an interest in trying it. And as Diana said, you can't tell much from your dog's reaction to watching a trial. Until you put him on stock, you'll never know. Lots of people take lessons, who don't have sheep of their own, just for the enjoyment it brings to both dog and human. I'm one of those. The first time I saw my dog and his reaction to sheep, I was hooked. I love being "out in nature", I love my trainer's farm, I love the animals and I love the feeling of being out there with my dogs, working together. It's rewarding to me, whether or not we ever step out on a trial field. And I know lots of people may disagree, but as long as the sheep are being treated well, you have a good trainer to guide you, why not? So, my point is, I wouldn't rule this out if you really want to try.

 

Agility: My second favorite thing after working stock with my dogs. It's lots of fun, but there's also a lot of training. As someone said, the foundation work may seem boring, but you have to start somewhere, and personally, my dogs never found any part of it boring. Compared to flyball, I get more personal satisfaction out of agility, as it's just me and my dog out there, as a team. Like anything else, you can do it just for fun, or you can get serious and end up trialing. My best advice is just to take a class and see what you think.

 

Flyball: This is probably Alex's favorite thing to do, just because he can run balls to the wall. I do enjoy it, too, but remember it's a team sport. If you actually end up racing with a team, you have all the human drama to contend with, as with any team sport. The game itself is fun. It's fast and loud and there are plenty of dogs who don't do well in that environment, but if your dog loves it, it can be a blast. If you find a place that gives flyball classes, again, it's something you can do just for fun, or see if you want to end up racing. I'm not sure about teams in your area, but you can check out NAFA and UFLI's websites and do a search, I think.

 

So, that novel is basically just to say that all the activities you mention are fun and rewarding for both you and the dog, in different ways. If you are able, I'd try them all and see what you think. Have fun!

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I've been wanting to do some sort of sport/activity with my dog and am now finally taking the steps. I've registered Oliver and I for an intermediate obedience class at Petsmart and we just attended our second class. I now regret my choice of trainer - I should have went with a professional who would spend one on one time. I finally have the funds and after we complete this class I'd like to start on either herding, agility, or flyball. I'm thinking herding is out of the question, it would be only for sport and I don't have any sheep for him to work daily. He also has shown no instinct as far as I know. Back in march I took him to a trial as a spectator and he didn't pay any attention to the sheep while all of the other Border Collies had their eyes glued to them :rolleyes:

 

Anywho. There is a place near me, GSDOC, that does agility. I've heard a lot of good things about it. I can't seem to find anywhere that teaches flyball.

What do you guys think? Any personal preference?

 

I've been seriously slacking on Oliver's training, we're still working on loose leash walking and a reliable stay and come. (Though he can do a lot of cool tricks! :P ) I'm hoping by the end of our classes that will all be a matter of the past. I've started working with him at least 30 minutes a day.

 

I want to get his CGC, too. I'm not really into trying therapy or search and rescue, for those who might suggest it.

 

I'm undecided and would love your 2 cents. :)

 

Sorry for the novel ><

 

- Kayt

 

Rally is is a natural extension of obedience training and is a good "introductory" activity that doesn't cost very much. There's very little equipment to buy to practice at home and lessons are available through local dog clubs (NOT an endorsement of ACK, but the way) if you want them. It's a good way to get the dog used to working around other dogs as well. (ETA - and the two of you working as a team.)

 

There are two organizations that govern competitions should you want to go that far - The Association of Pet Dog trainers and AKC, but it is also very easy to get your own signs and make up a course in your back yard with some friends for fun and practice.

 

I found the book Click your Way to Rally Obedience helpful.

 

You'll likely want to move on to something with more action after a few months i.e. agility - Robin, Brodie and I have since gone on to working with sheep, but the foundation obedience training was really helpful.

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One thing about agility -- the handler has to be reasonably agile too! Or at least not totally klutzy. Like me! This was brought home to me when I brought my 12-year-old niece along to an agility lesson. She, with 7 years of ballet lessons under her belt, could run Daisy beautifully her first time out! While I was still taking turns in the wrong direction etc. But it sounds like you are young!

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A great "gateway" activity anyone can do with their dog is the Canine Life and Social Skills program (C.L.A.S.S.). You can pick and choose skills, or go for the whole enchilada. For more info visit http://mydoghasclass.com/

 

Here is a giant list of activities you may want to peruse to see what grabs you: http://mydoghasclass.com/students/activities-with-your-dog/default.aspx

 

Ditto to what Julie said on professionals and volunteers. In either case I find it helpful to get recommendations and to watch first (ask ahead of time) before enrolling.

 

Barbara

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Stock work: I don't agree that there's no reason for you to try herding if you have an interest in trying it. And as Diana said, you can't tell much from your dog's reaction to watching a trial. Until you put him on stock, you'll never know. Lots of people take lessons, who don't have sheep of their own, just for the enjoyment it brings to both dog and human. I'm one of those. The first time I saw my dog and his reaction to sheep, I was hooked. I love being "out in nature", I love my trainer's farm, I love the animals and I love the feeling of being out there with my dogs, working together. It's rewarding to me, whether or not we ever step out on a trial field. And I know lots of people may disagree, but as long as the sheep are being treated well, you have a good trainer to guide you, why not? So, my point is, I wouldn't rule this out if you really want to try.

I think Paula makes a good point here. Unfortunately, finding a good trainer who actually cares for their livestock more than the income from lessons isn't always easy. I see nothing wrong with trying stockwork, as long as you're realistic in your expectations and keep the welfare of the participants who have no choice--the stock--in mind.

 

I quite enjoy working with dogs who are just starting out and who show some talent. But I really don't enjoy owners who approach stockwork as just another fun thing for their dog to do, an activity to which the stock are just incidental (collateral damage?).

 

And I would also say that when a dog is working stock, it's not having fun in the conventional sense of the word. The dog won't be barking and wagging his tail or showing other signs of enjoyment, but it will show a sense of satisfaction that's hard to duplicate with any other activity (assuming the training is good).

 

I would also caution you to find a trainer who trials at a high level in USBCHA. There is a proliferation of people who have never made it out of the lowest levels of trialing and who hang out their shingles as trainers. If you've never made it out of novice-novice, then you don't even know what you don't know, and going to such a trainer could do more harm than good for your dog. The same goes for trainers who are geared toward AKC and the like. Bad trainers abound in all activities, I'm sure, but with stockwork there's the potential for damage to your dog and the livestock should things get out of hand. If you wouldn't consider an obedience or agility trainer who hasn't shown some aptitude for the activity they're offering training for, then please do the same for stockdog training.

 

P.S. If you want to go watch a trial, consider going to Soldier Hollow the first week in September (Sept. 2-5, Heber Valley, UT). Top teams from around the country and internationally will compete there. It would be a great way to meet folks and to make contacts for trainers near you (which may be tricky, given your location).

 

J.

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You could also consider K9 nosework and tracking too...they are both fun for the dog and an enjoyable way to spend some time together with your dog. My dog loves to track, just loves it. He likes it more than I do, actually :) but I really enjoy taking him out to a nice quiet park/field/schoolyard and laying tracks and running him on them, just the 2 of us. Its a nice bonding thing, and I love watching him puzzle out the turns and articles, and then after we play a little frisbee and come come and he zonks out. Apparently working your nose is exhausting!

 

We play agility too. I choose agility over flyball mainly because of the "team commitment" thing. I can't afford to do both, so I choose agility where if I take a hiatus its not going to affect anyone else.

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I do agility with my dog and enjoy it a lot. I second the heads-up about the foundation stuff being pretty slow when you first start out, but it's well worth the time. You'll find this to be the case especially if you have the only border collie in class, which is what I experienced with my first dog. My dog would pick everything up really quickly and then we'd just stand around while the other dogs/handlers struggled with the same activity/lesson.

 

I am currently training my second agility dog and we have been doing mostly foundation stuff for the past 6 months. I'm antsy to do more, quicker, but having a good foundation on him will be worth it in the end. I didn't do as much foundation work with my first agility dog and it has created some challenges for us as we've advanced in our competitions.

 

I havent' tried flyball, mostly because we don't have any flyball teams/trainers closer than 2 hours away. I'm also not sure that it would be the best environment for my dog (the one I currently run in agility). He can be reactive if a situation is too over stimulating for him.

 

I tried Rally, but it wasn't for me. My dog, also, was not enjoying it. He acted as if he felt it was a complete waste of his time. He's intelligent and easy to train, but he prefers the face-paced sports, which is why he enjoys agility.

 

I tried "herding" a few times, but we had a bad experience with a not-so-good trainer and my dog decided that sheep brought bad things to him and he would have severe anxiety attacks whenever he saw sheep. So, I didn't push it. Where I live, there really aren't any good options for training anyway and we aren't ever going back to the other place.

 

Dock diving is out of the question because he just sort of slides into the water like an otter, though he does enjoy swimming quite a bit. I have a better shot with my latest dog, since he is actually willing to leap into the water and he's pretty athletic, too.

 

So, basically, I let my dog decide which sport/activity he wanted to do.

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At the risk of sounding obvious, don't forget to let what your dog likes to do dictate your choice somewhat. There's few things more painful for me to watch than a dog who is obviously not having a good time at the activity his handler has chosen for him, and watching the handler get frustrated with the dog for not putting 100% into it. The whole point of doing something fun with your dog is for you both to have fun with it. Piper found flyball incredibly stressful, and even though she ran her tiny little legs off, more than once she would explode runny poop in the lane at the start, or after a run, so I pulled her out of the sport altogether. It was not a super sad loss for me, being I really don't like flyball either, but I think Tweed missed it a little. After all, where else can he bark his fool head off and not get in trouble for it?

 

The caveat here being that of course you and your dog should not engage in something the dog finds fun, but is dangerous for either of you, or puts something else at risk (ie stockdog work with a dog who has no talent. Sheep Make Dexter Angry for some reason, so I no longer put him on sheep). Wootie's chosen "sport," for example, is killing squirrels but I choose not to pursue this hobby with him ;-) But after some trial and error (flyball? Why should I run fast to get the ball? If someone else wants it that bad, they can have it. And agility? If these obstacles are in our way, why don't you just move them rather than make me hop over them?) we discovered that he thinks dock diving is oodles of fun.

 

Anyway, I think dabbling in everything is a good way to get your feet wet and see what your dog has a natural inclination to do. And he may very well be versatile enough to play multiple sports and you might enjoy that too. But it's sort of a personal thing between you and your dog, which sport(s) you decide to play.

 

As for flyball, NAFA has a team locator board, and maybe there's a team in your area: http://flyballdogs.com/locator.html and maybe U-Fli does as well, I'm not sure: http://www.u-fli.com/index.php?id=12

 

RDM

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I agree with Julie about the stock work.

 

 

 

But I read this very carefully because I need my dogs for my job. But what if I didn't?

 

 

What if I had no work and could not trial?

 

 

 

I would do dog sledding. My little Cap was a great lead dog when my team was still running. He would not pull but knew all the commands. I have talked to folks whose border collies pull like mad!

 

 

 

And you can get a dry land rig made pretty easy, or use one of those scooter things when there is no snow.

 

 

 

It is great fun. All my team is retired now. But I have a few border collies...Hum? maybe in my 'spare' time! :)

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I tried Rally, but it wasn't for me. My dog, also, was not enjoying it. He acted as if he felt it was a complete waste of his time. He's intelligent and easy to train, but he prefers the face-paced sports, which is why he enjoys agility.

 

......So, basically, I let my dog decide which sport/activity he wanted to do.

 

This really makes me smile. Robin was bored to tears with Rally - it was too repetitive and there was really no challenge in it for him once we learned the basic course, but again, I will emphasize it was very good for teaching manners and it was the only activity I could do with him at the time because if my own limitations but the pace was just too slow for him.

 

When he saw an agility demonstration, he threw back his head and went rooo rooo rooo! This looks like great fun! And when he saw sheep, he got really quiet and serious. It was very easy to see where his heart was.

 

Brodie might be an excellent Frisbee prospect (something not yet mentioned). He's lean and fast and loves his Frisbee more than a ball. But he is also very intent on his sheep. He rocks the crate with excitement when we head for the farm or for a lesson.

 

We went for the sheep.

 

Liz

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Kayt, what do you and Oliver like to do together now? Are there things you like that he doesn't really or vice versa?

 

All of the activities I've done with my dogs required some time to understand well enough to decide to make the commitment to continue. In that sense, I have definitely dabbled around, but as my understanding deepened (independently of any competitions), so did my commitment and interest.

 

Interestingly, neither of the dogs I tried to train for flyball would do it--neither seemed to really get the point. I found aspects of flyball a lot of fun, but the barking got to me over time.

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Wow, thanks for all of your input! I agree with letting my dog choose the sport, I'd be happy with whatever he picks. I think we'll try agility first and see if it clicks or not. I really like the dog sledding suggestion, we get a lot of snow in the winter months and it would be a blast. There are trails around ski resorts near me that have back trails we could use.

 

There's a dog park near us that has 3-4 agility pieces that Oliver and I mess around with. Tunnel, dogwalk, A-frame, and tables. It was pretty neat watching Oliver get over his fear of the A-frame, now he runs right on up.

 

And yeah, I am young. 19 in two months :)

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Kayt, what do you and Oliver like to do together now? Are there things you like that he doesn't really or vice versa?

 

All of the activities I've done with my dogs required some time to understand well enough to decide to make the commitment to continue. In that sense, I have definitely dabbled around, but as my understanding deepened (independently of any competitions), so did my commitment and interest.

 

Interestingly, neither of the dogs I tried to train for flyball would do it--neither seemed to really get the point. I found aspects of flyball a lot of fun, but the barking got to me over time.

 

 

 

Right now we aren't into anything, just hiking, swimming (not really swimming, we go to a creek that isn't deep and I throw sticks into it for him to retrieve), and going to a huge park nearby to just run around.

This is fun and all and he loves it, I just want to try something a little more complicated to see if it's more rewarding/fun.

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I came to agility from the equestrian world. My dog, Luke, grew up coming to the barn with me every day and we would often play with the horse jumps in the arena. I'd always enjoyed seeing agility competitions on t.v., so I decided to sign us up for a class one winter when it was really stinking cold and we wanted to get out of the barn for a bit.

 

Two years after that I didn't have any horses anymore, had two dogs and bought a house to be able to train agility at home. lol The bug bit me hard!

 

That said, I think the more well-rounded you can make your dog the better. My dogs are "agility dogs" but we also play frisbee (Luke even managed to win when we entered a competition on a whim many years ago!), go swimming, diving, etc. We practice our agility skills a few times a week and the rest of the time is spent doing other fun things they enjoy.

 

I am horrible at anything obedience related. I think watching competition obedience or rally is about as fun as paint drying, but I have many friends who are very happily involved in that world (as are their dogs, so I probably just don't train it right!).

 

One sport that sucked me in that was totally unexpected -- Canine weight pull! Several of my Klee Kai owning friends were doing it with their dogs, so I started to train Kaiser and was hooked after our first pull. And don't think border collies can't pull -- I have a friend who's little female routinely pulls over 1000 lbs!

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I am a little late to this topic based on the # of replies, but also wanted to put my 2 cents in - although many of my opinions have already been stated by others. Apologies in advance for the repetitions.

 

Find something you AND your dog enjoys. When I adopted a rescue (sheltie X) about 9 years ago, I signed up for beginning obedience. The instructor made the same point and used herself as an example: She had a sheltie who would enjoy agility, but she didn't because she was 5'2" tall and over 200 lbs (not very mobile). So you and your dog should be both mentally and physically prepared for a shared activity.

 

I love agility because I love the speed and the challenges, and I think my dog does too. I find obedience and rally boring because they are too slow and too precise for me. (although good for foundation work up to a point) I am more the type where the goal is the priority, but how you reach the goal is open to interpretation (within limits). To me, obedience and rally are more about the process and less about the goal.

 

One thing that has not been mentioned is Freestyle (dancing with your dog). Again, not my cup of tea, at least not in a competitive way - but I do admit the quite a few of the moves require excellent body and rear-end awareness that can be very helpful for agility.

 

I also think that nosework can be very exciting for both dog and human. I have done a little tracking and LOVED it. I think that nosework is an activity that doesn't require a lot of resources so you can do it in your backyard - without a lot of equipment.

 

Flyball - The dogs seem to really enjoy it, but not so much for me. I get a kick out of watching it, but do not necessarily want to participate. And since my dog has had a couple of injuries (by playing ball in the backyard), I have stayed away from flyball after hearing from a couple of vets (a general vet and a rehab specialist) that the flyball dogs have proportionally more injuries than other sports. Mostly front-end injuries due to repeated box turns.

 

Search and rescue - I know someone who does SAR with a local team and the time and dedication he puts into it is tremendous. Unless you are very serious about SAR and are willing to put in the time required, it is not fair to a SAR team to 'play' at SAR. Talk to someone in your local SAR to investigate further, but you may want to substitute nosework/tracking for truly dedicated SAR work. An excellent book to read to get an idea of SAR is "Scent of the Missing".

 

Dock-diving: looks like great fun. Would love to try it if I had access to a dock.

 

Frisbee - If your dog is a good jumper, he may like frisbee. I do think that certain body-types are more suited to frisbee work than others. Even though I keep my dog lean for agility, he just isn't avery co-ordinated leaper. His frisbee activity is limited to chasing 'rollers' which he loves.

 

Enough, enough. The great thing about BCs is that they are happy to 'work' with you - so have fun with your dog!.

 

Jovi

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I want to second Julie's suggestion about being sure to go to Soldier Hollow. It is an awesome trial and is really set up well for spectators. In addition to the actual sheepdog trial, there is a dock diving venue, and that is very popular. There are demonstrations of agility and duck herding, and there are wonderful booths. I always get something (well, usually some thingS) from the Navajo rug and jewelry tent. Western Border Collie Rescue is there with dogs. Last year Amelia Smith did daily demonstrations of starting a young border collie on sheep. And you can meet other board members there. Like me! Anna Guthrie will be doing the sheep set-out again, and others will be watching or even running dogs -- e.g. Robin (Shoofly Farm). Check out the web site:

 

Soldier Hollow Classic

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Another thing to consider is cost, especially at your age. Agility is significantly more expensive than flyball.

 

Flyball is a team sport, and as some have mentioned that has its highs and lows. Most of the time though, the highs far outnumber the lows. You just have to find a team that has the same goals and training agendas as you. When you and the team mesh, they are like your family.

 

For either sport, I would suggest going to watch a trial/tourney and also going to watch a practice/class. Many flyball clubs offer, or can point you to, a flyball intro class. Keep in mind there are many different venues of agility, and they can vary greatly. There are only two venues for flyball, and they are pretty much the same.

 

Frisbee is a low-cost sport to consider as well. Sometimes you can find a clinic in the basics of frisbee.

 

The best way I've found to get more info on everything you can do is find a "bark in the park" or "dog days" kind of event, as they often have demos.

 

good luck!

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