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In my experience, this is not measurable. One of the fundamental differences between stockdog owners (as a generalization) and sport dog handlers (again as a generalization) is that sport dog handlers do not train up dogs in a sport to then sell them on to someone else. I would not want to buy someone's titled sport dog because most of the fun is getting those titles whilst competing with the dog yourself.

 

If I had a genuine need for a working dog for my livestock, I could see the value of purchasing a trained dog. I doubt that any sport person can see where the value of buying a trained and titled agility dog would be. Training up the dog and forming that partnership where you and the dog are speaking the same language in the ring isn't something you can buy pre-packaged. Q'ing, winning, winning major events is satisfying, yes. Even people who do agility "just for fun" are thrilled with wins - wins are always satisfying - but owning a dog that wins in and of itself is not a thrill. And there would be no intrinsic monetary value in a dog who was titled to high levels of agility, because agility is about throwing money at the sport, and recouping exactly none of it (there are seldom monetary payouts in any agility venue). The only people who would really accurately be described as people who get monetary gains from campaigning their agility dogs to high levels would be the ones who use these wins as a yardstick by which to measure their training ability, and thereby collect more students and/or buyers for their training programs, or breeders who breed for agility dogs and can demonstrate that the dogs they produce are routinely at the top of the game (whether this is accurate or not - ie, whether one can breed "for" agility qualities - is a different discussion though).

 

RDM

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Thanks, Sheena. I thought that might be the case. Do you think that explains the difference in puppy prices between working-bred and sport-bred dogs? The $$ "value" in the latter case is the potential to build that partnership but in the case of a working bred pup, the value gets added much later with the development of the working ability.. I saw an ad for a dog being marketed to a "novice agility home" and the price was about what I've seen (or even a bit lower) for sport bred puppies, which is why I wondered about it.

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If I were interested in purchasing a 3-4 year old agility dog who had a MACH title already, how much should I expect to pay? (For the record, I'm not looking. I'm interested in a crude measure of the value placed on training a dog to such a level).

 

As an Agility enthusiast, a dog who already has a MACH is of absolutely no value to me. The dog is trained and experienced. Where is the fun in that?

 

The only circumstance under which I would consider taking such a dog into my home is if the owner had died, or were unable to keep the dog due to serious illness or utter financial ruin or deployment for the military or some extreme circumstance like that. In that case, I would not expect to pay for the dog at all because I would be taking the dog by personal request of someone I presume is a friend or student or something.

 

I may continue to play Agility with the dog, just for fun, in a completely different venue, but I would more likely explore something that would be new to the dog like Freestyle (into which I could bring some Agility skills for the dog's enjoyment) or Rally Free. I much prefer to take a completely untrained dog, even more preferably one with some major obstacle to being successful, and take the road of training and competing together, regardless of the outcome.

 

And, honestly, I don't know of anyone who would sell a MACH dog, or a dog who has earned the equivalent in some other venue or sport. I have heard of high level sport folks rehoming dogs who don't work out as a sport prospect, but I have never heard of someone rehoming one that had achieved a high level of success. I can't say it's not done, but I've never heard of it.

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The price you pay is what the market will bear. Getting a high priced ($1000-2500) sport bred dog does not guarantee a great agility dog. It is probably market, color, whatever.....personally I think it is excessive. The top Jr Handler (I think 2yrs ago) was a working cattleline dog that I sold for $300. He beat the higher priced dogs.....the jr handler put tons of training on sheep and agility.She found out the herding commands helped a lot....down, stay, away, comebye and get out. Her dog had a great down and he learned it at herding. If you were to get an agility dogs, look at the parents...working abililty, temperment, health, breeding for working, biddablity, proven track record on stock.....JMHO

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I think that such a dog would have value as a "schoolmaster" for a novice handler. I guess that the value would be dependent on someone was willing to pay.

 

As for the price of agility prospect puppies from sports lines, see above. These days the going rate seems to be $1500-2000. And people are lining up to pay this.

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I think that such a dog would have value as a "schoolmaster" for a novice handler.

 

I would agree in theory, but in practice it just doesn't seem to be done, at least not to any great extent.

 

Most of us get into Agility in the first place to do something fun with our own dogs, and it blossoms from there.

 

That said, a friend of mine ran Maddie from time to time, and she definitely gained skills from running a dog who was further along than hers was at the time. A lot of us swap dogs from time to time for various and sundry reasons, and gaining experience could be one of those. But I've never known anyone new to Agility who went and bought a fully trained Agility dog, not even to gain skill as a novice handler. And I don't know of anyone who trains Agility dogs to sell as trained dogs to novices. I don't know that there would be much of a market for that, actually.

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Do you think that explains the difference in puppy prices between working-bred and sport-bred dogs? The $$ "value" in the latter case is the potential to build that partnership but in the case of a working bred pup, the value gets added much later with the development of the working ability..

 

 

I think this is pretty accurate. Though I would add "and put lots of titles on their dog" afer "build partnership" because I do think that those people who are dropping serious coin on sport bred puppies are assuming it will pay off with lots of titles and agility successes. Whether or not it's because of the breeding or the time/effort of the trainer is a whole other question. I tend to believe that people who are willing to pay a lot for a sport bred puppy are usually people who are very serious about the sport, and are going to spend a lot of money, time, and effort training that dog to high levels. It may then appear that the sport breeding was a big driver in the dog's success, when it may simply be a result of all the training the dog has had. Of course, you still have to have a motivated and driven dog to be a top handler, and most sport bred dogs have that (some have way too much, IMO).

 

And I've never heard of anyone purchasing a highly titled agility dog. For reasons already stated, that would just not be something that I can imagine that anyone would want to do.

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I think this is pretty accurate. Though I would add "and put lots of titles on their dog" afer "build partnership" because I do think that those people who are dropping serious coin on sport bred puppies are assuming it will pay off with lots of titles and agility successes. Whether or not it's because of the breeding or the time/effort of the trainer is a whole other question. I tend to believe that people who are willing to pay a lot for a sport bred puppy are usually people who are very serious about the sport, and are going to spend a lot of money, time, and effort training that dog to high levels. It may then appear that the sport breeding was a big driver in the dog's success, when it may simply be a result of all the training the dog has had. Of course, you still have to have a motivated and driven dog to be a top handler, and most sport bred dogs have that (some have way too much, IMO).

 

And I've never heard of anyone purchasing a highly titled agility dog. For reasons already stated, that would just not be something that I can imagine that anyone would want to do.

 

Agreed on both these points.

 

I tried to come up with a way to figure a price and couldn't do it. As already pointed out, it's just not done. It's not the nature of agility. I don't know anyone who would pay for a fully trained agility dog who already had all the big titles, nor anyone who would sell one. There are exceptions, but even the "big names" I know in agility hold on to their retirees.

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I saw an ad for a dog being marketed to a "novice agility home" and the price was about what I've seen (or even a bit lower) for sport bred puppies, which is why I wondered about it.

 

Was this an older, trained agility dog, then? Just curious, because that's weird to me. ;)

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Even in the horse industry, the most money is paid for prospects. The few that reach high levels and are valuable for breeding stock down the road will hold some value. But past that, seems like training does not always add to the value. With the other exception being of course the old school masters.

 

I finally took the big step and bought a dog with great foundation training. It was worth every penny! And I got a great deal. He has helped my understanding and handling so much, that it was totally worth it!

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Was this an older, trained agility dog, then? Just curious, because that's weird to me. ;)

 

 

It's weird to me, too. I see sometimes in rescue that dogs are advertised as "good agility" or "good sport prospect". Some of those dogs may have even been in foster homes where they received some basic agility training. But, I haven't ever heard of someone selling off their "started" agility dog. That would just be weird. After all, agility is just a fun activity that we do with our pet dogs. As RDM pointed out, only a few people make money off the sport in the form of students and clinics, etc. But, for the majority of us, it's a money pit that we feed for our own enjoyment of playing with our dogs.

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No, it wasn't a fully trained older dog. It was about 2 and had "foundation training" (A blue Merle Sheltie that got too big--so there was probably a conformation issue there, but since the dog was being sold, I wondered what the value of the training was). I think this cultural difference in what qualities the different markets will value is pretty interesting (explainable on both sides). The same, of course, is that not many in either arena make much money--it'd be neat to know some relative numbers about making (or significantly supplementing) a living from these two avenues. Thanks for the insights.

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It's weird to me, too. I see sometimes in rescue that dogs are advertised as "good agility" or "good sport prospect". Some of those dogs may have even been in foster homes where they received some basic agility training.

 

Even that would put me off as a potential adoptor. There would have to be something super special about a dog who was already receiving any kind of training in a foster home for me to even consider asking to meet the dog.

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Even that would put me off as a potential adoptor. There would have to be something super special about a dog who was already receiving any kind of training in a foster home for me to even consider asking to meet the dog.

 

 

Why would that put you off?

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Do you think that explains the difference in puppy prices between working-bred and sport-bred dogs? The $$ "value" in the latter case is the potential to build that partnership but in the case of a working bred pup, the value gets added much later with the development of the working ability

I've had this conversation a lot with various of my friends. Prices are rising for working bred puppies, and I've often pointed out that if I was going to pay $1000-1500 for a puppy (which seems to be a standard rate in other venues), then I'd be better served by spending that on a just started dog, where at least I'd get to see what I'm getting for my money.

 

For example, I was recently told that I could probably get $1,500 for Kes as a just started dog ready to be trained up more fully for nursery trials. For my money, I could actually see the dog on stock and get some idea about her working style and how she responds to handler interaction and to the stock. I'd be much more willing to part with that much money knowing (at least more so than with a pup) something of what I was getting vis a vis working style/ability.

 

If you consider that essentially any dog (yes, a generalization, but I think a fair one in this case) with some talent, sufficient drive, and a good connection to its human could be trained as an agility partner, then I could see where someone would be willing to pay more for a pup from, say successful parents, who also appears to have a good structure for sport, knowing that barring some totally unexpected issue that pup would likely grow into a good agility dog.

 

I would not pay that for a working bred puppy, because there's so much unknown about what you'll get when you finally start training it.

 

Again, I realize these are generalizations, but as others have pointed out in this thread, most agility folks are in it for fun and for doing something fun/rewarding with their dogs. Genetics plays a role in structure, personality, etc., that could play a role in the dog's success as a sport competitor, but IMO not in the same way that genetics play a role in the working ability/success of a stockdog (the basis of the idea that one can pretty much do agility with any dog partner they choose, as long as the dog is amenable to the game, whereas the same is not true of a dog needed to manage livestock).

 

J.

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On average, from what I've seen (i.e. don't take offense as it may not apply to you personally!), sports people are a lot more attached to their dogs than in the working community. Dogs don't change hands as readily. That said, there are some top agility trainers who may hold on to two pups from a litter to train and then decide which to keep, offering the second up to a friend or student. Passing older dogs to students is not that unheard of either. This is usually not an advertised sale for a certain amount of money though. I used to let students run and trial my older dog to learn on, but I never considered selling her or giving her up.

 

Sports and Stockwork are two different worlds.

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On average, from what I've seen (i.e. don't take offense as it may not apply to you personally!), sports people are a lot more attached to their dogs than in the working community. Dogs don't change hands as readily. ...

Sports and Stockwork are two different worlds.

^^This is absolutely true, largely because the larger stockdog culture (in general) views their dogs not as pets but as work partners. That said, I think as more people cross over from other venues into the working dog world, we'll find that fewer folks pass dogs along (in general, people who are trialing competitively or who have a specific need in a work dog excepted). I have been the lucky recipient of a retiree open trial dog from someone else, and I have let students learn on and friends trial my semi-retired open dogs, but I am one of those who is pathologically unable to move a dog along, even though logically I know that at least one of my dogs might do better in a different situation (that is, with a person who likes his working style better than I do). So in some ways this is changing, but I think it also reflects the fact that a stockdog will be happy if it can work, period, whereas I would expect that the joy many sport dogs find in their task is directly tied to doing it with their human.

 

J.

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Why would that put you off?

 

Because I much prefer to do all of the training myself. It is part of the whole experience for me, and it lays the foundation for the entire training relationship between myself and my dog. I think that of all of the training that I have done with my dogs, some of the best memories that I have with each of them were those early stages of training and seeing the lightbulb go on with each and every new concept learned.

 

I would always feel that I had missed something very special if I were to adopt a dog who had learned the basics already. There are very few circumstances in which I could see doing so.

 

I can see where some would consider it an advantage to have some training on an adoptee, but I definitely prefer to have as little as possible, if any at all.

 

Personal preference.

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I don't know much about it... but I have heard some people do like to purchase or acquire trained sport dog for their kids to run. I know some people will let kids run their experience dogs since their dogs are already at that level and the kids are just having fun. And yes the kids are running MACH dogs.

 

If you are in Jr handler and do well you can earn scholarships for school. Also if you run multiple dogs and breed its also worth more. Not 100% sure but specially if you get to a high level with it.

 

Does that help? Idk how much of any $$$ has switch hands though.

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No, it wasn't a fully trained older dog. It was about 2 and had "foundation training" (A blue Merle Sheltie that got too big--so there was probably a conformation issue there, but since the dog was being sold, I wondered what the value of the training was). I think this cultural difference in what qualities the different markets will value is pretty interesting (explainable on both sides). The same, of course, is that not many in either arena make much money--it'd be neat to know some relative numbers about making (or significantly supplementing) a living from these two avenues. Thanks for the insights.

 

Oh, ok. Interesting for sure.

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Come to think of it, I have heard of one case where a young dog with probably a bit more than foundation training might be moved on. Whether he would be sold or placed, I don't know. And I don't know if it actually happened. This is a case of an agility competitor getting a young dog and starting him and then having her husband fall ill. Her husband's illness means that she can't devote the time to the young dog that she'd like to, so when I last talked to her she was talking about placing him. This is the sort of extenuating circumstance where someone might move a dog on. In this person's case, I think she was thinking that the young dog would be happier in a home that could do sports with him.

 

J.

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No, it wasn't a fully trained older dog. It was about 2 and had "foundation training" (A blue Merle Sheltie that got too big--so there was probably a conformation issue there, but since the dog was being sold, I wondered what the value of the training was).

 

I would guess it has a little something to do with the dog's breeding (I don't know from shelties, but perhaps a breeder of popular/famous/well known dogs) and possibly an attempt at marketing to a wider audience for a slightly older dog, and/or possibly the owner's way of trying to recoup some of their costs. I dunno. I think, based on my experience with sports people, that it's more the value in the mind of the seller than it would be the market he or she is trying to sell to.

 

When I am adopting out a dog that I think has great sports potential, I make a point of stressing that and also limiting applications to people who are going to do sports with that particular dog. If anything, it limits the pool of adopters rather than increases it, so I'm not trying to increase its market value, so to speak, but trying to find the dog a home where it will have its needs met. I would guess, in this case, it's more trying to prove the dog is worth the money the seller is trying to recoup, though from my perspective, it's a bit of a missed target.

 

RDM

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... but I think it also reflects the fact that a stockdog will be happy if it can work, period, whereas I would expect that the joy many sport dogs find in their task is directly tied to doing it with their human.

 

This is so true. For most agility dogs, especially the newbies, agility is fun because it is a fun game that they get to play with their human. Some dogs eventually grow to love the game so much that they will play with anyone... but for so many dogs, the fun really lies in playing with their own humans. Example: my older dog does great with me (either in trial or class), but it took months before she would run well with my husband in class (she used to run over to me constantly). Now, they are working towards being able to trial together, but even though they run well in class, a trial is a whole new ball of wax, and they've had a bumpy road. It get's better with time... but for Anja it has been hard to learn that agility is not just 'our' game.

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I'll sell you mine for a million dollars ;)

 

Seriously though, I do know ONE person who gets puppies (bred from mostly the same lines as her own), raises them, begins foundation training, and then, if I guess they don't exhibit certain specific amazing qualities, will sell the dog to a fellow agility competitor. I don't know how much she charges but I don't think it's extreme. It's definitely a "horse person" mentality. It doesn't bother me that she does this, although I never could! I'd get too attached.

 

But this is really, really uncommon. Besides maybe a breeder holding on to a prospect for a while before deciding whether to sell the puppy, I haven't heard of this. Sometimes dogs are rehomed but I don't know about a lot, or any, money changing hands.

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