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Do agility with your Border Collie just for fun? I don't mean at home by yourselves, but in groups.


I've been in agility classes with mine for over a year now. We both enjoy it a great deal.


It seems that the emphasis is really on preparing to compete, though, and I'm not sure that's something I'd really want to do.


Do any of you belong to groups that do agility just for fun?

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Hi Sapphire - I compete with my Border Collies in agility as well as work them on stock, and do about 2 flyball tournaments a year.


I train as a group with my best friend, her husband and our Registered Massage Therapist and her husband.



It seems that the emphasis is really on preparing to compete, though, and I'm not sure that's something I'd really want to do.


Even though at this time you are dong the agility classes for fun, you may decide to compete at a trial to see how you like it. The training that you received in classes will be important at that point. Even though most people start out in agility classes "just to have fun with their dog" many at a future date decide to compete with their dogs. Responsible instructors will therefore structure their classes for "competitive" training so that these dogs will have the proper training to be able to compete. There is a huge difference between fooling around with agility and having the necessary training on a dog in order to be able to step into a ring.


We occasionally take on private students that have decided they want to compete, and because their instructors had just let them fool around with their dogs "for fun" they now do not have the proper basics needed on their dogs for competition, and we have had to start them from scratch as if they and their dog had never been to classes.

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Originally posted by Sapphire:

It seems that the emphasis is really on preparing to compete, though, and I'm not sure that's something I'd really want to do.

The reason there is an "emphasis" on competing is because there is no point in training in the sport if you don't do it well in the first place. Whether or not you ever compete with your dog, agility training should be thorough and proper. The point of the sport (ribbons and titles aside) is to develop a good working relationship with your dog and consistently improve on it - the faster and cleaner you go, the better you and your dog are at working together.


Competing is fun. We have a great time. I entered the AAC Regionals last year with Tweed, who had only been training for maybe 5 months, just because it was something to try. Naturally, he didn't Q for Nationals, but it was worth it to work with him in a different environment, a different set of courses etc.


And on that note, when I first began competing with Tweed some of his, err, problems were reflected by competition ... he would sometimes develop stress behaviours (like running around scratching his back in the tunnel, or refusing to get on the table because someone in the audience was - gasp - looking at hime) but competition helped us to strengthen our partnership and now he is running fast, clean and consistent and watching me for his cues. In our last trial he moved his way up to Masters Jumpers and Snooker ... it was only his fifth trial ever.


My point being, there is no reason you HAVE to compete, but you should train as though you plan to because agility is only fun for you and the dog when you both improve and learn. I wouldn't want to join a club where there was no emphasis on competing because it would probably mean there was no emphasis on getting better and being the best you and your dog can be. If I am paying someone to teach me something, I want them to teach me the most they can, and serious agility competitors are the most likely to offer that kind of instruction.



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All of what you both said makes sense!


I certainly don't want to learn sloppy agility, so I'm appreciative of the structure of my class. The instructor is good and has gone the extra mile to help us work out issues along the way and continues to do so!


I like the idea of training to be good enough to compete, whether we should choose to do it or not.

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Bailey competes in agility. I'd have to agree-its very important to get the proper training-even if you don't plan on competing. The training facility that we trained at sets up the equipment in the huge park across the street from them every third friday of the month. Everyone pays $10 that wants to participate and the dogs compete. Of course they don't win anything-but it is a great way to see how far along your dog has come, and how he acts when a bunch of other people are watching. And you are practicing as if you really were at a competition.

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happy had her first agility trial a little while ago, it went horrable lol, the first time was the worst, the second time was much better, she did the tunnles and jumps perfectly all at hyper speed, problem was that she skipped the weaves, and took to the pause tabble like it was a spread jump! lol I think I will do jumpers with her.. :eek:

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well, he's still a bit sporadic with the exception of sit and come(although he always does what I ask when i have a cookie :rolleyes: ). And it's probably going to take a loooooonnnnnnnnnng time before he gets stay, since he refuses to budge from my side. I've gotten him to do it when I'm only a couple yards away, but even then he starts to look uncomfortable after a few seconds and comes running. Poor boy. I just don't understand how anyone could have abused and neglected my baby. But, to make a long story short, I imagine that training him is going to take quite a while.

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Do agility with your Border Collie just for fun?
I'm only now beginning to dabble in agility.


Before agility really took hold in this country, I would improvise by setting up obstacles in my backyard & take my dogs to playgrounds & used to self-contained jungle gyms(?????) and used to all-in-one jungles gyms (????--the kind with the sway bridge, 2 slides, etc). I found this to be especially useful with dogs that lacked self-confidence, but all of my dogs were exposed to this.


Now, a local group has an intro agility class which I'm using now for the same reason.


In the first case, I would take, for example, a dog that had been a kennel dog. A remember a dog that had been so backward, she didn't know how to use steps, no self confidence. I took her feet, one at a time, and placed them on the steps, coax her over the sway bridge and go down the slide with her. (That was quite a sight). 2 times of doing this made a tremendous difference in her. She felt she could take on the world---her body language said it all.


In the intro agility class, after a 3 or 4 hour session, I've seen a difference.----but that's just an intro class.


I now have one dog I'm working on in agility. My first priority with agility is to have a good time, but with the idea of competing sometime down the road. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the "ride" to our first agility trial.


My Petey, now over 14 yrs., would actually very politely stand in line with kids to take his turn to climb onto this "jungle gym" and go down the slide. It was near a picnic pavilion and there was one time when everyone in the pavilion stopped what they were doing as they watched Pete run up to get in line to take his turn. When he made it down the slide, everyone burst into laughter. Ah, those BC brains.


Sorry for the ramble & walk down memory lane. It's early, I'm exhausted.


Happy Holidays to all.



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Our dog club was started almost 30 years ago and has always given classes to the public, from puppy, household manners, obedience and the last years added agility.


We are also certified by Delta and TDI for theraphy and have a group that goes to hospitals and nursing homes.


We put on one obedience show a year and two agility, one the next 2-3-4th of January, in ten days.


Yes, we are AKC licensed as they are the only association for several hundred miles around that has any such dog events of any kind.


The only close by herding association I know of is also several hundred miles away but we do have a few trials within one to several hundred miles.


Some of our members have been high in the standings and gone to obedience and agility "invitationals" and the nationals, placing high.

Several have MACH's on their dogs.


Practically all members have other jobs, are not dog trainers. Dogs are their hobby.


We have about 100+ members but I would guess only half are active training and even less showing.

Many help with classes and shows for fun.


For those interesed, when you go to any show/herding trial, offer your help.


To be part of the process will help make it even more fun!

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