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Obedience vs. Agility For Border Collies


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A question for those of you who do agility and are also familiar with obedience. Do you think a Border Collie is more suited for one than the other, in terms of keeping the dog interested? I am talking tendencies here; I know individual dogs will be different.

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I think most border collies are interested in any activity that you are interested in. they want to be with YOU doing things. so the question, for me, is what do you prefer doing? personally, I find obedience a bit boring, so even though we might excel in it, I don't feel like doing it as a hobby. I much prefer the speed and challenges of agility.

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I think a lot of border collies would get bored with the mindless repetition of traditional obedience. Agilty's more varied and also engages a border collie's natural athleticism and need for exercise.

 

I've only done a little of both and if I were looking to do something like that again, whether competitively or just for fun, I'd definitely choose agility.

 

Mostly though they just want to be doing something with you, even if it's pretty low key like therapy work. B)

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I like doing both because I see two totally different aspects of my BCs personality.

 

When we're doing obedience, I see her laser-like focus. She's so attentive, precise, and sharp in her movements. When we train or play in agility, she's so carefree, exuberant, and a little bit wild. The ability and encouragement for her to run as fast as she can is so much fun for her.

 

I think if she had to choose, she would pick agility, which is what we do more often anyway because I think it is more fun for both of us, but she's very good at both.

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A question for those of you who do agility and are also familiar with obedience. Do you think a Border Collie is more suited for one than the other, in terms of keeping the dog interested? I am talking tendencies here; I know individual dogs will be different.

I do mainly obedience and a little agility. As much as I love obedience, most dogs find agility more interesting. All the running and jumping is fun! Obedience can be lots of fun too but the trainer has to be creative to keep things interesting for the dog. Border collies are well suited to either sport.

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I think a lot of border collies would get bored with the mindless repetition of traditional obedience.

I agree. Repetition will bore any dog(and handler=)! I know I'm in the minority here, but I really love obedience (but not mindless repetition-lol)! Finding ways to make the exercises fun and interesting for my dogs as well as get the get the precision you need is so exciting!!!

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I think they can excel in and enjoy either one, but I get the feeling most will inherently enjoy the rush of bolting around an agility course over jumps, through tunnels/weaves, and over the contacts more than obedience. However I'm sure you can make obedience just as fun if that's what you are interested in!

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It really does depend on the dog. I have one who really did not care for Agility. He ate up Rally, though - he would have adored Obedience training.

 

Bandit, my youngest, seems to enjoy both Agility and Rally, but he seems to actually like Rally just a tick more!

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Way before I started agility, I was taking a new dog manners class with a rescue dog. I still remember that the instructor said that the best activity was the one that BOTH the dog and handler enjoyed. That made an impression on me even before I started participating in dog sports.

 

I do believe that many dogs (and BCs) enjoy the athleticism and speed of agility, but having said that, if you don't enjoy it, I think that your dog will pick up on that. So do what you can get really excited about and I think that attitude will transfer to your dog.

 

I prefer agility, because I find the precision movements required in competition obedience boring.

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I prefer agility, because I find the precision movements required in competition obedience boring.

 

I actually find them kind of stupid. I used to lose points because I used a two word cue, "lie down" for the down (he was beginning stock work as well so that's just what came naturally to me and I refused to conform, and they'd deduct points for using more than one word. AFAIK I could have used the single word "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and been OK, but not two words. (Someone who does competitive obedience is free to correct me, as I may be exaggerating to make a point. :lol:)

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What Rufftie said.

 

Mine has shown a talent for competitive obedience with very little training but I wouldn't want to make it my lifestyle.

 

Excellent at agility and promising on sheep.

 

I'm sure he'd give anything a go.

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It really doesn't matter at all, just do something that's fun for you and the dog and work at it together.


I originally allowed myself to have a BC because I was already doing agility and I had heard 'THEY NEED A JOB' so many times that I'd decided that unless I was doing some kind of competitive sport or useful work I couldn't hack it and the dog would be miserable and it just plain wouldn't work.


What I failed to really grasp was that 'job' was shorthand for: Engage deeply with your dog in a meaningful and somewhat structured way, often and with great sincerity and while really being *present* with the dog (ie: Not just throwing a ball for them while you're reading a book).


Until I got that part, I was having a real crisis as an owner/of confidence because my dog *could not* hack agility, at least at that point.

 

We do train agility, and maybe she'll do it someday, but only if it's fun rather than stress for both of us. Her happy place, however, is disc, hiking, and helping with the household chores (she particularly enjoys helping with laundry).

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I've also found OB to appear pretty boring and too regimented for my liking. But Denise Fenzi is putting together something new that looks like it might be fun to work through http://fenziteamtitles.com/about/

 

I'm not interested in titles, but I love the way this breaks down the exercises and adds some variety. Looks like it could be fun.

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Cpt Jack, the video of your little dog doing outdoor agility in the other thread actually looks like something both Hannah and I would enjoy doing at home. Your dog looks happy! Most of my exposure to agility was indoors and it was too 'busy' for me. I guess I am susceptible to overstimulation; more so than my dog lol. I am picking up great ideas here. In my video, It is clear to me that Hannah has lost her former enthusiasm (toward the end I can almost hear her say "Oh, this again"), so it's time to retire that trick and find something fresh.

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Some of it's the course type - Nadac style courses tend to be less twisty and with more space between obstacles - but some of it really is being outside. My dog doesn't do well indoors and neither do I. It's just not as much fun!

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I'm biased - obedience is my first love and what I adore doing with my dogs. Getting wonderful heeling is pretty much the best thing on earth - but since we have started herding in the past year and a half, it's becoming a close second! Watching him work is also amazing... just different forms of communication.

 

That being said, I think that obedience is much harder for border collies. Border collies are natural multi-taskers. Noticing things, monitoring an entire flock, reorienting to something new, checking for missed sheep, responding to the slightest bit of pressure - that's natural for them. To be truly successful in obedience (and making it look beautiful IMO) the dog needs to not do those things all the time - not react to surroundings, not notice the child running outside the ring, not notice something flapping in the distance, etc. Sensitive to body pressure means that even me hitting a tiny hole in the ground while heeling outside can send him off into space, etc. I think because agility happens in a much shorter time frame (30 seconds or less for most courses, v. 3-6 minutes for obedience), and the handler is moving fast it's a lot easier to ignore the distractions outside the ring and focus on the job at hand.

 

In obedience, I essentially trained my dog out of all of what came natural to him. It makes him a pretty stellar obedience dog - he can heel heads up front feet flying while people touch him, toss toys, make noises, call him, etc - but it also makes him a much harder dog to train in herding (we came to that late - he was almost 4 when we started).

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I do believe that many dogs (and BCs) enjoy the athleticism and speed of agility, but having said that, if you don't enjoy it, I think that your dog will pick up on that. So do what you can get really excited about and I think that attitude will transfer to your dog.

 

Yeah . . . it never did with Dean!!

 

When I got Tessa and I saw her natural love for the sport, I finally understood that I was trying to shove triangle-Dean into a round hole!! And I stopped pretty soon after, and he was happier for it.

 

I think for some dogs attitude can rub off. But sometimes, they just don't like something, no matter how excited we get.

 

On the other hand, he ate up Rally even though I wasn't all that excited about getting into it with him. I did Rally for him, and he enjoyed that.

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while I'm working my first BC in obedience after a string of dobermans, i have to agree - my BC doesn't mind repetition. though i have to say my others can handle it as well - a lot will depend on how we are working and what we are working. if my dog understands his job and understands that a reward is coming, why wouldn't he keep working? if anything, repetition gives me a chance to work on the eventual anticipation i will get :)

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I think repetition can go one of two ways. My dog will repeat things a long time, yeah. She'll also repeat the wrong thing 900 times in a row, with increasing franticness and inability to listen or respond to correction or feedback. My other dogs have much shorter tolerance for doing things over and over, but their BRAINS STAY IN when being asked to do it, rather than getting stuck in an actual OCD, can't think, LOOP.

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This made me swoon:

 

What I failed to really grasp was that 'job' was shorthand for: Engage deeply with your dog in a meaningful and somewhat structured way, often and with great sincerity and while really being *present* with the dog (ie: Not just throwing a ball for them while you're reading a book).

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