Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?
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Thread: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

  1. #1
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultCompetition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    I've had an interesting PM conversation w/Connie on this and decided that input from the greater JL family would be worhwhile.

    Wesley is 7.5. To date, he has his CD and RN titles, in addition to having his CGC and a therapy authorization (not through TDI).

    Is it time to allow him to retire and rest on his laurels?

    The reason I ask is this: We still go to class and participate fully as a demo dog for beginner/intermed. We then become students in the Open session. By then, Wes has been 'on' for two hours solid (or pretty much solid -- he'll downstay if I need to go hands-on with another dog, and if I really get tied up, I crate him in the car, but still....). Earlier in his 'career,' he'd bound forth to this third class with all the vigor of a pup. But lately.... He's slugging along and tired. It's a long night for him. And it's not the heat, as our local temps at night are in the 60s. Is it his age?? Otherwise, he's still got a lot of pep, during walks etc. Is it utter boredom with the routine? Not sure.........

    After his CD -- one of the proudest moments in my entire life -- we did hit a brick wall. He was totally uninterested in the DB, and he continues to have distain for it. His jumping is and always has been frankly ugly, as he never seems to be able to account for his caboose and the effect of gravity on it. About the only thing he does well is OSS/OSD.

    I will say that I consider Wesley's work in the ring a true testament to his desire to serve. He doesn't 'light up' in the ring the way I see Border Collies do. His 'watch me' has always been more ~~meh~~ than the laser-like intensity of a Dobe. Given his druthers, I've always gotten the impression that he'd rather be under the kitchen table napping. But he gave it his best shot regardless, and success or fail, ribbon or NQ, he seemed to do it for me.

    Have I asked enough of him over the years? Would it be throwing my money away to go for CDX or RA or RAE or more letters behind his name? I don't intend to drop out of classes -- we both really enjoy them and the teacher is a love -- but I may start just accepting the fact that the U.S.S. RibbonsandQs has sailed for my best bud Wes.

    So color me curious. Those of you into rally or obed work: When/Why did you decide enough was enough?

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  3. #2
    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    When he no longer enjoys it

    We have some folks running dogs in agility at eleven and twelve years of age. The dogs love it. Their vets tell them to let the dogs run.

    I imagine Ruger will be competing in the Utility ring as a Senior boy because we may never finish that title
    So I can't say he'll be enjoying it, but he'll still be trying for me :P

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    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    Just wanted to add, there is no reason you cannot continue in Rally. Rally is low key.

    Also, I have a student just starting agility with her 9 year old lab.

    Have fun with them while you can. We all know life is too short.

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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    I can't imagine it's an age/level thing so much as in individual dog thing. My jrt is 6 and clearly has many, many more years in front of him. I too have friends running labs in their double digits quite happily!

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    Baloo317's Avatar
    Baloo317 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    Quote Originally Posted by raian
    When he no longer enjoys it
    I totally agree with this, think it's key. I think that based on your posts (not just this one, but in general) you know Wesley really really well, so I think that based on that, you can determine whether he's enjoying himself or not.

    I might try and switch up the routine a bit, just to see if it is in fact boredom that has him lacking in enthusiasm, but overall, you know when your dog is having fun, and when they're just appeasing you.
    Kate
    Baloo - 5 year old black lab
    Peanut - 7 year old minpin
    Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
    We're Superdogs!


  8. #6
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    Hmmm... That's a toughie because I never got the feeling that Wesley 'enjoyed' it much at all. Hence my comment that what he did, he did for me, Godlove'em......

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    pbc
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    Dan, Wes has a nice variety of things in his life, which keeps him active and stimulates him mentally. I think those activities contribute to a dog's over all health and longevity. I can tell you that Marshal will be seven years old in less than a month and this year I have noticed him slowing down. You have to decide if the activities you are doing are fun or stressful for your dog. Is that "desire to please" maxed out so to speak? I think variety can be refreshing as well as motivating to some dogs. Has he had a break from his activities perhaps as long as a month or two? That time could be used to allow him to rejuvenate himself. Personally, I don't see any reason to discontinue doing the things you are doing as long as you are not overdoing it or placing him in situations that cause him prolonged stress. Based on his age and depending on how much time he is spending with the "Reading Program" it is possible that this new activity is taxing his limit. My experience with those is that they are very stressful on a dog. Personally, I would not do that type of program more than once a month.

    From a competition stand point I doubt there is a magic age. It really is up to you to determine how your dog is handling being in the ring and the training required to continue competition. A meet we were at last month the judge asked people after the class the ages of their dogs. They ranged up to 14 years of age. The majority of the dogs were over ten years old.
    Guest poster - original forum July 2001. Member 2002. nbsc

  10. #8
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    Wesley *does* really enjoy the reading program, and it is only once a month. I think that's gone a long way toward keeping his interest and trying new things. I don't think I've been to a show in a calendar year, since he finished his RN.

    Maybe he's just burned out a little in class. I know I can't make it tonight, owing to other commitments, and class will be cancelled next Wed for Halloween. So I may see things with clearer eyes once we get back from a mini 2-wk breather from it all.....


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    Baloo317 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    Quote Originally Posted by dweck
    Hmmm... That's a toughie because I never got the feeling that Wesley 'enjoyed' it much at all. Hence my comment that what he did, he did for me, Godlove'em......
    I think that's a huge part of the enjoyment factor, though. I highly doubt Baloo enjoys sit-stays, and other such things like that, but I think he really enjoys making me happy, and getting excited with me. It's a game to him that he gets to play with me, and I think that's why he enjoys it. Not because of what we're actually doing, but because he's making me happy.

    Godlove'em indeed.
    Kate
    Baloo - 5 year old black lab
    Peanut - 7 year old minpin
    Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
    We're Superdogs!


  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: Competition - What age/level is it best to retire?

    I think there are two times when it is best to retire a dog:
    1. When they don't enjoy it anymore
    2. When it is a medical issue.

    Have you tried changing things up? A different class? Different training games? A different approach to this whole thing entirely?

    I thought Gabby thought this whole thing was, to use your word, meh, until I went to a Jane Jackson seminar on training games. She LOVES this whole training/obedience/competition thing. It's a game, and it's fun. She doesn't know what I'm going to do next- Is it going to be a recall or a chase game? Is a front or a go between the legs? Do I have her tennis ball hidden on my body somewhere, only to sneak it out when she does a perfect front/finish?

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