Agility Question (multi-layered)
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    Baloo317's Avatar
    Baloo317 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultAgility Question (multi-layered)

    Our obedience/rally instructor has suggested to me twice now that she thinks Baloo would make a great agility dog, and would really enjoy it. She has a puppy agility class coming up in January that she strongly suggested that we take.

    Now, ever since I was a little girl and saw the "Superdogs" at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, I have dreamed of competing in agility. I used to make our poor wheaten terrier go over jumps and other obstacles in my enthusiasm. :-[

    The plan was to compete in Rally (and possibly obedience) with Baloo as I always thought that he would end up being way too stocky to do well in agility, and wouldn't have a prayer against the border collies, etc. Also I figured that the high impact nature of the sport would be bad for his joints in the long run.

    Then in the future I would get a more "agile" breed (leaning towards aussies) to go far with in agility.

    So, a few questions that I have:

    Can labs really do well in agility? Can a mostly-bench bred lab really do well? Are there long term implications for joint health?

    Also, I am more than a little paranoid about his joints. Would a puppy agility class be safe? My instructor assured me that the heights on everything are low, no weave poles..... what do you think?

    I would also still want to do obedience/rally, can the two "schools" co-exist within the same dog?

    It's starting to look like Baloo will end up being much smaller than I originally thought, so I'm starting to wonder if agility may be a possiblility after all.... do I dare hope...?

    (this is all assuming he gets a clean bill of joint health from Guelph - still waiting on the report. :-\)

    Thanks!

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


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  3. #2
    brody's Avatar
    brody is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo317
    So, a few questions that I have:

    Can labs really do well in agility? Can a mostly-bench bred lab really do well? Are there long term implications for joint health?

    Also, I am more than a little paranoid about his joints. Would a puppy agility class be safe? My instructor assured me that the heights on everything are low, no weave poles..... what do you think?

    I would also still want to do obedience/rally, can the two "schools" co-exist within the same dog?

    It's starting to look like Baloo will end up being much smaller than I originally thought, so I'm starting to wonder if agility may be a possiblility after all.... do I dare hope...?

    (this is all assuming he gets a clean bill of joint health from Guelph - still waiting on the report. :-\)

    Thanks!

    yes a lab can do well in agility - you can alwasy run him as a special if you want less impact on him

    yes a well run puppy agility class should be totally safe..I should knwo how old Baloo is but I forget - but low impact - no higher then hock height jumps and low contacts with lots of foundation will be fun for you both at little risk to him

    and yes I know a number of dogs who do obedience/rally and agility at the same time...
    (ione of them SHOULD be Sally - but it isn't - LOL
    GO FOR IT
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

  4. #3
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    windycanyon is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Yes Labs can and do do well in agility! Google up Limecreek's Fast Labs site and take a look. Strider, the boy out of my breeding (3/4 show, 1/4 field-- littermate to Fuji and Jazz) that I've spoken of is not yet 4yo, and half way to MACH already. He didn't start competing in agility until he was 2 and instead earned his CD, RA, and JH handily while "growing up". He's OFA excellent, elbows clear, CERF, heart clear-- something I encourage avid competitors to have done before spending alot of time and $ on agility.

    Puppy classes can be great, btw, and it does sound like the instructor is doing it right. It allows you to USE your obed skills in yet another setting. I started a puppy class w/ 12 mo old Sonya this week, but unfortunately, the girly hormones hit her LAST NIGHT so we'll have to wait awhile now. :P I'd have loved to have put her thru the class at 6-8 mos personally as that is what I did w/ my last 3. Then I lay off til the growth plates are definitely closed to do any more-- but in the meantime, do their CD, rally and JH titles. -Anne

    WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo317
    Our obedience/rally instructor has suggested to me twice now that she thinks Baloo would make a great agility dog, and would really enjoy it. She has a puppy agility class coming up in January that she strongly suggested that we take.

    (snip)
    So, a few questions that I have:

    Can labs really do well in agility? Can a mostly-bench bred lab really do well? Are there long term implications for joint health?
    Depends on your goals here.. if you're just out for fun and titles, yes labs do just fine. If you really really really want to aim high and get on the Worlds' Team, then you probably need a different breed (and I LOVE aussies... good choice!)


    Also, I am more than a little paranoid about his joints. Would a puppy agility class be safe? My instructor assured me that the heights on everything are low, no weave poles..... what do you think?

    I would also still want to do obedience/rally, can the two "schools" co-exist within the same dog?

    It's starting to look like Baloo will end up being much smaller than I originally thought, so I'm starting to wonder if agility may be a possiblility after all.... do I dare hope...?

    (this is all assuming he gets a clean bill of joint health from Guelph - still waiting on the report. :-\)

    Thanks!


    There's no 'conflict' other than time and finances. A good Foundation class is heavy on non-jumping skills, so I wouldn't worry about taxing his joints there. Once you get to competition level, you can always put him in Specials, so that he's jumping a lower height. As for long term issues, if you keep him at a good weight, jumping him at a lower height at most practices, and teaching him good contact skills, you can minimize wear and tear.

    Raian/Linda has been competing with her bench style labs in all three disciplines, I beleive....

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    Baloo317's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    For context: Baloo is 7 months, in January when the class starts he'll be 10 months.

    Hmmm.... the wheels are a-turnin'..... ;D

    that's a good plan, Anne. Compete in the obedience/rally stuff while he's completing growth, and then move to agility... having a fantastic foundation already built up..... sounds good to me!!

    I may just have to get into it for "fun" and see where we end up.....

    (I will still have that aussie one day, Nance! )
    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
    imported_gabbys mom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo317

    Can labs really do well in agility? Can a mostly-bench bred lab really do well? Are there long term implications for joint health?

    I would also still want to do obedience/rally, can the two "schools" co-exist within the same dog?
    My trainer's lab is MACH pointed and OTCH pointed, so yeah, Labs can do fine. They're very versatile. And she competes with him in obedience, agility, and hunt tests- three very different venues. Bench labs are perfectly capable of doing agility- a field bred lab is likely to have quicker times- but who cares? It's for the fun of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo317

    Also, I am more than a little paranoid about his joints. Would a puppy agility class be safe? My instructor assured me that the heights on everything are low, no weave poles..... what do you think?
    I think I'm a little more cautious about the effect of jumping. Gabby has very mild hip dysplasia and has had some slipped vertebra in her back (so she's had had some joint issues). Because of this, the vets have said 1) no jumping (for rally/obedience) up until August (so until she was past a year old) 2) It has to be below 18 inches for right now and 3) it has to be minimal (not everyday, not ten times a lesson, etc). My vets (both the holistic and the regular) said that they never recommend anyone starting any agility until 18-24 months- the dog is still perfectly trainable at that age and you don't risk hurting growing joints.

    You rode hunters, right? Did you ever see the Practical Horseman piece about how the weight of the average 130 pound rider is 600 pounds on the horse's front legs on the landing side of the jump? They had a number for the total weight on the landing side of the jump, but I can't find it right now. I always think about that when I jump Gabby for obedience/rally- how much strain is on her? how will this effect her not right now, but in ten years?

    Those are my two cents- but keep in mind that I already have a joint issues dog though
    <br />U-CD Of Love and Other Demons, CD, RE, CGC (Gabby)<br />Maverick<br />Saint Louis

  9. #7
    rottnlabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Can Labs really do well in agility?

    Can the two "schools" co-exist within the same dog?
    Absolutely! Just look at Murray...CDX, RE, NJP, NAP, NFP, ASCA CDX, GS-N, RS-N, NG-C, TG-N, TN-N, NAC, NJ-C, PS1, JH-E IMO. IMO obedience is the necessary foundation for any sport.

    In agility, you need a dog who will stay at the start line or on a contact, will come to you when called, will move away when asked, will sit or down on the table and stay there. These are all obedience exercises.

    Having an obedience/agility dog is not without it's challenges. Dogs that do obedience as well as agility 1) prefer to work on the left side so you have to train extra hard to get them to work on your right and 2) tend to be handler focused vs obstacle focused (not bad just something you need to be aware of).

    I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is what are your goals? If your goal is go out and have fun with your canine friend, then Labs are perfectly suited to agility. If your goals are to make the World team, then no, you probably aren't going to be happy running a Lab. Since this is your first agility dog, I think you will be happy with a Lab. You'll be able to learn with him then if you decide to become uber competitive, you can get a BC next time.

    Labs are heavy boned, heavy bodied dogs. When you look at the stress and strain put on a 70-80# Lab taking tight turns and jumping fifteen 24" jumps in a jumpers class vs the stress and strain put on a 35# BC jumping 24" you can understand why I err on the side of caution and have my dogs jump as low as possible. Both of my Labs jump 1 jump height lower than their required height (Murray jumps 20-22" instead of 24-26", Essy jumps 16" instead of 20"). All of the agility clubs have a special level for this (performance, preferred, skilled). You still earn the same titles, run in the same classes, and run the same courses. We do agility for fun. I have no aspiration to compete nationally so my goal is to keep my dogs as healthy as possible for as long as possible while also having fun competing with them. With that said, I see lots of people with Labs competing in the 24-26" jump heights and they don't seem to have any issues. For me though, I asked myself why I would want them to jump higher and couldn't find a valid reason. I know Linda (raian) had to ask herself this same question with Ruger.

    As for puppy training, most puppy classes do not have the pups jump at all...particularly a 7 mth old. The bars are laid on the ground and the pups learn to go thru the uprights. Contacts (particulary the a-frame) and weaves can also cause damage to developing bones. Dogs should not jump full height until their growth plates close which is sometime around 2 yrs for a Lab. I've been told by one of my trainers (a BC breeder) that BCs close up earlier which is why you will see BCs already competing at 18 months when Labs are usually just starting their training.

    <br /><br />Lydia, Murray &amp; Essy in AZ<br /><br />Clear Creek&#39;s Mad About You CDX RE NJP OAP OFP ASCA CDX GSN RSN NGC TGO TNO OAC NJC HPN PS1 JHE<br /><br />Larkspur&#39;s Essence RE NAC TNN JHE

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    JacksAndLabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    I run both Darwin and Piper in agility and they are both completely bench/show bred. No you won't be able to outrun a bc that is "on" but that speed and intensity often gets them into trouble...knocked bars, misses contacts, "pogo-ed" table To get a MACH, you have to be BOTH fast and consistant so it's not an all out footrace with the bc's! Darwin has his AX, AXJ and a handful of MACH points but I do need to work on his speed a bit so he doesn't cut it so close in Jumpers. Unfortunatly my knee surgery this summer put agility on the back burner for a bit, but hopefully we'll come out running in the new year!

    I think a puppy agility class is a great place to start! Personally, I don't jump my dogs over their elbows until I have had them Prelimed with OFA at a year. After that, I slowly work up to full height. I did run both Darwin and Piper at a few trials once they were 15-18 months on grass. Both went on to pass their final OFAs just fine.

    You'll both love it!!
    ~Nicole<br />Grand Ledge, MI<br /><br />

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    Baloo317's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Quote Originally Posted by rottnlabs
    I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is what are your goals? If your goal is go out and have fun with your canine friend, then Labs are perfectly suited to agility. If your goals are to make the World team, then no, you probably aren't going to be happy running a Lab. Since this is your first agility dog, I think you will be happy with a Lab. You'll be able to learn with him then if you decide to become uber competitive, you can get a BC next time.
    For now, the goal is to have fun. One day, when I have the appropriate resources and a husband willing to live with an uber-intense, HIGH energy Aussie (This WILL be Dan..... I'm working on it.. ;D), we'll be in it for the money.

    As for puppy training, most puppy classes do not have the pups jump at all...particularly a 7 mth old. The bars are laid on the ground and the pups learn to go thru the uprights.
    In this class, there will be jumping. Probably not high, though. We did a few jumps in the class we just finished, and they were 6-8", so probably no higher than that. There are no weave poles, and very very low a-frames, dog walks, etc. My instructor basically said that the idea of the class was to teach the very basics, and most importantly work on the puppy's confidence. (I highly doubt Baloo will have a confidence issue. He has, on more than one occasion, flung himself off of/onto something with absolutely no regard for personal safety. ) : :-[
    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
    Kzunell is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agility Question (multi-layered)

    Bench/Show labs can compete in Agility, but there has only been one CH MACH lab to date. He didn't get his MACH till he was 8 1/2 and is still competeing at age 10. He has competed at least 40 weekends a year for 5+years. He is a heavily boned lab with a big head. She keeps him on the thin side since he got his CH. he isn't fast or graceful, but he loves agility! He got all of his Obedience titles in 3 straight shows(Novice,Open,Utility). He did really well at his Hunt Tests (JH,SH,MH). He is just starting his Rally career (Yes you can teach old dogs new tricks). He is the dog she learned about agility with. He isn't fast or consistant but he did earn a MACH it just took 4 years. Here is his website link. http://www.citrushill.homestead.com/Kobe.html
    Amber has "placed" every time she has qualified in agility. She has routinely beaten border collies, and she runs fast enough to get invited to try out for the world team...but she isn't fast enough to compete with the top BC's or Malinois.
    I started training Amber at 7 months old in a puppy class. Amber was by that time jumping onto and off of a 26 inch high bed onto a hardwood floor and a 21 inch high couch. Amber wasn't one of those pups that jumps down either she usually jumpes up and out. By 10 months of age she learned she could jump from the floor to the very top of the couch about 38-40 inches high! I did keep her jumping down to low heigths when we were training even though it was on nice soft grass.
    Remarkably even with all the obstacles agility is won by what the dog does on the ground between the obstacles especially in jumpers with weaves (JWW). Labs can do everything!

    Kelly and Amber
    Kelly and Greenwoods Amber Wave CD RA OA NAJ OF WC CGC CL1-F SW<br />Chino CA<br /><br /><br />

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