Hello everyone...I was wondering what is a good age to get my shi-poo started in agility/obideince training (she is 3 months now) we just got her last week i beleive she is smart (she has already pretty much mastered house breaking, sit,come,she can retrive the ball and reconizes her name (i find this exceptinally clever considering the dogs ive had in the past) and I would just like to know where i got next as far as getting her into agility (when to start what i can do as far as getting her ready for agility and obendince wise) appericate any advice we are in Ontario canada (closet city is Kitchner waterloo)
Dannielle and Cinderella)
Obedience can (and should) start now as long as you have sufficient vaccines done for her to be around other dogs. Keep it fun and upbeat, don't expect beautiful heeling. You should get reliable recall, sit and down and loose leash walking along with manners types of things (greeting people and other dogs).
You can do foundation type work in agility, but no full height jumping for a puppy is advisable. For a small puppy it would be sufficient to put jump stanchions with a bar on the ground to show the picture of what will be expected later. Make sure you keep the agility fun and positive. If you haven't done it before make sure you find an instructor with a good reputation who will take things at whatever pace your pup needs to go to learn things safely and enjoy it.
I've been at a number of obedience, rally and agility trials over the last month and a half. I've seen lots of stressed out unhappy dogs, a few of whom are unfortunate to have owner/handlers who get mad at them for NQing. Remember we are the ones who pick these "jobs" for them, we have to make sure they are safe and that the experience is enriching their lives.
Have fun and use the training to build your relationship with your pup into one that makes both of you happy.
Lily AKC: CGC CD HIT CDX RN RA RE RAE RAE2 RAE3 NA NAJ; APDT: RL-1; CPE: CL1-R, CL1-H, CL1-F, CL1-S, CL1
Peeves AKC: CGC BN RN
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Obedience can start at any age, I'd suggest a puppy class first, even if she is already learning her basic commands well, it's still great to have her practice around other dogs and have someone professional look over what you are doing and make adjustments if necessary. A puppy can do a pre-agility course if there are any available in your area, they shouldn't be doing any forced running or jumping yet though. Small things like contacts, balance (wobble board), focus, send and collect can be practice at home before starting agility.
We just finished the first set of agility classes with Tesla and it was SO MUCH FUN. She's 13 months now, and we only did low jumps and tires that were set much lower than her shoulders. There was zero emphasis on speed at this point, and more on learning the names of obstacles, getting your dog focused on you and your directions, etc.
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I'm just going to add a reminder that they seem to flake out and "Forget" so much between 7 months and a year, but Spike is a year now and seems to have matured through that, for the most part, and is responding to commands more reliably now (again)...
Work hard on the training early, then relax your expectations when your dog flakes out as an adolescent - keep working, but relax about it, especially if you are in the positive training camp...
The upshot for us of so much early training is that he did actually "get it" on a lot of stuff we thought went over his head... If you plan to do Rally, practice calling your dog to you and walking around him/her. There were 3 stations requiring that in our first attempt at Rally, and that's the ONE thing we just have NOT mastered... (And the first episode of jumping around just led to more....)