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Ten (almost eleven) month old spoo Pixie is currently enrolled in her second agility class. The first one, agility basics, went .... okay. She had a ton of fun, learned some things but still had some things to work on. We had no plans to compete, this was just a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning to work her brain, get her into the car to go do something fun (she had terrible car sickness until she was about 8 months old and still isn't fond of hopping in there, still has to be boosted in...oof) and socialize with other pups and people in a more structured way than the dog park. I've had two other dogs (doodles) that I did agility with; they absolutely loved it and it created such a tight and special bond with them.

So I enrolled her in a second class. We have gone to 2 classes of 6. Pixie does NOT CARE WHATSOEVER about agility. I do believe part of it is that each individual dog gets the course to itself during practice runs and meanwhile the other dogs have to be in the crate. There are only 2 of us in the class so we get a lot of run time during the hour, she's literally in there for 5 minutes at a time. However, she pouts in the crate; she is the epitome of the Pouting Poodle in the crate. When she gets let out of the crate for her turn, she won't go over the jumps or even do any of the other obstacles that she absolutely loved in the beginner class (dog walk, a-frame).

She alternates between 1) breaking off the sequence pretty much immediately and running (bounding, those beautiful athletic poodle leaps that cover miles in an instant and is poetry in motion to watch) around the facility like a crazy dog and 2) running along beside myself or my husband while gazing up at us adoringly - thereby unable to see the obstacles coming up and swerving around them to stay by our side. Last weekend was so NOT her finest moment....refused to do anything, acted like she had never seen the obstacles before, ran away to beg cucumber (her favorite) from another dog's handler and capped the class off by peeing and pooping in the middle of the floor at the 45 minute mark (she hasn't had an accident in many, many months). She absolutely loves going there (so excited to pull up to the facility) and is exhausted after. Agility class has helped a lot with the "not wanting to get in the car" but the class part itself isn't doing it for her and I suspect the crate is a huge part of it as we didn't have any of this "poodle-tude" in the beginner class.

I have accepted that agility is just. not. her. thing. We'll finish off the four remaining classes because the facility doesn't give refunds or credits but I have to think about what SHE would rather be doing and a better way to keep her busy, happy and create that bond. It's actually better for me also because I have a lingering ankle injury and now that we're getting into crosses and such it isn't working so well for me either.

Anyone else have a poodle that would rather interact with you in a more up close and personal way than doing an activity like agility and any suggestions for classes that have a closer interaction between handler and dog? I've pondered scent detection as she has quite a sniffer on her and she could always use more obedience classes but in typical poodle fashion endless repetition is NOT her thing either and you really have to mix it up and make things fun or she mentally checks out and stops working because she loses interest. Darn smarty pants poodles :) .
 

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I would try rally. It is an excellent team activity for a dog that has velcro tendencies. Lily and I have had tons of fun doing it and even if not for doing trials it is a great bonding and mental exercise activity for both ends of the leash.
 
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Annie found agility too stressful. I am not counting it out completely, just saying the class we took wasn't for us. She had stress zoomies and sniffing the ring to de-stress. At first, I thought she was zooming because she enjoyed it, I then realized her brain just got overwhelmed and she needed to RUN to de-stress. It was way too much stress to sit and watch the other dog run, and to work that much (Only 2 people in a 70 min class, so half the class). I want to try again at another facilitywith less working time during class, but ... For now, not for us.

Trick training is far more up her alley, and we are starting rally classes next week ! I have heard great things about scent, but the classes that fit my schedule keep getting cancelled :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would try rally. It is an excellent team activity for a dog that has velcro tendencies. Lily and I have had tons of fun doing it and even if not for doing trials it is a great bonding and mental exercise activity for both ends of the leash.
Thanks lily cd. I have no experience with rally and was looking at classes but really don't know what's involved. Although I'm in a larger city now, at the time I trained my other two I was in a smaller place and the choices were agility and fly ball (which doesn't appeal). I'll definitely look into it more!
 

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Annie found agility too stressful. I am not counting it out completely, just saying the class we took wasn't for us. She had stress zoomies and sniffing the ring to de-stress. At first, I thought she was zooming because she enjoyed it, I then realized her brain just got overwhelmed and she needed to RUN to de-stress. It was way too much stress to sit and watch the other dog run, and to work that much (Only 2 people in a 70 min class, so half the class). I want to try again at another facilitywith less working time during class, but ... For now, not for us.

Trick training is far more up her alley, and we are starting rally classes next week ! I have heard great things about scent, but the classes that fit my schedule keep getting cancelled :(
I've thought about whether it's stress and can't conclude one way or the other as she does seem to be having a good time. We did have to end both 60 minute classes early because both dogs in the class were done and lost focus. It doesn't help that the other dog in the class is 5 years old and did the class previously so he looks like a hero while we have a teenaged wild thing on our hands 😂. There is supposed to be a third dog but the weather has been bad for 2 weeks and I don't know if he'll make it now....if he does, we'll look "spectacular" again in comparison (insert eye roll here) as he is a 6-month old agility wunderkind - he is a sheltie and absolutely lives for running the course (was in our beginner class). Just to be clear though, I'm NOT embarrassed about or upset with her. We take it in stride and just let her do her thing - I blame myself for choosing the wrong activity for her. It's not like you can show them a dog training brochure and ask them what they'd like to do, lol.

Trick training sounds like fun and you'll definitely have to let me know how rally goes for you, I want to hear all about it! After this round we'll be done until the new year as Pixie's spay is scheduled for mid-December. I have lots of time to consider what to do next.
 

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Agility may not be her thing now, but maybe when she’s more mature she may think differently.

OTOH Pixie is a 10 month old spoo and her growth plates are not fully closed. She should not have been jumping courses in agility. It’s fine for a young dog to jump in play, but not repetitive jumping in an agility class.

I too recommend rally and nose work.
 

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She does sound a bit young to be doing agility, both from the perspective of growth plates and mental readiness. The place where I take my dogs for training has obedience and manners prerequisites before they will enroll a dog in agility classes. It would be almost impossible for a dog younger than a year to end up in one of their agility classes, simply because the dog wouldn't have had time to complete all the prerequisite classes.
 

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My mini loves Nosework, LOVES it. It’s the first time I’ve done this activity and I am amazed by her nose and dedication. I wish I had known about Nosework earlier because I’m pretty sure every dog I’ve ever had would have liked it.

We are also doing agility. Ahem. With less success. My brilliant idea to get a poodle was fueled in part by my burning desire to run agility courses again, lol, and we are struggling with it. Last week I almost quit, but then decided I would just redouble my efforts and hang in there. Part of it is agility has me mourning my old agility dog, Merlin, who passed away many years ago. The other part is just being busy/stressed by this 2020/Covid disaster. Violet is fine, but I have often felt that I don’t have what it takes. Anyway, as I said I’ve doubled down on my efforts. More frequent training in short sessions at home and in the park is beginning to pay off.

Meanwhile, I’m also interested in Barn Hunt. Rats and hay tunnels sounds like fun to me, and I think Violet would like it since she’ll use her nose to find something. This may not happen any time soon, but when I think of fun things to do with dogs Barn Hunt is on the list.

Good luck with your remaining agility classes. Consider short focused flat work training at home. And definitely consider a Nosework class!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Agility may not be her thing now, but maybe when she’s more mature she may think differently.

OTOH Pixie is a 10 month old spoo and her growth plates are not fully closed. She should not have been jumping courses in agility. It’s fine for a young dog to jump in play, but not repetitive jumping in an agility class.

I too recommend rally and nose work.
She does sound a bit young to be doing agility, both from the perspective of growth plates and mental readiness. The place where I take my dogs for training has obedience and manners prerequisites before they will enroll a dog in agility classes. It would be almost impossible for a dog younger than a year to end up in one of their agility classes, simply because the dog wouldn't have had time to complete all the prerequisite classes.
Thanks, I should have been a bit clearer. It's still considered a "beginner" class and I'm aware of the concern about jumping and growth plates. The facility is indoors and has thick padding covering the entire floor. None of the bars or the tire are above the lowest level so literally 2" above the ground, there's no real jumping. On the contact equipment like dog walk, we go slow and walk directly beside to ensure she doesn't jump off and then stop at the end with a target on the floor and a high value treat to reward the 2 paws on/2 off and ensure no one is leaping off things. Also, sequences are less than 10 items as focus is still building. Teeter is manned by the trainer to tip slowly so it doesn't bang down. No weaves whatsoever.

It's just supposed to be a fun thing for us as I have no appetite for competition, but you're absolutely right, her maturity level likely isn't there yet. She had a beginner obedience class until Covid struck and we worked on other things at home for the several months the province was shut down but I don't claim to be any kind of expert dog trainer (although I am frequently complimented on my dogs' manners :) ). I think we'll dial it back and do a higher level obedience class as there's definitely some things she could work on there.
 

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Thanks, I should have been a bit clearer. It's still considered a "beginner" class and I'm aware of the concern about jumping and growth plates. The facility is indoors and has thick padding covering the entire floor. None of the bars or the tire are above the lowest level so literally 2" above the ground, there's no real jumping. On the contact equipment like dog walk, we go slow and walk directly beside to ensure she doesn't jump off and then stop at the end with a target on the floor and a high value treat to reward the 2 paws on/2 off and ensure no one is leaping off things. Also, sequences are less than 10 items as focus is still building. Teeter is manned by the trainer to tip slowly so it doesn't bang down. No weaves whatsoever.

It's just supposed to be a fun thing for us as I have no appetite for competition, but you're absolutely right, her maturity level likely isn't there yet. She had a beginner obedience class until Covid struck and we worked on other things at home for the several months the province was shut down but I don't claim to be any kind of expert dog trainer (although I am frequently complimented on my dogs' manners :) ). I think we'll dial it back and do a higher level obedience class as there's definitely some things she could work on there.
I can very much relate to baby brains not being ready for an activity. As an experiment I tried hiding a treat under a row of plastic cups for Galen to sniff out. He made a beeline to the the cup over the treat and, ignoring the treat completely, seized the cup and ran around the yard happily chewing on it.
 

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Ahh yes, baby brains! What you describe is pretty normal, she’s a teenager and reconsidering her initial infatuation with you. As was suggested, additional foundational obedience is never a bad idea.
A lot of folks love rally. A friend of mine has an Aussie from a well known agility line, and this dog just doesn’t like agility, looks worried the whole time she is out there. However, she does very well in rally.
Ive only done agility so can’t comment much on other sports. There are a lot of different things you can do, it’s supposed to be fun, pick something you both like and go for it!
 
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I forgot to address the peeing and pooping in the ring.

Going to classes, being around other dogs, running agility, being upset/stressed running agility, being fed treats as part of training in the ring .... these are all reasons that can cause a potty trained dog to pee and/or poop in the ring. It happens all the time.

It helps to go about 15 minutes early before class to allow sufficient time to potty before you go inside for a class. In addition, plan to take a potty break in the middle of a class. When I taught agility I always had the beginner class potty their dogs half way through the class, even mature dogs sometimes had to pee. Giving your dog enough opportunity to potty can help avoid potty problems in the ring.
 
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