Author Topic: General input on Intro to Agility  (Read 3320 times)

Sharon Nelson

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General input on Intro to Agility
« on: February 11, 2014, 03:10:19 PM »
I would like to see some (nice!) input on the idea that many have brought up through the years for an Into level at trials.  Intro would not have any contact/tunnel discriminations and no weaves.  The courses would be 1/2 to 2/3 the length of normal Novice classes and jump heights could be chosen by the handler without regard to the dog's height, with a maximum of 16".  Intro would not be required to be offered by clubs, but as an option for their competitors if they felt there was enough interest.

Any thoughts?  Not reactions, but thoughts!  Both pro and con.

Sharon
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Sharon Nelson

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 03:12:15 PM »
Many have already mentioned that they felt a BA-3 should be earned first....... then the dogs go from the BA program right into Intro and then into full agility classes.

I have always said no, but it is coming up more and more, so I am wondering how much more interest there is.

Sharon
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Billie Rosen

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 03:33:47 PM »
We used to offer Agility Y, an Intro to agility non-titling event, and I always thought it was good for dogs and/or handlers new to agility.  I really like the Beginner Agility program and think an Intro to Agility program would be a good transition into the ring.
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LeeAnne McAdam

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 03:40:51 PM »
So would there be an Intro group in Regular, Jumpers, Hoopers, Tunnelers and Chances or what classes?   We, well, me anyway, are doing our best around here to put the Beginner Agility idea into action because we think it's a great way to make sure folks have the skills they need to be ready to trial.  We have a large contingent of Novice people in our area...always a much bigger part of our trials than Open and Elite so we might well have a lot of people who would love this.  Would they just stay in Intro until they felt ready to move to Novice or how would that work?

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Jeannie Biggers

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 03:41:29 PM »
I like the idea that a BA3 is required but suspecting it isn't being offered enough around the country to be feasible.

My thoughts would be that to make it worthwhile for folks that are just being introduced to agility (so not those that are already running a dog the entire weekend) that you would have to offer probably 3 classes a day which would probably be enough to stimulate both newbie dog and handler but not so much that they fry.  And it would be enough that it would be worth maybe traveling a bit out of their hometown for a day?

In all honesty it is hard for people to go from club classes to trialing (maybe that isn't true in other parts of the country).  That is one reason I have liked the BA stuff.  At least it gives them a chance to "feel" what a trial might be like. 

If people could come to their first trial and not have to worry about contacts or weaves and just have a trial environment to play with their dog we could maybe get more people "hooked" and not overwhelm them. 

I like the idea!
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MoabDiane

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 03:54:17 PM »
I guess I may be the wet blanket here, but I don't really see the point.
I think the idea of BA is great (and hope Teasel will up for it soon!).
But I think way way way too many people enter dogs in trials before they are ready.
Would this just encourage them to do so? 

Or would it show them that dogs aren't ready?  I don't see them figuring that out in Novice!  (they just keep coming back with the same "issues")

For those of us without access to "fun runs" or the like, maybe it would provide the trial environment without the pressure of trying to qualify.
(or would there be titles?)  If it costs the same for this as a novice run, I think more folks would just enter novice.

Assuming these courses would be built off novice courses, then course building wouldn't be a big deal.  Workers could probably do both.
So it shouldn't add more time to a trial day.

Then again, I'm hoping that my dogs are ready for a bit more than Novice when I enter them there. 

Just my two cents' worth....interested to hear from someone who thinks it's a great idea and why!

diane

Lynne Almeida

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 07:35:49 PM »
I can see both sides of this ... as our club's beginner class teacher, I know an Intro level assortment of classes that sort of bridge BA and Novice level would be very welcomed by handlers just starting out - especially those altogether new to the sport.  It could really help to encourage people to have more success early on, and keep them interested in participating in NADAC over the long haul, which benefits all of us.

On the other hand, I totally agree with Diane that many people rush to enter their dogs before they are ready.  I also know that for our small club, we are already stretched to capacity as far as what we can handle offering at any one trial.

I am wondering if there is a clever way to combine elements of the BA program and the VT program with 'official' NADAC-designed Intro level courses.  To explain further: our classes have a 'mock BA-1' day as the 'graduation' from the beginner class ... many of the students are actually quite nervous over just this, but it is often enough to entice them to want to continue!  We have then offered a 'for real' BA-1 day, for those who want to register their dogs and make a bit more of a commitment to eventually trialing, and continuing students can do BA-2 and -3 as they're ready.  I'm thinking, why not also offer a couple/few Intro level courses for those continuing students and have them submitted and judged 'VT style'?  We could then put together a sort of NADAC Intro Trial that is a one-day event, yet gives much more the feel of a regular trial than just offering BA.  They could work towards titles, but the pricing structure could be lower than that of a 'regular' trial.  I could see us being able to offer such a day perhaps 2-3 times per year.

I think it would be hard, and not always necessary, to require BA or Intro titles to be earned before entering a regular trial.  But as an instructor, I would be fine with telling beginner students that I don't support their entering a regular trial until they have x amount of practice, etc.  Obviously this would be up to the discretion of individual clubs and/or instructors.  I do think, though, that the idea of an Intro level could have the potential to both retain potential beginner NADAC'ers and better prepare them for a full-on trialing environment.

Just my first thoughts after mulling over the possibilities for a few minutes!

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Sharon Nelson

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 10:34:26 PM »
I guess I may be the wet blanket here, but I don't really see the point.
I think the idea of BA is great (and hope Teasel will up for it soon!).
But I think way way way too many people enter dogs in trials before they are ready.
Would this just encourage them to do so? 

Or would it show them that dogs aren't ready?  I don't see them figuring that out in Novice!  (they just keep coming back with the same "issues")

For those of us without access to "fun runs" or the like, maybe it would provide the trial environment without the pressure of trying to qualify.
(or would there be titles?)  If it costs the same for this as a novice run, I think more folks would just enter novice.

Assuming these courses would be built off novice courses, then course building wouldn't be a big deal.  Workers could probably do both.
So it shouldn't add more time to a trial day.

Then again, I'm hoping that my dogs are ready for a bit more than Novice when I enter them there. 

Just my two cents' worth....interested to hear from someone who thinks it's a great idea and why!

diane

I do think that many people enter dogs before they are ready.  But we already see it.  By offering Intro, I don't think "more" will enter early, but it would give some of the "not quite ready for prime time" a much safer, shorter place to start.  Since the courses would be shorter, the dog would have a much greater chance of success in the ring.

I believe that people will enter regardless.  By not offering Intro, it won't stop anyone from entering early, but it might give them a much better opportunity to "start" in a happier place!

Sharon
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Sharon Nelson

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 11:12:59 PM »
I can see both sides of this ... as our club's beginner class teacher, I know an Intro level assortment of classes that sort of bridge BA and Novice level would be very welcomed by handlers just starting out - especially those altogether new to the sport.  It could really help to encourage people to have more success early on, and keep them interested in participating in NADAC over the long haul, which benefits all of us.

On the other hand, I totally agree with Diane that many people rush to enter their dogs before they are ready.  I also know that for our small club, we are already stretched to capacity as far as what we can handle offering at any one trial.

I am wondering if there is a clever way to combine elements of the BA program and the VT program with 'official' NADAC-designed Intro level courses.  To explain further: our classes have a 'mock BA-1' day as the 'graduation' from the beginner class ... many of the students are actually quite nervous over just this, but it is often enough to entice them to want to continue!  We have then offered a 'for real' BA-1 day, for those who want to register their dogs and make a bit more of a commitment to eventually trialing, and continuing students can do BA-2 and -3 as they're ready.  I'm thinking, why not also offer a couple/few Intro level courses for those continuing students and have them submitted and judged 'VT style'?  We could then put together a sort of NADAC Intro Trial that is a one-day event, yet gives much more the feel of a regular trial than just offering BA.  They could work towards titles, but the pricing structure could be lower than that of a 'regular' trial.  I could see us being able to offer such a day perhaps 2-3 times per year.

I think it would be hard, and not always necessary, to require BA or Intro titles to be earned before entering a regular trial.  But as an instructor, I would be fine with telling beginner students that I don't support their entering a regular trial until they have x amount of practice, etc.  Obviously this would be up to the discretion of individual clubs and/or instructors.  I do think, though, that the idea of an Intro level could have the potential to both retain potential beginner NADAC'ers and better prepare them for a full-on trialing environment.

Just my first thoughts after mulling over the possibilities for a few minutes!

Good input also!  Intro could definitely be part of the VT program, just as all other non-EGC classes are.  That would really help the new handlers get a feel for a trial experience without all the pressure!

Sharon
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Alanna Leach

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 09:05:01 AM »
I really like the idea of having a Intro class that clubs could offer at their discretion.  Avalon would offer it.  Often teams come out of agility classes somewhat ready to trial, but mentally scared to.  I would love to offer a class they could be successful at.  Also, it would be a win/win for me as a club.  I would have new people interested in trials and a larger group of people to draw volunteers from. 

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Lin Battaglia

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 09:46:25 AM »
I too really don't see the point of offering dogs that aren't ready to enter into trials an Intro class after BA 1-2-3. If they are successful in BAs then in theory they are are supposed to be ready to trial. We're small here in our area and we don't offer BA tests. What we have found helpful to our new
handlers/dogs are our VT run days. We run VT days just like a trial so both dog and handler get the feel for a trial. We usually have about 20-30 dogs and offer 4-5 classes on one day. We make it a party with pot luck lunch and everyone helps move equipment etc. We don't have enough new dogs for actual Fun Match support.

Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 10:58:52 AM »
I like the idea of an intro class too.  I think there are a lot of people out there that as beginners really want to see what a trial is like and feel they are ready for it.  Then once they get there, they find the courses a bit more difficult than they suspected (like the dreaded discrimination!) OR they are so nervous they forget the course OR their dog succumbs to the pressure.  They can likely get discouraged after a few attempts and never return.  Like Sharon said, it gives them a way to "compete" but with a shorter and safer run to get their feet wet and be successful.

Another thing to consider is that by offering these events in a real trial environment, it keeps new people interested.  I have seen people who have to wait 2 years or more to get their dog to a competition level lose interest in agility and drop out.  Or after several novice level trials get discouraged and don't return.  And while the BA test in nice, I don't necessarily think it is the same thing as sitting at a trial with all of your buddies from the club and having a good time. 

While I like the BA test as a rule, I personally don't like the idea of BA3 being REQUIRED for a dog to compete in Novice first.

First, unless there is a BA trial around, you can't do it.  I know that I wouldn't drive 2-3 hours just for a BA test.   And yes, you can do it as a VT, but many people train either in the own backyard, or at clubs that wouldn't have regulation equipment with which to do it. 

Second, while many of the exercises are good exercises that you find in a normal trial, the "honor" area REALLY bothers me.  There are MANY dogs that would fail this and the leadout requirements yet compete quite well at the elite level.  As far as the "honor" area, I don't feel that it is fair or even right to put a dog in a situation that could cause potential extreme stress.  In looking at the example of the BA-3 in the NADAC beginner handbook, the "honor" area is situated such that a dog is coming straight at the dog in the ex-pen.   First, you would get a handler that would likely over correct a dog just to make sure it passes.  Second, imagine a high drive BC coming straight at a dog that is fearful and that fearful dog is in a crate?  The results could be disastrous on the psyche of the fearful dog.  Third, you could make a fearful dog out of a timid or borderline fearful dog.  What would the result be if a timid dog was sitting in that expen and the dog running the course veers off course and begins lunging and barking at that dog, or the flip side, a somewhat timid dog is running the course and the dog in the expen begins barking/lunging at them?  By time the handler on either side of this situation gets to their dogs, the damage is done.  In a true trial environment, a dog is never stuck in an expen on course while another dog is running the course.  And while they are in crates, I would like to think that fearful dogs are crated well away from the ring and covered.    And a lead out, while nice, is not a necessity to compete in agility.  By requiring this level, you would eliminate a lot of people from being able to compete in NADAC. 

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE the BA test.  If it had been around when I first started agility, I probably would have done it with my dogs.  But I trained with a NADAC club.  Would I do it with any new dog I might get?  It would probably depend on the dog.  I love the fact that it gets "newbies" into a trial for them and the ability to compete early on.  It gives them a success of accomplishment and success.  For a veteran handler, I don't feel the same way.  And I definitely would not do it if I had a dog that had some fear issues. 
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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 11:18:01 AM »
Because of our location, getting a judge here involves horrible logistics and great expense (no direct flights from anywhere in addition to the oil boom from h----).  Our little group could not afford to provide this and we can only do VT runs during the summer due to no indoor space.  There are very few here who actually trial as the closest ones are 300-600 miles away.  I have been fairly successful with offering the BA runs (thanks to Sharon), would love the Intro offering but have to be realistic that it would not work out here.
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Lisa Schmit In The Zone Agility

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 03:28:26 PM »
ITZ would offer it.....and would u please decide soon as I have 2 pups that will be trailing soon😄😄

I always enter my dogs before they are "ready".   I don't attend classes or run through.... I train by myself so my dogs do not get any trial like experience".  I do not have expectations of getting Qs either....as I know they are not ready.      I would be nice to run a regular style course without weave poles......as I am a slacker weave trainer.   Tandem was in elite jumpers before he knew how to weave. 

I would hope that this would get some people to attend the trials..even if they saw it as practice.....and hopefully they would have a great positive experience and come back!!!






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Rebecca Kriz

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Re: General input on Intro to Agility
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2014, 04:43:12 PM »
Second, while many of the exercises are good exercises that you find in a normal trial, the "honor" area REALLY bothers me.  There are MANY dogs that would fail this and the leadout requirements yet compete quite well at the elite level.  As far as the "honor" area, I don't feel that it is fair or even right to put a dog in a situation that could cause potential extreme stress.  In looking at the example of the BA-3 in the NADAC beginner handbook, the "honor" area is situated such that a dog is coming straight at the dog in the ex-pen.   First, you would get a handler that would likely over correct a dog just to make sure it passes.  Second, imagine a high drive BC coming straight at a dog that is fearful and that fearful dog is in a crate?  The results could be disastrous on the psyche of the fearful dog.  Third, you could make a fearful dog out of a timid or borderline fearful dog.  What would the result be if a timid dog was sitting in that expen and the dog running the course veers off course and begins lunging and barking at that dog, or the flip side, a somewhat timid dog is running the course and the dog in the expen begins barking/lunging at them?  By time the handler on either side of this situation gets to their dogs, the damage is done.  In a true trial environment, a dog is never stuck in an expen on course while another dog is running the course.  And while they are in crates, I would like to think that fearful dogs are crated well away from the ring and covered.    And a lead out, while nice, is not a necessity to compete in agility.  By requiring this level, you would eliminate a lot of people from being able to compete in NADAC.

I don't think I've ever seen a fearful or reactive dog used as the 'honor' dog in a BA test.  I would hope people know their dogs well enough to not volunteer them for that job if it's going to stress their dog out or be a safety concern.

Ok, so I hadn't read the rules for BA-3 and you can ignore this.  I thought they were like the distraction dogs in BA-1 and BA-2.  (Which I had volunteered to do before.)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 05:37:35 PM by Rebecca Kriz »
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