Author Topic: Moving up VS staying in Novice  (Read 1438 times)

Barb Gorton

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Moving up VS staying in Novice
« on: December 12, 2018, 08:51:00 PM »
Newbie here...

I have done two NADAC trials and have a third one at the end of the month.  I have 3 Q's in Jumpers and tunnelers--My question is: Is it better to stay in Novice or move up?  What are the advantages to staying in Novice for awhile?

Thanks for your input...

Yvette Cook

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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2018, 08:58:58 PM »
I love having the option. I chose to stay and get Superior titles at each level with my dogs. Im starting with my 4th dog. I stayed in novice with my first dog and I believe it made us more confident as a team which helped us after moving up to the next level. I don't think we would have been ready, as someone that was new to agility and trials, to move up after 3 qualifying rounds.  Just my experience.
Phoenix, AZ


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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2018, 11:00:50 PM »
It really is a personal choice. Mostly it depends on your own goals. What's important to you? What are you hoping to accomplish?

I stayed until I got my Superior titles with my first two dogs. I think it was a great way to build teamwork and confidence, both for me and my dogs. My handling has improved significantly over the years, but I didn't realize at the time how much of a difference that made!  The additional runs in novice and open helped me get better while still having successes. So much more encouraging for me to experience positive results while I was learning and getting better, rather than feeling like it's a struggle to get through a course and getting frustrated. The challenges; course times, directionals, distances, discriminations all of it gets a bit harder as you progress up the levels. The path your dog runs needs to be just that much better and your handling; timing, body language, verbals, etc. can definitely help make the progression much smoother. So just make sure you feel good about moving up, when that's the choice you make! 

My current two dogs I decided to move up sooner in some classes than others. I figure I can always go back later, if I so desire, to work on earning their Outstanding and/or Superior titles. I moved up after the first title in some classes and others I stayed in Novice to work on a specific skill and/or our teamwork before moving up.  My youngest I moved up and put right back down for the next trial when it became apparent we had a few things to work on still... It's nice to have options!  Enjoy the journey!



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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2018, 07:36:00 AM »
There are pluses and minuses to doing both.

I've moved some dogs up right away, and my now senior dog, a terrier mix, I kept her in Novice until she had superior titles in each event.
Since she was already an adult when I got her I NEEDED the extra time at the basic levels, in order to fully connect with her. Which worked very well.
So, if you feel the need to reinforce your skills, and build your connection with your dog, by all means stay in novice. NADAC has Extended titles, such as Outstanding and Superior  for every event.  It's really rather a cool thing!
On the flip side,  Now that my senrio Sheltie is over 12 and slowing down and losing his hearing, I'm working him more on the Open and Novice levels At some point, i will work hi in Intro, so he can have a course to run that keeps him in the game.  He honestly loves this game. and will continue to enjoy it as long as possible.
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Amy McGovern

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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2018, 10:11:07 AM »
It is definitely up to you.  You mentioned tunnelers specifically and I will say that since tunnelers and touch n go are the same courses (just tighter times), we moved up right away in those.  But I have also experimented with staying for superior titles in all classes as well.  On dog #4 and we move up when I feel like it is right for her.  I like the flexibility of NADAC as they allow you to move up and then to move back down if needed.  We have done that!
Amy and the schnauzers


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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2018, 03:34:41 PM »
It really depends on the dog.  My latest dog I started in Intro and for most classes stayed there for awhile as I was looking to create drive and speed. I have been staying in Novice for Superior titles again because she hasnít been as fast as iíd Like her to be.  It has helped to make her more confident.  Since she is pretty consistent I will continue with Superior titles in Open. 


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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2018, 06:57:53 PM »
I made a deal with my husband not to stay in my comfort zone in agility - ie: if I could move up, I should, to at least try it.  This has worked well for me.  That doesn't mean I don't move back down for things where the course changes a lot between levels, just that I *try* the next level, see how things are, and then decide.

Tunnelers or T'n'G though, where the change is course time? I move up.  I like the earlier walk/run times :P

Vicki Storrs

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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2018, 03:03:20 PM »
With the tunnelers you can check your time, since itís the same course, and see where you are compared to the Open required times. That will give you an idea if youíre ready to move up and qualify (or come close) if thatís one of the things that matter to you. Same with the Touch and Co class.
Vicki Storrs

Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2018, 07:51:04 AM »
I keep my dogs in the lower levels to earn their superior titles.  It helps me connect with my dogs and learn what they need and do on course.  I run 4 dogs and they are all different sizes and run differently.  I also like to earn their superiors so that I can earn the Triple, Triple and Triple Superior Versatility awards.  When I first started, you couldn't earn that award if you moved up before finishing, even if you went back.  I prefer to earn it that way.  But that is MY choice and my personal goal.  With my newest dog, I just earned her novice superiors in a few events and I have moved her up but I am sure I will struggle with open for a bit with her. 

On the other hand, if you feel like you are connected and your dog is doing well, it doesn't hurt to move up if you want. 
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Re: Moving up VS staying in Novice
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2018, 04:06:02 PM »

First off, this is a GREAT conversation to have with your instructor, coach, trainer ... that person knows you better than any of us and probably would be very happy to make some time to talk this over with you.

That said, you have received a lot of good input already and know that "it's up to you" ... one of the beauties of NADAC.  If you are truly a newbie and first time handler it's a pretty solid plan to stick around and collect those advanced titles.  Your confidence will build and you will learn to trust your team mate more by 'hanging out' in Novice for a while.

If this is not your first dog and you feel like this team mate is confident and reliable after those first three Q's, then it could be OK for you to move up to Open.  Just be aware that the step up is definitely going to challenge both of you.

Either way - stay focused on the fun of what you two can do already this early in your Agility Career and congratulations on your success!! 

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