Author Topic: intro for younger dogs  (Read 5699 times)

Amy McGovern

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intro for younger dogs
« on: December 13, 2020, 06:03:13 PM »
I'm curious - is there ever any chance that younger dogs (say 15 months, same age as AKC lets dogs start) could compete in intro?  There was a beginner class that was 15 months for awhile but it never really caught on.  I totally see keeping the younger dogs away from certain obstacles until they are older (this is why I'm just starting weave pole training with my 15 month old!) but intro seems perfect and it could even be further limited to flat stuff only (e.g. hoopers, barrelers, tunnelers, jumpers at low height, etc).  I know this won't matter to my current 15 month old since she will be over 18 months before a rule change could take effect but I just wonder in general?
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JimmyS.

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2020, 11:07:01 AM »
It is something we have talked about but then Covid hit and it kind of got dropped off the priority list.

There are several reasons we do not want to allow it but we also have been listening to opinions on the matter and completely understand.

So, the short answer is, there is no guarantee it will happen BUT, it is definitely on the discussion table. :)

dogrsqr

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2020, 12:54:02 PM »
Amy just curious when you say it could be kept to just ground games.  Do you mean for dogs younger than 18 months or do you mean Intro classes? 

As someone who started my last dog in Intro I'd hate to see all of Intro be ground obstacles only.

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KarissaKS

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2020, 01:55:33 PM »
The UKI model starts dogs out in their International program at 18 months, but they allow dogs to start in Speedstakes at 15 months. The Speedstakes class consists of only jumps and tunnels -- no weaves or contacts. I am in favor of getting dogs in the ring earlier without the stress of contacts or weaves. Nobody has "run throughs" anymore, so it's a good way to give a young dog some experience in the ring without rushing to finish all of the obstacles.

The UKI model is simple because Speedstakes is an entire program, not a level. It might be hard to define allowing 15-17 month old dogs in Intro "except for Weavers, Touch-n-Go, and Regular." Or maybe not, maybe it's as simple as that.

The last time this subject came up in the forum it was not popular at all. People seem to think that in order to go in the show ring at 15 months it means we're over-training and beating our puppies into the ground. I could do not a lick of agility training with a puppy until they're 12 months old and have them ready to go into an Intro Tunnelers/Hoopers/Barrelers/Jumpers class by 15 months without a problem.
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Billie Rosen

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2020, 04:27:25 PM »
The age a dog is ready to actually compete is dependent on so many variables, including breed, the type and amount of training, the conditioning of the dog, the dog's maturity (mental particularly). etc.  I have had dogs not ready to mentally handle competing at 18 months, and those ready at a year.  I assume NADAC used 18 months because that was what USDAA used, and NADAC grew out of USDAA to a large extent.

That said, AKC allows dogs to start competing at 15 months, and I have never seen any data that that has been a problem.

If people could be trusted to do what was in the best interests of their particular dog, I would say allow the competitors to decide when to begin showing their dogs.  Since people are often overly eager to get into the ring, I would not advocate that.  But i would like to see maybe a test period allowing dogs to enter at 15 months, maybe requiring that they jump a lower height.  It would be interesting to see the results of such a test.
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Cheryl Gilbert

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2020, 07:36:13 AM »
I would not have a problem with this as long as contacts and weaves were not part of it and there was perhaps a mandatory 4 inch reduction from the standard jump height for that dog.  I have had dogs with stress issues and it would be nice to get them in the ring for an easy play session/run...with a toy to show that being in a ring can be a super fun place...Not for a Q but for experience.  I am unable to replicate a real trial experience or being in a ring...anywhere other than at a trial...
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Amy McGovern

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 12:06:50 PM »
It is something we have talked about but then Covid hit and it kind of got dropped off the priority list.

There are several reasons we do not want to allow it but we also have been listening to opinions on the matter and completely understand.

So, the short answer is, there is no guarantee it will happen BUT, it is definitely on the discussion table. :)

Awesome, thank you for listening and considering.  As I said, I know it's too late for my current puppy (who just turned 15 months) but I'd love it in general for future and for other puppies.  Ring experience without stress is so valuable!  Right now she just gets VT experience as that's all I can provide her given her age.

And for Gina, yes, I meant ground only for the young ones.  I know there are safety issues for the dogs without their growth plates closed at this age (though I run small dogs who all finish growing much earlier).  By mandating ground only for the younger ones, you would ensure people were not overtraining weaves or high jumps or contacts etc.  My own puppy is just 15 months and we *just* started weave training and are only on wide-open weaves right now.
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Edraith

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2020, 04:00:52 PM »
I mean, couldn't it be something clubs could offer at a trial not as a part of the trial?

I'm thinking along lines of - set up a smaller ring somewhere near so the same 'new environment, people milling about' and have only hoops and tunnels in that mini ring, for people to use only one dog allowed in it at a time? People could do it in their down time, it wouldn't take time out of the Proper Trial, or judge's time, and it could be a draw for that club, drop even do an easy honor system $5 in a bucket to use the ring or something like that. I'm sure folk would happily play 'ring crew' or 'judge' for each other, if someone wanted that too, right?

Basically do a community sort of thing on the sidelines of the main trial ring.

Or is that not 'kosher' to have something like that at a NADAC sanctioned trial?
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Amy McGovern

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 05:03:41 PM »
Fun runs used to fill that need, you are right.  But fun runs got disallowed awhile ago :(
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DeafSheltieMom

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2020, 02:26:15 PM »
Edraith,
NADAC has a Beginners' Agility (BA) program that has fallen by the wayside.  Not sure if it still sanctioned or not, but my 7 year old Papillon started in the BA program and I think it was the greatest thing for her confidence and our team building.  It used tunnels, hoops and barrels (and gates at the time).  It was fairly popular in Southern California when provided.  It tested many things, like simple obedience (walking nicely on a leash past a dog and exhibitor,  short wait stays), sending to tunnels, and call-backs.  Passing earned the team a "Q" like any other class.

Part of the problem with the program was it required a separate smaller "ring", away from the trial ring.  It needed to have club members as "judges" and of course, equipment.  One of the beginning tests was a significantly lowered A-frame performance, so a separate A-frame was required as well.  I do believe that was eventually removed because most clubs only had one a-frame and couldn't do the testing. 

I have a baby-boy-brained Papillon who is 15 months old who could use help with all of these things...  I wish we had the program at our trials, but the added extra work was hard for our club to manage. 
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Heidi Konesko

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2020, 10:31:12 AM »
Following with interest!  I’d love to be able to bring my new pup into the ring at a trial to do some easy, low stakes obstacles as part of getting her ready to trial.  One way to make it low stress would be to not offer any q’s for it.  That would lower the temptation to sacrifice good training for a “q”.
That Beginner program had some really great exercisesin it.  Is that still around?
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Amy McGovern

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2020, 09:40:18 AM »
Oh that is a good idea!  Just fun runs but in the real ring.
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dogrsqr

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2020, 03:25:22 PM »
Speaking as a club rep I'm ok with lowering the age for all or some Intro classes if that's what NADAC chooses to do , but adding another level and more course builds wouldn't  be my choice. 

I'd rather offer FEO  as an option if handlers want to take the Q off the table.

Gina Pizzo

Richard Wolfe

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2020, 06:10:25 PM »
I agree with Gina.  Since there is Into, the mechanism already exists without adding more work and time.  If NADAC management agrees that the lower age is okay.  My only suggestion is 1 or 2 height reductions if jumps are allowed.
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ricbonner

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Re: intro for younger dogs
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2020, 08:39:12 PM »
I am a big fan of putting a dog in the ring sooner rather than later.  I like to know how they naturally respond to the challenge of being in the ring, being off leash in the ring.  But it was my understanding the 18 month limit was more about growth plates.

https://nationalpurebreddogday.com/before-you-do-something-permanent-know-about-growth-plates/

"Growth plates gradually thin as hormonal changes approaching puberty signal the growth plates to close, and in most puppies, this is around the age of approximately 18 months old. At that point, the plates “close” because they’ve contributed all they can to the growth of the bones. The growth plate becomes a stable, inactive, part of the bone, but before then, the plates are soft and vulnerable to injury. An injury to the growth plate might not heal properly, nor heal in time for a puppy to grow up straight and strong. Such an injury can result in a misshapen or shortened limb, and that in turn can create an incorrect angle to a joint which can make the puppy more prone to even more injuries when he grows up."

I think its best not to allow dogs under 18 months to jump, climb, or weave, or even run extensively at full speed.  Some ground classes might be ok for a dog between 15 to 18 mos, but then what's the rush.  What is really to be gained by a debut a few months early compared to the injury risk?  I could maybe understand if there was only 1 or 2 trials a year in your area and the timing wasn't in your favor relative to the dog's age.  But why not just keep it simple and safe with an 18 months old requirement.  A few months delay to test the dog in a trial environment is not a big deal, in my opinion.