How to Know When to Enter Your First Dog Agility Competition

hey it’s Lisa Selthofer from Spot On Agility. Ok I’m answering the question when should you do your first trial? So
first of all, for me doing my first trial has absolutely nothing to do with the
age of the dog. Part of it is because I’ve had puppies I’ve also had dogs that
are re-home so they’ve been older, but I do have three criteria that must be in
place before I enter my first trial. So the first one is that I have to know
that my dog is going to stay in the ring with me and they’re not going to run off. A lot of trials are outdoors, a lot of rings, dogs can easily sneak out and I’ll
tell you what, the number one thing is my dog’s safety. I don’t want them to get
loose and then somehow within ten seconds they’re off in the next County.
That would be the absolute worst thing so my dog has to be comfortable staying
with me off leash. That’s the number one thing. Number two they have to have a
clear understanding that agility is a team sport and so again, they have to
work with me. So a dog that is working with me, looking to me for cues. You know that’s gonna be a big part of it. Sure sometimes when you get into trials dogs
are gonna be distracted but you’ve got to know that they’ve got a good
understanding that they should at least be attempting to stay with you in
between those obstacles and entering and exiting the ring. Then lastly my dog
has to be proficient in all of the obstacles. That includes weave polls, that
includes you know, independent contacts. That includes a start line stay. I do
consider the start line to be, you know, a part of the course. That’s just
another skill set. What I do is once I’ve got those three things in place, I will
enter a trial. I’ll usually enter just one trial and that’s because the goal of
entering that trial is to really test out everything in a brand new
environment. So generally what happens is I enter a trial. I definitely come away
some things to work on, I give it you know several more months, depending on
what the dog is or isn’t doing, but I get a lot of information from that trial as
to what else I need to work on. Then I give myself plenty of time and then
after that, I usually come back and consistently compete. So I do hope that
helps you and as always, if you have any questions feel free to ask. You can reach
me at [email protected] Have a good one! Bye.

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