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Finding the right dog sport for Duke

January 20th, 2007, 11:17 PM
Hello all,
I'm hoping someone can help recomend a good dog sport that I could get into with Duke when he's a bit older and I'm finished paying for college.

The most important things I'm looking for are

-Affordability ( have a budget of around $1000 or so for training to get into the sport and maybe around $400-$500 to get any equipment I'll need for it)

-Accessability ( for both events and training areas, I'm in an urban enviroment so something that we won't have to drive more then a few hours to get to shows or training areas)

Next is for what Duke would both enjoy and be good at. He has three working/herding breeds in him and even at home is a highly focused work orinetated dog in the sense that if I ask him to do it (whether it's find your toy to playing a fetch game he puts 100% focus and attention into it). We do have a cottage and play a tracking game with my younger and older cousins and their dogs to kill time up their as non of us are into hunting and don't have a snowmobile so in the winter it's all their is really to do. Duke has only played it once but did very well.

Essentially the game entitles breaking up into teams, the hunter/tracker team only gets one or two handlers and one or two tracking dogs. The other team consits of 3-4 people with one or two dogs which need to hide and work as a team to remain from being caught but must take extra care to ensure their dogs are caught last or they lose.

None of the dogs who play have been trained in tracking but do very well none the less. We play in a large open field with patches of shrubs and trees, hiders get 10 miniutes to hide using 4 weelers or on foot and after that hunter/trackers and their dogs get to go try and find them using the dogs. Since the dogs are not formally trained in tracking they are allowed to watch as the hiders get to go hide while handlers need to turn away. At the end of the 10 miniutes the dogs can either be released with the handlers running behind them or on lesh if their recall is not very good and just used to flush out the hidding dogs( which usually bark at the tracking dogs when they get close).

Duke was only 3 months the last time we were up their and played along with my cousin and his boxer as trackers and he managed to find my one younger cousin hiding, so I wouldn't mind training him in tracking since the whole time we played the game he was having a blast sniffing away at the foot prints and checking in bushes and tree patches, where as many of the dogs who play need to be hiding dogs as they have no intrest in trying to find anyone hiding.

Other sports I wouldn't mind trying with him would be agility or maybe even flyball.

He is German Shepherd/Collie and Rotti if this helps in anyone assisting me in what I should do with him.


January 21st, 2007, 09:17 AM
How old is he now? Flyball can be very hard on their young shoulders. Agility is okay for young bodies if you don't get too intense too early. Rally-O would be good at anytime for anyone. Tracking seems to come naturally to him and his breeds would lend themselves easily to that.

It seems that he is very capable for lots of activities and it might well be that you start with more age specific ones and grow from there.

Whose to say that he can't do it all? Perhaps he becomes a Search and Rescue dog in the end!

You should also ask yourself how competitive you want to be. Are you doing this for fun? or do you really want to compete too?

January 21st, 2007, 09:43 AM
I'd love to do multiple dog sports with him and as for competition I live on it. The only real limitation I have at the moment is money as next fall I'll be starting my vet tech program in college and won't have alot of spare cash. He's only 5 month old at the moment so our only goals right now are to finish his basic and advanced obidence and then go from their.

He is already used to the agility tunnels, jumps including the tire one as one of the indoor dog parks I go to has that equipment out and he loves those so agility would be alot of fun. I also really like the idea of training him in tracking and see if he could even go as far as search and rescue. I wanted to get him involved in therapy work as well but he's just to hyper at this age and has a bit of a thing against females for some reason. A trainer is coming to help with it next week so depending on whether or not that can be corrected then therapy work is somethig I'd be intrested in as well.

Thanks for your suggestions

January 21st, 2007, 10:46 AM
From what you describe, and from what I know, agility sounds like a good palce to start. You're going to need a year or more of classes before you'll have all the pieces you need to compete, and you really don't need to have the equipment at home for the time being, so it sounds like a good match. As does tracking actually. Both require the dog to think and act, which sounds right up his ally.

As TenderFoot suggested, flyball can be ahrd a dog's budy if it isn't finished growing yet, so I'd wait on that one for a bit (plus it looks really boring to me... :o )

January 21st, 2007, 11:00 AM
HAHA Flyball is anything but boring!

We do Flyball, Agility, Freestyle Frisbee, and in the summer will be doing Dock Diving. It's as much what you enjoy as what the dog enjoys. We both enjoy them all. I like Agility best, she likes Flyball best.

We started Flyball at 9 months, Agility at 17 months (we were told not to start until 18 months because of the joints and bone growth, but the facility I go to does have Puppy Gymnastics as well - agility for puppies basically), we are in the beginning learning stage of Frisbee, and for Dock Diving she will be 2 1/2.

Remember the main thing is though, you have to have good obedience and attention for any sport.